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.

Drag Heals season 2 casting in Toronto!

Drag Heals season 2 is casting in Toronto

#NoEliminationsJustCelebrations

Drag Heals season 2 is now casting in Toronto. The second season of Drag Heals will showcase 8 drag kings and queens who participate in a 10 class workshop with theatre director Tracey Erin Smith, founder of Soulo Theatre. The ten workshops will culminate in 2 public shows at Buddies In Bad Times cabaret theatre in Toronto.

Each week a guest coach will join Tracey Erin Smith in exploring soul-deep story sharing techniques as well as the unique talents and skills required from a drag king or queen.


We invite self-tape submissions from all genders, ages, and ethnicities. 8 participants will be selected to win this 10 class course with Tracey Erin Smith and join the cast of Drag Heals for two live performances at Buddies in Bad Times cabaret theatre.

There is no payment for participation in documentary TV series. All theatre net proceeds from the performances will be split equally between performers.

We invite all interested parties to view Drag Heals season 1 on OUTtvGo.com (free week trial available) or on Amazon Prime.

How to apply to be part of the Drag Heals season 2 cast

Please email [email protected] with a link to your self-tape (on Casting Workbook, Vimeo or YouTube).

Please include: your name, stage name, phone number, email, confirm you live in Toronto and are available for all dates in the shooting schedule below. Finally be sure to include answers to 2 of the questions found lower down in this post.

Feel free to get creative in your video. We want to see and know who you are and why you want to do this! Walk us through your drag closet, introduce us to your best friend, mother, roommate.

Applicants to Drag Heals season 2 must be available for ALL dates/times listed below:


DRAG HEALS season 2 SHOOTING SCHEDULE
Sat. Jan. 4th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sun. Jan. 5th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sat. Jan. 11th/20 2pm to 7pm WORKSHOP
Sun. Jan. 12th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sat. Jan. 18th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sun. Jan. 19th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Tues. Jan. 2st/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sat. Jan. 25th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Sun. Jan. 26th/20 11am to 4pm WORKSHOP
Thu. Jan. 30th/20 6:30pm to 11:30pm TECH RUN
Fri. Jan. 31st/20 Doors 7pm, show 8pm PERFORMANCE
Sat. Feb. 1st/20 Doors 7pm, show 8pm PERFORMANCE

APPLICANTS – Please answer 2 of the following questions:

1) What have you survived and how have you survived it?
2) What excites you most about doing drag?
3) Who doesn’t know you do drag and why haven’t you shared with them?
4) In a perfect fantasy performance, what would you do?
5) If you’ve never done drag before, what excites you about trying it?
6) How do you think the drag king and drag queen worlds could benefit from working together?
7) What scares you about drag and the idea of doing an open-hearted course that will put you on stage in front of hundreds of people?
8) What will you bring to the others in the group?

SEEKING the following people for Drag Heals season 2

DRAG KINGS – Seeking seasoned and newbie DRAG KINGS that live in Toronto, are available for all shoot dates, are excited about bringing their drag and performance to a new level of professionalism and have a great big open heart and mind!

DRAG QUEENS – Seeking seasoned and newbie DRAG QUEENS that live in Toronto, are available for all shoot dates, are excited about bringing their drag and performance to a new level of professionalism and have a great big open heart and mind!

GENDER QUEER PERFORMERS – Seeking seasoned and newbie GENDER QUEER PERFORMERS that live in Toronto, are available for all shoot dates, are excited about bringing their drag and performance to a new level of professionalism and have a great big open heart and mind! Does your performance/look defy categories? Submit here and share why!

GUEST COACHES – Are you a seasoned pro in the fields of performance, singing, dance, make-up/hair, costuming, entertainment business, etc? We are looking for professionals to join us who will share their wisdom and experience! Tell us about yourself and what you can offer in coaching drag queens and drag kings.

Drag Heals season 2 is looking for cast!

Drag Heals season 2 further details

NETWORK: OUTtv Canada Drag Heals season 2 will air on OUTtv in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India giving participants the opportunity to raise their profile and be seen by millions around the globe.

PRODUCER/DIRECTOR: Charlie David

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Philip Webb, Brad Danks for OUTtv Canada

HOST/COACH: Tracey Erin Smith

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Border2Border Entertainment

WATCH season 1 here to help prepare your video submission! 1 week free trial available on OUTtvGo.com or watch on Amazon Prime.