Scroll To Top
DragQueens

Niohuru X spins her pain & passion into a beautiful dark drag alchemy and she’s not done yet

Niohuru X spins her pain & passion into a beautiful, dark drag alchemy and she’s not done yet

Niohuru X
Courtesy of Shudder

The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula season five winner spills all on snatching the crown, healing her inner child, and where things stand with Orkgotik today.

rachiepants

America has a new Supermonster and she’s serving nothing but “Big Dick Girl” energy.

This week, the Boulet Brothers crowned the season five winner in one of the fiercest and tightest top fours in the history of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula. Despite some literal stumbles, Niohuru X edged out her fellow finalists Throb Zombie, Blackberri, and Orkgotik by consistently serving mind-blowing and twisted looks that created true works of visual art out of gender fuckery, filth, horror, and glamour.

Niohuru X crowned and bloody

Shudder

It’s a far cry from where Nio, now a self-described spooky transexual and fashion entrepreneur, began her journey. Nio grew up in a very small village in rural China where she had never even heard the word transgender, let alone identified that way. She only discovered her truth, and her drag, after she emigrated to the United States to attend Parsons School of Design in New York.

Once in New York, Nio found herself in queer spaces where she saw people living out loud and queer — and some doing drag. Both were mind-blowing experiences that led her own her path of pursuing drag, though her take would be decidedly darker and more beautifully grotesque — not to mention infused with with her Chinese heritage and folklore. Together, this dark alchemy would leave fans, her competitors, and the Boulet Brothers themselves in a state of awe.

Niohuru x

Shudder

The season also saw Nio opening up about the pain of not being accepted by her family as a trans woman, and needing to keep it secret, a confession that saw her fellow trans women costars Fantasia Royale Gaga and Satanna rallying around and bolstering the queen. It was a beautiful human moment and one that endeared Nio to the audience — as did her budding romance with Orkgotik.

All of her hard work, artistry, and vulnerability paid off, and in the end she was crowned, baptized in blood, and named America’s Next Drag Supermonster.

PRIDE sat down with Nio to discuss her time on the show, crafting her dark and twisted looks, her connection with her castmates, and where things stand with Orkgotik today.

Niohuru X and Orkgotik embrace

Shudder

PRIDE: Congratulations Nio! You are officially our Next Drag Supermonster. Has that sunk in for you? Does it feel real yet?

NIOHURU X: I just finally registered the information within myself. I’m that bitch. I did it. I’m the winner of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula season five. At first, seeing myself winning on TV didn’t even feel real. It feels like I’m watching someone else’s journey. But now I realized I did this. I’m the winner. My heart is filled with happiness and gratitude to everyone who helped me along this journey and to the Boulets for trusting me and bringing me on.

Take me back to the moment when you found out you had won. What were you thinking and feeling at that moment?

I was a little drunk. [Laughs] I was watching it with a few cast members [Cynthia Doll, Onyx Ondyx, Fantasia Royale Gaga, and Jay Kay] — we have such a strong little family — I felt so loved, so celebrated, and so proud of myself. It feels like a dream. It feels unreal.

Niohuru X in a bloody wedding look

Shudder

That’s amazing! I went back and rewatched your ‘Meet Our Monsters’ video and in it, you talked about how if you won you wanted to use your platform to help inspire others to be their authentic selves. Can you tell me what that means to you and how you plan to do that?

I have been doing that along the journey of filming. That was such a vulnerable experience. It took me a lot of courage to step out of my comfort zone to openly talk about my deepest pain and share my vulnerabilities with the world. It didn’t drag me down while competing, it boosts more power inside me. I feel like I’m more in touch with myself and I’m looking my inner demons in the eye for the very first time in my life. For the first time in my life I feel like, ‘I can take you, bitch!’ Sharing my journey, I’ve gotten such amazing feedback. Even people from China reached out to me to say, ‘Hearing your story, we relate so so so much. Seeing you thrive on TV, doing amazing art, gave us so much hope that no matter what kind of trauma and darkness comes from or what you’re going through right now, you can still do amazing things. If you just just don’t give up.’ In the future, I’m just going to keep using my platform and keep using my voice, now that I am more certain of myself and more secure in my own body.

Absolutely and we need to see the opportunities to be able to dream of them! I’m curious, what do you think young Nio living in rural China would think about where you are today?

That little Chinese kid had no idea that she was going to grow up to be a spooky transsexual superstar. Living in this small town I had to censor myself and I feel like I lived all my life to other people’s expectations. I never lived my real truth, ever. So it was beyond my wildest dream that I could live freely like that. Looking back at my memories there’s a lot of sweetness, but they also come with a lot of very heavy pain. If I could just go back and tell that little kid [anything it’s that] what you’re going through right now is temporary. Don’t give up. Don’t let anything kill the fire inside you. You are beautiful. Don’t let other people’s words change your mind. In 10 years, you are going to be celebrated worldwide for what you are so ashamed and so insecure about right now. All your so-called flaws and sickness are going to make you into this superstar powerhouse. The universe has a plan. I’m emotional just thinking about that little kid.

