So, why is Desmond AMAZING?
Desmond Napoles (AKA Desmond is Amazing) is a performer, drag kid, awarded LGBTQ advocate, outspoken gay youth, editorial model, public speaker, founder of his own drag house, fashion designer, muse, and icon. Most importantly, he is an inspiration to many and a representation of hope for the future to come.
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A listing of Desmond's current and future LGBTQ youth advocacy projects is located below, beneath his bio.
People should be able to dance, sing, or dress in any way. You can express yourself however you want. It doesn’t matter if you like jazz or rap, ballet or ballroom, dresses or suits. You can just do you. I like Diana Ross. Maybe you do too.
Desmond was born in June 2007, during NYC Pride Week, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. As he tells it, this means that he “is a member of the Village People by default”. He has also claimed that he “came out of the closet when he was born”. Desmond has a loving family and lives in New York City with his father, mother, and many pets. He also has an older sister. Desmond’s nickname at home is Desi.
As a toddler and preschooler, he enjoyed playing dress up by taking bed sheets, towels, bubble wrap, his mother’s t-shirts, and anything else he could use to make his own outfits, dresses, and “wigs”. He would endlessly clomp up and down the hallway in his mother’s high heels (and still does). He enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls, play kitchen, toy trains, maps, video games, and coloring books. Although he loves going to the park and playground, he never took an interest in playing sports. At age five, Desmond began taking ballet.
At age six, Desmond expressed boundless joy when he received an Elsa costume from Disney’s movie “Frozen” for Halloween. After that, he often asked for princess costumes or dresses while out shopping. Soon, he often wanted to wear his dresses outside of the home. Initially uncertain if they were making the right decision for allowing him to do so, Desmond’s parents quickly and fortunately realized that the source of their uneasiness came not from Desmond’s personal choices, but from their own misgivings about how the outside world would react. It was as simple as defeating those feelings, accepting Desmond as he is, and respecting Desmond’s own tastes and preferences.
Desmond’s parents also consulted a therapist who said the best thing to do would be to neither discourage, nor encourage, but rather to allow Desmond to develop naturally. Therefore, rather than ostracize, punish, or shame him, force him to play with certain toys, or restrict him to boys only costumes and clothing while playing dress up, Desmond’s parents allowed him to inherently progress, explore, and choose his tastes in clothing, toys, and activities on his own. He had developed his gender identity as non-conforming, or gender fluid, as a young child. He is not, nor has the desire to become, transgender. From early on, he has said that he is a boy who enjoys dressing up as a girl.
His mother likens her support of Desmond’s interests and activities as being similar to that of a mother who supports her son’s interest in sports. Both scenarios are unconditional acts of love for their children and recognition of their child as an individual.
Soon, Desmond also began to show an interest in performing in his own choice of outfits, often including dresses and wigs. His first big break came in 2014 when he was featured alongside the B-52’s lead singer, Fred Schneider, in RuPaul’s Drag Race season 5 winner Jinkx Monsoon’s music video for the song, “The Bacon Shake”. This was Desmond’s first time playing a character in “drag” and he loved it. It ignited a passion within him for entertaining others, as well as an understanding of how important it is for people of all ages to express themselves the way they want to.
Desmond has been the undisputed and most beloved young star of NYC Pride since 2015 when he danced his way into everyone’s hearts at the NYC Pride March in his choice of a rainbow tutu and sparkly gold beret. Overnight, Desmond’s story was featured on NewNowNext, Yahoo, Perez Hilton, and Out Magazine. Quickly, he became an internet sensation and was well-known by millions worldwide. Desmond’s mother’s acquaintance created a Facebook Fan Page, called “Desmond is Amazing” to share his continuing journey with others. The name stuck, and Desmond decided to use it as his official stage name. He has named his fans his "Amazies" and is extremely grateful for their continued love and support.
People were delighted to see a child who was accepted and able to be who they wanted to be, something that very few people have had the freedom as children to do. Even in our modern society, it is all too common for parents to treat their children as mini versions of themselves. They allow their child to wear only what the parent selects, play with toys the parent believes is most appropriate for the child’s gender, force the child’s interests with what is widely socially accepted, and stress that the child’s values and ideas should only align with their own.
