"The only other thing is, what I would wanna see in my community is being just a little more proactive in how we approach social issues and our government. A lot of times you can’t bring up vogue without bringing up trans rights. That is where it basically it all originated from in the 60s. Posing very traditional kind of Vogue. Runways. Places where they could express themselves, these original balls. It is important to be aware and proactive.
You don't have to to go into the next city or state to make a difference. Start locally. Help trans people in your community."
How do you like to self identify?
First and foremost, I identify as M’ckey, the name I’ve given myself. My original name is Nicolas but I rejected that name because I felt inside that was someone else’s name. When I was younger I would look at it and question if it was really me. I didn’t feel comfortable with it.
When I got to my teens, I stumbled across M’ckey and it just hit me. M’ckey! It’s cute. That’s my name. I’m a mixed race Latino, I identify as a queer person but I express that in so many ways. I sometimes give off a very femme appearance and then other times don't. I am attracted to guys but sometimes I don’t always see myself as a male. Sometimes I do. Queer gender. I’m pretty fluid. I just move in and out of my mind and body a lot. That is how I best describe it.
I wish people would identify me as someone very kind, humble, energetic. I wish those type of words were used more often when describing someone, like on the news or someone special, in the community, at work or anywhere. Words like Samaritan. Someone you see and admire. It's important because it opens up a dialogue for people misunderstood no matter how you identify.
How did you get into vogueing? What does it mean to you nowadays?
For me vogue means so much. It comes from a very cultural aspect, something that goes back years in our time and in the community, especially the queer and trans community, and gender nonconforming communities. And for me, when I stumbled across vogue, I was still young and still discovering myself.
I’ve been able to develop myself as an adult and as a 20 something year old. I really related to being able to express myself fearlessly and comfortably in my own skin, and comfortable with my sexuality and gender. Being allowed to question it and myself. I think vogue is a practice. It is whatever you need to take from it for your life. If you want to get it out, to dance, to train yourself. to discipline yourself, to challenge yourself. That is what it is to me.
I got into it being so close to our community really quickly. I remember telling someone that vogueing isn’t something you manually learn. There are classes and stuff like that to learn elements, but vogue is self discovery. You bring it out of you to become fierce. You become loveable and someone admired for moving the way you move. It is about that inner self. You discover it within yourself.
I am so glad you brought that up! Madonna definitely appropriated vogue and now there seems to be a commodification of vogue around the world. We hear enough about that inner discovery aspect which you brought up. It seems to be so focused on the technical aspects of vogue.
You said it really helped you when you were 17. What was it like before? Were you always in San Antonio?
Vogue shaped my 20’s before that I was just myself, just went through school pretty normal and for a while, I was a regular teenager. I had interests in arts and things like that, but I didn’t really have an interest in anything else besides that. I had to just go through school, find myself, and find what I wanted to do for a living. How I wanna survive. Typical things. Coming of age things.
But in San Antonio, I came across this underground community full of beautiful, strange, young people who are very interested in the same things as me, so we just hit it off.
When I was younger, I experienced trauma and that didn't really carry into my teenage years. I dealt with it on my own terms. Although depression is not something a 17 year old can escape. My depression was not characterized by sadness or emotional outbursts it was characterized by lack of interest in anything and always being disengaged.
I would love to hear how the Latinx community deals with mental health from your perspective. Personally, I feel like the AAPI community views depression and other mental illnesses as a white invention. It is very actively ignored in discussions.
I never knew that. Within the Latinx community, usually when someone is called crazy, well we have a generalization, to assign names to everything, I feel. In the Spanish speaking world, there are lots of examples like, Doña, an elderly woman who has never been married. I think that's rude to have such a label but it's a very regular thing just as someone who may be dealing with mental illness is just called loco, crazy. Also, I wish Latinx was official in the standard Spanish vocabulary. Latinx doesn’t separate us into genders unnecessarily.
I don't know statistics within my own community but from personal experience I’d say if I were struggling with a mental illness, I wouldn't get too much help from my surroundings. It isn’t taken seriously.
I am very interested in what artwork you’ve been making. What is the underground scene like in San Antonio?
