Drag Therapy – developed by psychotherapist Leon Silvers

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City. He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through dressing up and the act of play.

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City. He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through costume and/or drag. Leon Silvers is the special guest in Drag Heals season 2 episode 2 ‘Drag Therapy’.

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City.  He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through dressing up and the act of play.
Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City. He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through costume and/or drag.

Leon, who is your drag persona?  How do they highlight or reveal parts of you in bigger and more dramatic ways?

My Drag Persona is Pink Freud. Embodying this persona allows me to fully embrace parts of myself that I dont always get to experience so fully. I get to be over the top with my playfulness, courageousness and gregariousness. I dont have to hold back because playing Pink gives me permission to be as big as I would like. 

Does the idea of drag as therapeutic or being healing resonate with you? Why? 

Absolutely! That is why I created Drag Therapy. When you embody a drag persona or simply put on a costume, you’re able to access many different parts of yourself that you typically aren’t able to access. That doesn’t just have to be fierce qualities, it can be more vulnerable parts of yourself too. Being dressed in your particular persona, and you can have many,  can be an easier and gentler way to access those feelings or parts of yourself. The therapeutic power of drag doesn’t even require a full drag look. Try simply putting on a beautiful “diamond” necklace or tiara, look in the mirror, and see how you feel. It can be hard to feel sad when you’re covered in jewels. 

How important for your health and wellness is the act of playing?

It is crucial! Drag Therapy is actually a play therapy. Play is inversely correlated to depression and anxiety. Meaning, the more we are able to play, the less depressed and anxious we will be. I try to center my life around being able to play. Right now, because of Covid, my play is in the wilderness- hiking, camping, exploring. And of course bringing my drag to the wilderness and playing with costumes there. Play also helps us unlock our creativity and spontaneity which I believe are key to improving mental health. 

How can the drag community benefit from being more inclusive?

 I think it is important for the drag community to recognize that drag really is just about play and that there is no one size fits all for drag artistry. Drag can take many shapes, forms, and sizes and it’s really just about being yourself, being creative, and having fun. The drag community really is just a large sandbox where people come to play, create, connect, transform, and help others access their sense of play. 

What’s brought you the most joy working with the Drag Heals cast?

It was truly an unbelievable experience working with the cast of Drag Heals because all of the participants were so open and eager to playing and being challenged . Improv can be a challenging task and the participants were so courageous and took so many risks, despite the cameras rolling. It was also incredible to see how cohesive and connected they were as a group and it was only the second week. That really speaks to the openness of the group and also the amazing skills of Tracey, their fearless leader.

How has it been collaborating with Tracey Erin Smith to help shape the one-person shows?

Tracey is a phenomenal human! She really is an inspiring woman. She is so creative, passionate, enthusiastic, and really creates an environment that is conducive to creative and personal growth. She has been incredibly encouraging and supportive of me and my work and it is a pleasure to be able to work with her. I want to be a participant next season just so I can learn more from her!

What do you hope the TV audience gets out of watching Drag Heals? 

I hope the Drag Heals viewers learn that drag is a playful art form that is accessible to anyone and everyone. Drag doesn’t have to be dressing as a fierce queen or king; it is simply playing with costume, makeup, performance, movement, and/or whatever other creative expression you can imagine. We are all in drag every day. When we can intentionally manipulate our drag, we can access our creativity, curiosity, and sense of freedom, and let go of our inhibitions and control, and have fun!

Connect with Leon Silvers and learn more about Drag Therapy:

@DragTherapyNYC

 www.SilversPsychotherapy.com

Watch Drag Heals Season 2 on your favourite platforms:

Vimeo

Amazon

OUTtv Canada and OUTtvGo

Lady Kunterpunt dishes on Drag Heals season 2

Who is your drag persona?  How do they highlight or reveal parts of you in bigger and more dramatic ways?
Lady Kunterpunt is like a cartoon villain who’s actually too sweet to do anything evil. Lady Kunterpunt likes to be silly and not take things too seriously, while at the same time producing content that is very serious in its message. She’s an exploration of my trans identity in the sense that Lady Kunterpunt, as a character, is my ideal self. She is confident, beautiful,  funny, and she embraces her body. Lady Kunterpunt loves to look sexy but never actually acts on it, which is also part of how I embrace my own complicated sexuality. I think this question is kinda funny, because Lady Kunterpunt and I are exactly the same person, but being in drag somehow emboldens me to live loudly and freely. I think my day form sometimes questions herself, but Lady Kunterpunt knows her true power. Our power, I suppose.

How important for your health and wellness is the act of playing?
Drag is MEDICINE. Drag is THERAPY. Drag is probably the single most important thing to my well-being next to food and water. Drag lets me connect with other people in a magic way that my average self just doesn’t feel capable of. It lets me connect with myself, and explore complex feelings and ideas by just playing with them. They say laughter is the best medicine- and as a clown, I couldn’t agree more. 

