I'm super excited about today's Woman Wednesday and a little star struck because I'm obsessed with everything Karen does! I first came across her page from the coolest promo video for an IG live, that I've ever seen! A parody from She's all That and I've pretty much been hooked ever since! Her style, films, acting and drag, are all such a blessing! Go check out her IG @karenbeaches
Here's her a bit about her and our 10 questions!
Karen Beaches is the friend you need most in your back pocket! I've always felt an icon of the silent movie era. Performance art has always played a big role in my drag and now I’ve found a way to combine it with my latest passion, exploring the world of film! I know there are expectations associated with gender and gender performance. We live in a world that only fully embraces the narrative of the "white hetero male." Drag is an opportunity to spit on what is normal and challenge our society's definition of "what it means to be a woman." To embrace the value of something different. Gay issues are feminist issues. Issues facing people of colour are feminist issues. I look to drag as an opportunity to be the man but look like the wife. To be a leader, but embrace the fool. To reject convention. The intention behind my work is to seek enjoyment with zero guilt and to empower all those around me to do the same. My drag is performance art; my middle finger to the patriarchy. Drag is my opportunity to challenge the status quo.
1. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
The hay fields and deciduous trees of conservative Pennsylvania is where my life began. The keystone state will always own my heart. Growing up specifically in Enola, Pennsylvania, it’s easy to feel alone if you’re different from the majority. Ironically enough, "Enola" is alone spelled backwards. Later, I found myself moving far West to Southern California to pursue and complete my Masters Degree in Acting.
2. What is your definition of strength?
Getting back on the bike after you've fallen down. The game of life challenges us forever. The longer we live, the more we experience. Everyone experiences loss and pain in their own way but it’s not what happens to you that defines you- it’s how you react to it. I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve had some very dark times when I didn’t want to get back on the bike- I did not think I had anything left inside me. Let’s be honest- giving up is the easy way out and I wasn’t settling for that. I found ways to keep going and pushing through the mud—and that’s what taught me more about myself than ever before. It lead me to Karen Beaches and I’m forever grateful.
3. What is something that’s important to you now that never used to be?
Adapting the concept of fully loving yourself is extremely important and a constant battle. Growing up in a small republican small town, I stood out like a sore thumb. I often felt judged for expressing myself fully. My craving to explore various colours of my human identity, wear female clothes, pierce my ears, and paint my face in gilded geometric patterns was a secret. As my family and friends began to discover and embrace my passion, I turned into my own biggest obstacle. I conditioned myself to critique every detail of my features, gestures, walk, voice, and genetic makeup.
"You are not good enough,” and “you are unlovable,” was the chorus of the theme song that I sang on repeat in my head. Over time, I only observed the glass of water as half empty and never half full. My mind was locked and fixated on the hateful phrases of the past I was unable to let go. I never celebrated any of my successes. This manner of thinking is not healthy.I have started trying to speak “I love you, Karen,” out loud to myself in my darkest moments. When I am sad, self-conscious, scared, even sometimes when I’m delighted or amazed at my own beauty to the point where I believe “I should have been born a girl.” I speak these words. “I love you, Karen.”I encourage young people and really everyone with a beating pulse to audibly confess their love for themselves out loud; even if it feels forced, fake, or false. This is the start of something great. The people that REALLY love you will follow. Be patient as you reprogram and heal from the stones thrown.
4. How would you describe your style?
Trust your emotions and why not dress how you feel? Nine times out of ten, my style is based upon my mood, which is impossible to predict. This is why outfit changes are essential. I always have an arrival dress and an extra in my purse. I am a vintage queen-always ready to jump inside a time machine. I want my style to give you a lick of nostalgia. I love each and every decade for their own unique reasons.
5. Favourite plant-based food to cook at home?
Eggplant Please! I love a good eggplant parmesan moment. The sauce, smell, and taste can change the darkest of moods. This "berry" by botanical definition is always invited into my abode. Extra sauce, extra cheese, extra gooey. ALWAYS EXTRA!
6. What’re 3 books on your bookshelf?
The complete works of Edgar Allen Poe. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK” because… obvi. and "Othello" by William Shakespeare
7. What’s something you want to accomplish in the next year?
Get Karen the million-dollar life that queen deserves.
8. Tell us something people would find surprising about you.
Calligraphy is one of my hidden talents. I could spend hours hand writing a letter with a fine tip pen in various fonts. Over the course of my life, I have designed over eleven different tattoos for friends, strangers, and exes (sorry I’m not sorry). I guess you can say I love branding people with my penmanship. But don’t be mistaken, my canvas is clean.
9. Favourite movie?
“Opening Night” directed by John Cassavetes showcases a mesmerizing story with an exceptional group of performers. From the beginning to the ending credits, there is an intimate unity that is palpable and unlike any movie I have seen. Cassavetes has a particular focus and intense process with all his movies that sets his work apart from most. Go watch it and thank me later.
10. How do you want people to remember you?
Labels and categorizing individuals into "boxes" upsets me. We are all our own vibrant colours with various shades mixed together that make up who we are. In my eyes, if my sexuality, race or gender is one of the top five adjectives used to describe my memory, I have failed. I am a content creator at heart and I want to be remembered for what I have done. I want to be remembered for my art.