Desmond’s personal drag style has evolved over the years. Currently, he is most influenced by the colorful club kids of 1990s NYC nightlife, RuPaul and the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the artists Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, the disco divas of the 1970s, fashion designers Alexander McQueen, Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Thierry Mugler, and Betsey Johnson, and the Blitz Kids of 1980’s London. He is exceedingly creative and designs his own outfits which his mother helps bring to life. His signature piece is original one-of-a-kind headdresses. He has termed his style “androgynously” and “avant drag”. He is constantly pushing the boundaries of fashion and stepping outside of the box. He applauds those who create their own outfits, something he calls “DIY drag”. Desmond was declared “The World’s Youngest Club Kid” due to his unique and unconventional style.
Desmond prefers to be called a “drag kid”, rather than a “drag queen”, although he is accepting of the fact that the media almost exclusively refers to him as a “10-year old drag queen”. He believes that the term “queen” should be reserved for adult drag performers. Although he wants everyone to express themselves as genuinely as possible, he is concerned about the growing trend of young teen and child drag performers to dress or act overly sexy or provocatively, much like their adult counterparts. He feels that it sends the wrong message about all young drag performers and results in added aggression, bullying, and hatred, not only from society, but from within the LGBTQ community itself. Although an often controversial topic, he would personally like to see more young people discovering a drag style that speaks to their personal truth, but is at the same time, more age appropriate.
Desmond no longer has an active interest in ballet, but he still loves dancing. He is the youngest member of the Iconic House of UltraOmni, as Desmond UltraOmni. The Iconic House of UltraOmni was founded by Ballroom Icon, Pioneer and Hall of Famer Kevin Omni and Tommy Dimples in 1979. The house is one of the original New York City voguing houses. The current father of the house is Sydney UltraOmni. Desmond walks BQ European Runway and is also starting to learn New Way Vogue. He considers freedom of self-expression to be his favorite aspect of the ballroom scene.
Since 2015, Desmond has remained a public source of hope and inspiration for many, especially in the LGBTQ community. He has been featured and mentioned in numerous magazines and online media sites including NewNowNext, Mic, Out Magazine, The Village Voice, World of Wonder's WOW Report and WOW Presents, Go Magazine, Vogue, Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, Perez Hilton, Yahoo and Yahoo Beauty, LogoTV, Boys By Girls, Hardy Zine, Konbini, InStyle, Huffpost, Access Hollywood, Slate, Time Out NYC, Qwear Fashion, Bustle, BoyCulture, Broadway World, Paper Magazine, Gayly, Daily Mail UK, The Cut, The Advocate, Gay City News, Pride.com, The New Yorker, Google Show Up Stories, and many more around the world. Desmond was a guest talent at RuPaul's DragCon NYC 2017.
Now, at 10-years old, Desmond is an unapologetic and outspoken openly gay youth. Around first grade, Desmond began having normal childhood crushes, not on girls, but on other boys. A few years later, he confided to his mother about his crushes and said that he felt different than other boys in his class. He asked many questions, to which his mother explained the diverse types of relationships people may want to have when they are older. At age nine, Desmond told his parents that he is gay. This does not mean that he is sexually active, as he has not reached puberty yet, nor has he reached the age where sexual relations are appropriate or discussed explicitly.
To Desmond, being gay means that he is certain that he would like to have a boyfriend someday, not a girlfriend. As he gets older, he has been increasingly adamant about his choice and identity. He feels less different after meeting and speaking with other boys his age who also feel that they are gay. He has met several older members of the LGBTQ community who have related that they also had the same feelings when they were younger. In addition, he has met parents of gay individuals that said that they knew that their children were gay from an early age or from the beginning.
Desmond is already a notable LGBTQ activist and advocate. He was motivated by the discrimination, hatred, intrusion, hacking, outrage, and public slander that his family faced, and continues to face, after his story went viral in 2015. He feels greatly affected and saddened when he reads about or sees reports of homophobia, violence, bullying, and rejection against members of the LGBTQ community. He is concerned about the resulting high suicide rate among young people. So, he decided on his own to use his public visibility, not to focus on how fabulous and famous a drag kid he is, but to reach out and personally help other LGBTQ youth.