What did you discover about yourself through the Drag Heals experience?
I learned how important it is to just say things out-loud. There are many moments on the show where my castmates and I reveal very personal things about ourselves- these are things we always knew, or maybe always felt, but sharing them in a space with people you love and who love you… it was very healing. I think just to be listened to, and know that others hear you, even if they don’t fully understand yet. Then taking these things are shouting them on stage- for me personally, it was a momentous, reaffirming occasion in my life. I won’t spoil the show for you, but my final project on Drag Heals is something that will stick with me forever. 

How can the drag community benefit from being more inclusive?
Inclusivity just makes sense. A diverse cast means a diverse audience, who in turn will bring more people and further diversify the community. When we consciously take action to be inclusive, the community grows and thrives. When we decide to be exclusive, be it intention or unintentional, the gaps in our community grow further, as does the amount of work required to bring us together again. I think all queer people can relate to the feeling of being silenced, which is why specifically we MUST be centering the Black and Indigenous Queers in our community who have been pushed aside for hundreds of years. We are only as liberated as our most marginalized. Inclusivity is the only way forward. 

Did you second guess yourself before auditioning for Drag Heals?  What made you follow through?
I absolutely second guessed myself before auditioning! Who doesn’t? There are a LOT of amazing performers across Canada, I didn’t really think I’d stand a chance. What made me follow through was the idea that Drag Heals wouldn’t be a competition. The idea that I could have a chance to work collaboratively with a cast of performers, and having Tracey to guide us as we developed our stories… that really made me want to move forward with my audition. Drag blowing up on a global scale has really escalated this sense of competition amongst performers, and I kinda hate it! I’m honoured that I had a chance to participate in drag media (Canadian no less!) that has a different attitude entirely. 

How would you describe your make-up and fashion aesthetic in drag?
Lady Kunterpunt’s aesthetic choices could be described as a living cartoon character ripped from the storyboards of classic Hanna-Barbara animations. She loves bright colours and clashing patterns- it’s literally my namesake (Kunterpunt is based on the German word “Kunterbunt”, which would be used to describe a bright motley of colours). She’s a campy mix of 60’s mod and 80’s goth with a skimpy burlesque twist. Kunterpunt LOVES to show skin, simply because the magic of drag allows me to really embrace traditionally feminine styles in a way that isn’t questioned by the average person. When I’m Kunterpunt I don’t have to worry about gender dysphoria because everyone in the room believes in the fantasy, and I can dress as freely as I wish. 

Meet Lady Kunterpunt in her interview with Tracey Erin Smith

What’s been most challenging about Drag Heals for you personally?
The filming process of Drag Heals was tough for me personally for a few different reasons. At the very beginning of filming I had lost my job- so immediately my stress levels were skyrocketed from like day 2 of filming. Now the actual work we do on the show is VERY emotionally heavy at times, and consequently the final products we end up with on the show required a lot of wading in those emotions. I don’t think I could have anticipated just how hard I worked during production, it ended up being a

What’s brought you the most joy?
This sounds so cheesy but the FRIENDSHIPS! The cast of Drag Heals are my family forever, we still work together frequently, call each other and check up. We shared some very special moments on set, and it brings me the most joy knowing that we’re still part of one another’s lives and will continue to be. Not even social distancing could break us apart.

On Facebook you can search up Lady Kunterpunt. Let’s be friends! 

You can also find me on YouTube at my channel DragASMR, as well my collaborative Sims gaming channel FoolProp that I run with my good friend Aura Nova.

DRAG HEALS season 2 premieres on Friday, October 2nd in Canada on OUTtvGo.com, OUTtv and Amazon, Vimeo and more internationally.

Watch the DRAG HEALS season 2 trailer here.

Charlie David gets cozy with Jensen Atwood

Jensen Atwood
Jenson Atwood tease
Jensen Atwood

Charlie David gets the dirt from his Dante’s Cove co-star Jensen Atwood on poker habits, Halle Barry and playing bisexual.  

Jensen Atwood was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles.  After time in the military he caught the acting bug and was featured in music videos for Destiny’s Child, Toni Braxton, Ashanti, Lil Mo, Heather Headley and Chante Moore-Kenny Latimore.   

People started to sit up and take notice of the impossibly handsome Atwood.  He played opposite Halle Berry, in Oprah Winfrey Presents Their Eyes Were Watching God and has become an audience favorite for his role of Wade on Noah’s Arc.  Fans of the supernatural soap, Dante’s Cove can look forward to the temperature getting even hotter at the Cove when Jensen joined the cast for the third season.

Charlie David: You joined the cast of Dante’s Cove for season III in Hawaii.  Tell us about your character.

Jensen Atwood:  I play the role of Griffen, the bisexual warlock who is a representative of the Tresum Council and has come to Dante’s Cove to set things straight.  No pun intended.

Charlie David:  This is your second role on a “gay” show and this time you play a bisexual role. Do you have any concerns about being typecast?

Jensen Atwood:  As long as I don’t play the same role I’m happy. The roles of Wade and Griffen are very different. As well as Johnny Taylor and Snoop.  I’ve been blessed to have a pretty diverse career.

