We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Wang Newton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dr. Wang, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I must confess… I mostly grew up in small towns across America and considered myself a low key quiet type.  So how did I end up running around the world dressed in a bright red suit + drawn on mustache + pompadour, and ahem… *dildo* under tight pants?  As it turns out, I must have grown a pair of invisible balls to go with the look!  Being a drag king for the past 16 years has been one big risk (at a time when social media didn’t exist and drag queens were not even popularized by television). The moment I took drag off the safe space of queer stages and out onto international streets, ‘Dr. Wang’ essentially became improv performance art — anything goes, baby! If I followed the dots however, big risks have provided big returns for me: to fight bullying and prejudice, during high school I asked my BIPOC college friends to help me teach multicultural awareness to elementary kids; I moved to NYC right after college without money nor connections; to heal anxiety from witnessing 9/11, I refused to take prescription drugs and stayed in Berlin for a spell. When Halloween 2004 birthed a cheesy Vegas style crooner out of me,  I just threw up my hands and surrendered. Fast forward to 2020, when the pandemic birthed an Asian diaspora centered virtual experience called @Sacred.Wounds, a show I co-produce with Kayla Tange AKA Coco Ono. Aside from being a seductive night of erotic ritual, we are also unapologetically vulnerable with the audience. Intimately addressing ancestral trauma and oppression has allowed for healing on both sides of the computer screen. Taking risks is my jam apparently!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
A Wangism I often exclaim is “that’s #1, baby!” The problem with most folx is that proclaiming ‘being #1’ arises out of arrogance and sales attempts. The solution is to embody being #1 out of desire for excellence. I aim for the latter. Honestly performing masculine drag in 2004 was not easy, let alone being a marginalized person of color. At that time I could not find another active king in Philadelphia, yet I persevered because that gut feeling was the strongest I ever felt in my life. It dawned on me that I started out as a club kid, doing what most other 19 year olds didn’t — so this ‘look’ was no different. Sure, I may have been a super fun pervy uncle hot mess in the early years, but I simply followed the flow. When I began meditation and training in breathwork, I naturally cleared out the alcohol fueled nightlife vibes so drag took a hiatus. When I leveled up my corporate and home life, ol’ Wang resurrected with a cheeky vengeance. My secret is intuitive perseverance… and that includes times to rest/learn and times to slay the gaddamn game.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Always head to nature first! In these moments one can stay local LA and self-explore the side streets of Mt. Washington (or any side street in any city, honestly), then venture deep into Topanga or the Angeles National Forest. There is much to LA besides the beach – the gems are all on the outskirts. Similarly, if staying locally within DTLA, I recommend hopping to the Japanese Village Plaza for a mini immersive experience before flying to, say, Kyoto.    Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
In the beginning days, I feel like I was misunderstood in my niche as a drag king. Thus I must give a shoutout to a few recent ‘bad b!tches’ who supported and lifted Wang up: burlesque boss Calamity Chang hired me 4 consecutive years (when few others would) to host the International Asian Burlesque Extravaganzadominatrix Yin Quan who wrote and produced ‘Mercy Mistress’ on YouTube; and their teacher Midori, author, teacher, and shibari master who recently went above and beyondThey all have connected me to gigs and networks because I feel they see the purpose under the mustache. For that I am grateful.

Website: www.wangnewton.com
Instagram: @DrWangNewton and @Sacred.Wounds
Twitter: @drwangnewton
Facebook: www.facebook.com/wangnewton
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thewangnewton

Image Credits
Please see photo file names

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.