He is actively invested in spreading his message of unconditional acceptance, pride, and love. He aspires to be a powerful example for other young people like himself, influence positive change in the LGBTQ community, fight for equal rights, advocate for anti-bullying programs, and be the hope that generations of people before him were denied. He wants other young people to express themselves and embrace the same level of self-confidence, bravery, and self-acceptance that he embodies. He endlessly announces that it is okay to be who you are, with his personal motto being, “Be Yourself, Always”.
In June 2017, Desmond attended the memorial rally at the Stonewall National Monument in remembrance of the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting. Along with Studio 54 drag legend Dame Rollerena, he read several of the names of those who were killed. At the 2017 NYC Pride Rally, Desmond wrote and gave a speech about what Pride means to him. In October 2017, he was honored to be chosen as the “Child Honor Godfather” of ONG LGBT España’s anti-bulling, violence, and discrimination project, #PorUnFuturoSinViolencia. He also consistently speaks about believing in yourself, despite criticism and bullying, in his frequent interviews and media coverage, with the hope of helping others.
In July, he was the awarded the Marsha P. Johnson Don’t be Outraged, Be Outrageous Award – “Marsha P. Johnson was a longtime activist for LGBT rights. A veteran of the Stonewall Era, she was always on the frontline fighting for the cause. This award honors an individual or group who uses outlandish creativity to shine a light on an issue facing our community. This symbolizes the community at its most original.” In his acceptance speech, Desmond thanked his mother, the House of UltraOmni, NYC Pride, and RuPaul.
Desmond continues to invent, create, and immerse himself in several LGBTQ youth advocacy projects as detailed below.
HAUS OF AMAZING
Desmond is the founder of the first ever drag house exclusively for youth, called the Haus of Amazing. His goal is to bring young drag kids, bio queens, drag kings, and anyone else who loves drag together in a safe, positive, worldwide online community. As the community grows, there are opportunities for potential meet-ups and events. Because the drag house is restricted to members age twenty and younger, members can communicate freely and candidly with their peers without the often judgmental interference of adults.
THE AMAZIEST MAGAZINE
Desmond is in the process of developing a magazine targeted at LGBTQ youth called The Amaziest. All content will be created and submitted by LGBTQ youth for LGBTQ youth. He is researching various methods of producing the magazine, as well as a design and layout consistent with his message.
“LET’S GET AMAZINGLY REAL WITH DESMOND IS AMAZING”
Desmond is preparing to launch a new video series on his YouTube channel called “Let’s Get Amazingly Real with Desmond is Amazing”. In this series, Desmond will answer questions and respond to comments, both good and bad, that are sent to him. He wants to encourage viewers to send their most candid questions, hot LGBTQ topics, and critical comments. Desmond feels lovingly supported and self-confident enough to address these issues in a mature, yet fun and entertaining, manner. His motivation is to provide information that will aid and inspire others.
A.M.AZ.E FOR LGBTQ YOUTH
Desmond has upcoming plans to develop an anti-bullying program for LGBTQ youth that directly addresses bullying happening within the LGBTQ community. A.M.AZ.E stands for “Anti-bullying Movement trailblAZing Equality” for LGBTQ Youth.
Desmond has been sketching designs in his fashion template notebooks since he was around age seven. He currently designs his own outfits which his mom then creates for him. After watching the documentary, “The True Cost” and meeting designer Michael Laed, Desmond has been interested in creating outfits using donated clothing, unconventional materials, and items purchased from a local pro-LGBTQ thrift store, called “Out of the Closet”. It is his dream to have his own fashion line in the future focused on sustainable fashion. He would call his fashion house Amazement. This is a combination of the words “amazing” and “statement”.
BE AMAZED COSMETICS
Desmond would also like to develop, in the future, a cosmetics line for drag kids. He wants the line to include oil-free products, not tested on animals, and bright, highly pigmented colors. All and any advertising will feature drag kids of all ages and types.
DESMOND IS AMAZING INSPIRATIONAL MERCHANDISE
Desmond is looking to create an inspiring line of merchandise featuring his heart shaped logo, his most inspirational and memorable phrases, and his signature motto, “Be Yourself, Always”. All proceeds will go to a selected LGBTQ non-profit program helping LGBTQ youth each month.