Drag king Adam All: ‘It’s the air that I breathe’

drag king Adam All smiling

For Adam All, performing as a drag king comes as natural as breathing.

The performer, whose real name is Jen Powell, is one of the UK’s most passionate ambassador of the drag king scene.

The drag king, who identifies as non-binary, first got into dressing up as male characters since they were very young.

Watch the video below to hear how Adam All discovered their gender identity through drag:

“Any sort of dressing up opportunity I would always choose the men’s part or boy’s role,” they told PinkNews.

“I like the fact that I can get out there and speak, and I can put quieter messages underneath the overtone or the humour or whatever it is that I have decorated it with,” they added.

“As a drag king, I try and portray a man completely void of toxic masculinity.”

— Adam All

They admitted they have never seen someone perform as a drag king before their very first show.

But they knew what it meant to them was “when I watched the TV adaption of Tipping the Velvet, when that was released in 2000, so I would have been 16.”

“When the character Kitty Butler steps out onto the stage for the first time and you see her in her character as a masher, I just went ‘That, that’s what I want to do.’ And it was literally, how on Earth, do I make that a reality? I have made it a reality.”

It is important for them to “say things in a way that’s easy for me but also palatable an audience.”

“As a drag king, I try and portray a man completely void of toxic masculinity,” they said.

“I think it’s a fascinating art form that’s completely multilayered and has the use of many different media.”

“It’s kind of the air that I breathe, really.”

Adam All performing on stage

Adam All performing on stage. (Zoe Paskett)

The drag king created BOiBOX in 2013, a platform to help fellow drag kings in their quest of performing in front of an audience.

“I wanted to create a platform to help drag kings and my parter and I created BOiBOX and that was sort of the beginning.”

“We were begging people to join in and you’d have one headline drag king and then everyone else was an open miker.”

Performing as a drag king has also allowed Powell to explore their own identity, even considering transitioning before learning about non-binary identities.

They said: “The idea of my own identity was a massive question mark, and when I discovered the term gender neutral and non-binary, it was like ‘wow,’ now that makes sense.”