The San Antonio scene can be a portal sometimes haha. Last summer House of Kenzo took over with their FuckWave trilogy parties that took place at Brick at Blue Star Complex in San Antonio. The 3rd FuckWave, DEATHof, which was the death of FuckWave, ending it, cutting its head, that was very chaotic. It was a interactive collective so I opened up with a female drag queen named Kitty Buick.
Besides that, I was featured on a micro installation with my Kenzo sisters for an underground label, RAHK, they're really cool based in San Antonio. One of their DJ’s Radenvope collaborated on a video called CLUB ATHLETE X RAHK with HoK(the video he showed me) There were other voguers Eric and Jose. I know them as Asia and Malaysia. I just go by M’ckey for my Vogue name too. Besides that, that’s pretty much it.
The Texas underground community is very open minded, extremely open minded. We welcome diversity, inclusiveness and art. It’s provocative. One thing we all have in common is we have a connection to electronic music. Whether its vogue beats, house, or techno. A lot of us listen to the same DJs. Artist and DJ’s I’ve been listening to a lot lately are Imaabs, Lao, Zutzut they under a NAAFI sound collective. There's lots others under labels or collectives like NON, an artist I like in that label is Chino Amobi, Angel ho, Embaci. I like Joey Labeija, Juliana Huxtable, DJ Haram. There's so many…
Anyway Austin has cool techno raves pretty frequently like Pleasure Escape and 11:11. I believe those are hosted by Sasha (DJ deepcreep) They're fun all the sissies come usually. Also Ben Aqua (artist/DJ) who owns #FEELINGS label is really awesome and known in the Austin underground, He IS the internet. DJ Supraman also based in Austin.
Do you have any favorite drag queens or voguers? And what would be the dream project?
My favorite voguer. Hmmmm... Ayabambi. It’s actually two girls. A couple from Japan.
Yes! I LOVE them.
What I like about them is the dark, emotional energy they put into their dance. It’s really incredible and I relate to them because they are not so femme vogue, like me as well. Femme vogue is the more prominent style of vogue. A lot of dramatic and flamboyant aspects of vogue, like spinning and dipping and things like that. They do powerful, intricate, sexy, and swift handwork. I do wanna give a shoutout to my sisters Toneta or Tony aka DJ Tone Patron. I love his energy and he is very quick and fierce, and open minded. That translates into his dance. He is one of my favorite voguers too. He is in the House of Kenzo.
As for drag queens, I really like the weird ones that challenge other queens when it comes to how they think, how they influence their art. I would say one of my favorite drag queens would be Raja! I really like her aesthetic and humor, a true artist.
My dream project..My god! I dream about it all the time so I should be able to explain it right? It would probably have to be an interactive piece involving lots of different artists, DJs, stylists, and makeup artists. Performance arts film. Something with a lot of dance and storytelling. Visions. A mind challenge in itself a very colorful theory. Cunty looks. Ecstatic energy and music. It’s hard to describe but some performance arts film.
This has to happen! It will!
I was wondering if there’s any text or role models or scriptures that is the core of your work. Do you see a common thread in everything?
Yes, I was just watching Netflix and I must have seen this episode 3-4 times because of what this monk said was really super special. I’m not really religious, but I admire how they live their lives and approach their work, something that's very artistic in nature. I understand and relate to this monk Jeong Kwan. She is a monk 1st and foremost, and also a world renowned chef. She said one time, I wish I could quote her because I wrote it down and put it on my bedroom door. But what she said paraphrased is, ego and creativity can not work together. If I free my mind from comparing myself to others my creativity will flow non stop from any given moment. I cannot be my own obstacle, I will not owned by my environment, I will own my environment. In this way I'm able to move in and out of my mind. It really resonated with me. I could tell she has taken that and lived it. That is her belief, she’s free and now I am too.
I feel like I was meant to hear that. During my 9 hour drive here, I kept asking what am I making? I. I hate that. What are WE making? How are we revolving as a planet? I believe inspiration comes from ancestors or out there. We are just vessels.
I’ll send a photo of the quote for you when I get home.
It’s really special. You might cry.
Girrrll. Good thing I’m not wearing mascara today.