Charlie David:  How would you describe Dante’s Cove?

Jensen Atwood:  Dante’s Cove is like a gay Charmed but pushes the boundaries of what you’re used to seeing on television.

Charlie David:  Your character, Griffen, has a very generous attitude when it comes to sex.  Basically the world is his convenience store.  Was it strange to move to such a promiscuous ‘flower-child’ role after the monogamy of Noah’s Arc?

Jensen Atwood:  What was strange was creating meaning for things that have been created. I know that may sound a little confusing. Like Tresum Magic for example. I know this will be a shock to some… But I can’t really do magic.  So to make it as real as possible was a fun challenge.

Jenson Atwood is still king of the beard.
Jensen Atwood is still king of the beard.

Charlie David:  The cast has exploded with new and familiar faces like Jenny Shimizu, Jill Bennett, Reichen Lehmkuhl, and yourself.  Now all the boys and girls liked to toss around the football except for you and Reichen… Care to explain yourself??

Jensen Atwood:  I had a great time with all of the cast. It was torture to watch you guys toss the football around. I love football. But as you know I chose to keep my finger nails long for the character. So playing catch would have jeopardized the continuity. 

Ok, ok, so BASICALLY I didn’t want to break a nail. The first description sounded better though.

Charlie David:  What’s it like to act alongside the infamous Diva, Tracey Scoggins?

Jensen Atwood:  A pleasure. She makes really interesting choices.  And I feel I’m a better actor from working with her.

Charlie David:  You’re most well known for your role as Wade on Logo’s Noah’s Arc.  The show was a landmark showcasing the lives of gay African American men. What was it like to work on the show?

Jensen Atwood:  Working on the show felt like being with family at times. Together we started a project we believed in.  No money involved.  Just a love for the art and a belief in each other.

Charlie David:  I thought Noah’s Arc was so hot.  I begged Patrick Ian Polk to create a role for a skinny white boy… ‘Let me be a pizza delivery boy or Dude playing checkers #2!’  I didn’t care!  And now there’s a movie!!  Will it be like Rachel and Ross on Friends?  Will Noah and Wade get hitched? Will ‘Dude playing checkers #2’ finally get a date with Wade? (fingers crossed!)

Jensen Atwood:  I wish I knew. I am so out of the loop. From what I understand the there’s a happy ever after…. but I’m not sure if Dude playing checkers #2 is part of it.

Charlie David:  In Noah’s Arc, Wade goes through a coming out process which starts with a gay guy and straight guy as friends.  Then curiosity takes over… Do you think it’s common for straight guys to consider having an encounter with another guy, especially in light of gay and alternative culture being so chic right now?

Jensen Atwood:  No I don’t think that’s common for a straight guy at all. But because of the gay and alternative culture becoming more mainstream I think it leaves room for those that aren’t sure of there sexuality. Or for those whose sexuality isn’t as simple as gay or straight.

Charlie David:  There’s a whole DL or Down Low phenomenon that is sometimes relegated to the Black and Hispanic community.  Do you think with shows like Noah’s Arc and the DL Chronicles there will be a change in the community?  Will more men just cut the middle ground and come out?

Jensen Atwood:  I think some people feel comfortable in the middle ground. It’s a trip how DL has been demonized. I think the question is, why would a man have to pretend to be something that he is not? I think it could be easily answered knowing the history of our society.

Charlie David:  For some it’s becoming common for both straight and gay couples – either married or living together – to seek out extracurricular activities on the side.  How much does our generation need to adhere to society’s traditions or are we at a place where it’s suitable to set our own rules?

Jensen Atwood:  I would like to think living in America I have the right to be free.  And any union between consenting adults is between them two, them three, or however many you can manage to have a productive positive and loving relationship with.

Jensen Atwood chill and skip the Netflix.
Jensen Atwood chill and skip the Netflix.

Charlie David:  Is it hard being one of the most beautiful men in the world?

Jensen Atwood:  Thanks Charlie. It is difficult becoming a success in Hollywood. But it’s easy to maintain my roots. I love my family. And they love me enough to not allow me to get lost on Planet Hollywood.

Charlie David:  Who’s a better kisser – Tracey Scoggins, Darryl Stephens, Gregory Michael or Halle Barry?

Jensen Atwood:  Tough competition but Halle takes it!

Charlie David:  We played a lot of poker when not shooting.  You’re such a sweet guy I can’t imagine you bluffing… Which is probably why you beat me. You smile and I fold – here, just take my chips!  Since we’re almost done, fill me in on your most common play – fold, check, or bet?

Jensen Atwood:  You know me Charlie, I’m ALL IN!!!!

Charlie David:  Die hard fans will know you don’t only act and possess dimples to rival Antonio Sabato Jr. but you also sing.  Where can we take a listen?

Jensen Atwood:  I’m still at the very early stages of my music project. And I feel like things are moving in slow motion sometimes.  But I’ll be sure to keep you shoulder to shoulder with progress on my Instagram.

Be sure to check out Jensen Atwood’s band Dreamkillaz on iTunes and Spotify.