Bold & Beautiful: Robin D’Banc
Performance & Theatre
In 2020, Robin D’Banc moved in with two roommates who first introduced them to drag. Despite having no prior interest in drag reality shows and very little exposure to that community, D’Banc immediately felt a sense of belonging. From the very beginning, they felt supported by performers in the drag scene. “It was refreshing to be so quickly accepted and enveloped in a community. I met so many people so fast and was accepted in a way that I had never been before,” says D’Banc.
They began their drag journey as part of a team in 2020, doing both virtual and live shows. Eventually, D’Banc began to perform solo and transitioned into a more feminine style of drag. “My drag persona is very nonchalant, sexy and mean. Mean girl energy,” says D’Banc.
“My drag persona is very nonchalant, sexy and mean. Mean girl energy.”
When preparing for a performance, D’Banc likes to base everything on music. Choosing a song that they love is the key to a successful performance. These songs are often lively and unserious, leaving space for them to really play up their character and share a fun experience with the audience. Once a song is chosen, D’Banc loves to focus on what kind of costuming would do the song justice. D’Banc’s taste ranges from vintage-inspired slip dresses to mini skirts, always paired with amazingly unique heels. They use Pinterest and other online inspirations to create the perfect costume, often hand-sewing it themselves. “I love putting together a look,” says D’Banc. “I made a costume that was hand embroidered— this red top and bottom set. I added all of these beads to make it look like it was dripping, and that was really cool. I think that’s my favorite one.”
Despite their nonchalant persona, D’Banc is often complimented on the sheer fun their performance brings to the audience. “Someone said I was fun to watch because it looked like I was having fun. That’s the energy I want to bring,” says D’Banc. “I want people to see how much I’m enjoying myself, see whatever I’m emoting and feel it with me.”
“I want people to see how much I’m enjoying myself, see whatever I’m emoting and feel it with me.”
D’Banc’s ability to create an emotional connection also reaches fellow queens–even their personal life has brought the drag community together. Shortly after D’Banc’s drag journey began, so did their gender transition. With the help of this newfound community, D’Banc was able to find the support and funds necessary to live authentically. Fellow drag queens helped D’Banc raise funds for their top surgery by hosting multiple events, including one hosted by local drag queen Sequoia, who raised over $1,000 for D’Banc in just one night. Since their transition, D’Banc has been a source of inspiration for other performers who didn’t feel like they could perform and live in ways that were harmonious with their personal identities. “I’ve had other AFAB [Assigned Female at Birth] drag queens reach out and say I made them feel confident doing feminine drag as an AFAB person, and that’s really cool,” says D’Banc.
“…I made them feel confident doing feminine drag as an AFAB person, and that’s really cool.”
That’s one thing that D’Banc really values about Salt Lake drag—how easily everyone embraces and encapsulates all aspects of drag. The local drag scene includes drag kings and nonbinary performers and makes an effort to put on kid-friendly shows, too. The SLC drag community has become a place where anyone can feel safe to express their true selves in a setting that celebrates them.
D’Banc credits drag as an art form in which they use performance and creativity to discover more about themselves. Queens are free to choose their costuming and personas—it’s a way to try on different identities and find what fits. “Drag really launched me into my gender exploration journey. It was the first time I was really enveloped in queer culture, and I wish I had been exposed to it sooner and faster. It’s such a cool mode of creativity that can help you learn so much about yourself,” says D’Banc.
“It’s such a cool mode of creativity that can help you learn so much about yourself.”