It’s interconnected in what I do and how I live, I just try to be myself, in being creative and reaching to be an artist. In my recent creative process There is a fine line between referencing and comparing the jealous mind to other people and other works. There is a fine line between being inspired and referencing. My concepts don't come from referencing art at all. I make art from within my mind. If you block everything out, it just flows. You have the voice you're born with. If you're able to express it with emotive language, it's a really special.
I just create because it just flows out of my mouth. Chanting. That is another element of vogue not often heard. That is how I get people excited. How I speak emotively. How I introduced that project to you. That whole concept is a chant. I sometimes don’t even remember what I say. Getting people or myself amped up and happy. That is my creative process. There is no referencing or comparing to speak of, it is completely egoless. It’s fearless. You have to be fearless to tap into that and let it all flow from a place in the brain that is a blank slate but actually so full of movement, feeling, and sound.
I feel like I’m getting my true degree in art now. M’ckey has the wisdom!
That’s how I create!
What advice do you have for the younger self or the future QTPOC community?
Hmmm. The community. Future Generations. Sisters. Younger self. My advice is be yourself. Just be yourself. Even if you're a nerd or geek or strange, or just a troubled person, or gets into trouble. You have to find yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes. That’s how I learned. I never listened to my sisters or mom because I never like to take advice, I learn from myself. You need to find the balance in that, but allow yourself to make your own decisions. Influence yourself. Make your own visions. Question for yourself. Speak for yourself. Learn for yourself. Do all those things on your own. Just be the person you're meant to be.
Thank you so much for opening all of that up and being vulnerable.
Thanks. I get really nervous when I’m vulnerable. My chest vibrates.
The only other thing is, what I would wanna see in my community is being just a little more proactive in how we approach social issues and our government. A lot of times you can’t bring up vogue without bringing up trans rights. That is where it basically it all originated from in the 60s. Posing very traditional kind of Vogue. Runways. Places where they could express themselves, these original balls. It is important to be aware and proactive.
You don't have to to go into the next city or state to make a difference. Start locally. Help trans people in your community. If you can incorporate your artwork as well, like Kia Labeija she is an artist/performer. An opportunity for our community is being more involved in issues like that. You can’t be a voguer and not aware of trans people. I'm not calling any collective out, but you just can't be “not political” Our bodies are political. The way you live. Life is politics. If you’re not the cookie cutter or mold for what people wanna see or hear, you are political in every sense.
That is what I wanna see for the San Antonio, Austin, and Houston community. Cause I don't hear that dialogue between trans people and the community we surround ourselves in which we spend so much of our time and energy in. For example, San Antonio Thrive Community, there are some trans people who have been through horror stories. Despicable things. I’m lucky to work at a store who has actually helped them a lot. Little things like that. You don't need to know 100 facts about trans people. Trans people are all around you and you can help.
Thank you for that. 2017 is already looking like a terrifying year for trans women of color. So many have died already.
If you live in a city that is anything the size of SA or even a little smaller, believe me, there is a trans person you can help. You don't need to know everything.
Do you see yourself living in San Antonio?
I really wish I lived in Austin, but the cool thing about SA is hearing about the Thrive Community and living around Latinx. Being close to some cultural food markets, that’s what I love about SA. I do see myself living somewhere else where I can live, survive, do what I wanna do, be around likeminded people. There aren't as many artists here.
You mentioned a Houston scene as well.
Mystic Styles productions hosts parties that Gemel (DJ LEDEF, HoK [SA]) has performed in. They throw the Trust me Daddy and Trapped in this Body parties/raves, what they are is a few parties in Houston involving experimental music, performance art, fashion shows, interactive things. HOK has collaborated with them. It is a blooming scene which we never realized was there. I believe it's Nasty Nate who promotes these. Josiah Gabriel is another artist in that same fam as well.
HOK will be there too. They are going to incorporate their ceremony piece April 12th I believe.
I love this chosen family! It is really admirable.
Yeah it's very welcoming. When I first got into it, I was just going on my own to a Latinx party last year. I was literally there by myself and people came up and introduced themselves.
Wow! So you’ve been in the scene for less than a year.
I like to be open minded and show myself things so that's how I know so many people. That and the internet. The internet is crazy, it’ll take you.