Satanna, Niohuru X, and Fantasia Royale Gaga

Shudder

That is so inspiring! You were so vulnerable and generous in sharing your story this season. One of the things that I loved seeing was your trans sisterhood with Fantasia and Satanna this season and the way they rallied around you when you were emotional and talking about your family. What did having that kind of support mean to you?

We formed a lifelong bond through this journey, especially through that moment. Before that, I bottled all my feelings and all my struggles to myself. At that moment, I just cracked under pressure, and getting all the love and celebration from my trans sisters calmed me down. Santanna, Fantasia, and I are all trans women, we come from different cultural backgrounds, and we come from different life experiences. But what we have in common is the constant battle of being just who we are, just existing, so we can relate to each other’s journey so much.

That’s beautiful and I think people can relate to you in that moment whether they are trans, or just have a complicated relationship with their family. I am curious, has your family seen the show?

I don’t think they know and I don’t plan to tell them. As I shared on the show, I love them so much and I care about their feelings so much I don’t want what I do to cause them any pain. Although I’m being celebrated right now for my queerness, it is still so hurtful for them. After coming back from the show, I think I grew a lot through this journey. I want to focus my energy more on myself. Keeping all the power and all the validation, all the confidence within myself. I don’t want my happiness to depend on if my family accepts me, or what the world thinks of me. As a Chinese kid, validation from your family is your biggest goal, and then want to break ... out of that toxic mindset and focus on myself.

Niohuru X in an assassin look

Shudder

Speaking of happiness, another story you shared with us this season was your connection with Orkgotik. I think it’s always so powerful and important to see trans love stories, don’t you agree?

I never really thought too much about it. What was being presented on camera happened very naturally between two beautiful human beings. It was a very natural expression of the admiration between the two of us. One of the most heartwarming things throughout the journey is getting to know Orkgotik. He inspires me so, so, so much. Just watching how he created all his looks motivates me and inspires me to be a better artist — and push myself even harder to be in the finale with him. He’s totally a treasure from the universe to Earth. I want to just give him a shout-out, he’s in Europe right now, if any of the readers are in Europe, show him some love, and make him feel welcome. He deserves everything and beyond.

I am glad you two are in a good place. Ok, let’s talk drag! You served so many incredible looks, but I’m curious what your favorite look was this season.

Ah, they’re all my babies. It’s really hard to pick your favorite baby. But I’m going to be a pro. I think my favorite out of all my favorites is the Hello Kitty slasher from the ‘neon haunted house’ [challenge].

Niohuru X in Hello Kitty slasher costume

Shudder

Oh, that was a really good one. Also incredible were all of your finale looks. I want to talk about that pig’s foot strap-on. How did you even come up with that?

My brain is a scary place. [Laughs] It’s full of rhinestones and blood. When I was conceptualizing that look, I wanted to combine something very significantly Chinese, filthy, with something very, very glamorous. I wanted to tell the story of being an Asian trans woman in America, sometimes I feel I am being fetishized and being sexualized and that I’m nothing more than being Asian and being trans. Sometimes I don’t even don’t feel like I’m [seen as] a 3-D human. I wanted to create something so nasty.. and turn it into something so beautiful and glamorous. Pig’s foot is very popular in my cultural cuisine, but in America, it’s considered dirty and people don’t really eat it. The Chinese takeout box is such a signature pop culture element in America. I wanted to comble the signature Chinese element and really push the stereotype of Asian transgender sex workers to the extreme. I’m a woman with a penis and that pig’s foot represents my penis.

Niohuru X in finale fifth look

Shudder

I love your mind. I love your art.

And the pig’s foot is rhinestoned with and with a pedicure. Hello, she’s filthy but she’s glamorous.

I love it! I hope somebody puts that on my tombstone someday. ‘She was filthy, but she was glamorous.’ You have so much going on I also wanted to ask about your fashion line Nuwa 1997. When is the ‘impossible to walk in’ shoe line dropping?

Oh my god. It takes the baddest bitch to conquer those shoes. I don’t even know what I was thinking when I was making those shoes. I was like, okay, they look beautiful on the table, I guess they will look cool on the stage. I never thought about functionality. Just for everyone who’s wondering. I can actually walk perfectly fine. I don’t just walk, I stomp.

Niohuru X in snake costume

Shudder

Amazing! But seriously what is next for you and your fashion line?

I have been developing a lot of new products. Spoiler alert, my next product is tucking panties. I’m a doll, I do it for the dolls. I do it for the community. As trans women, we don’t have a lot of beautiful cool, tacky panties to choose from. That is literally a necessity in trans girls’ lives. I want to make a yassified version of tucking panties to make all trans girls feel so beautiful within their own bodies.

I love that! We’ve seen your gift for designing. I can’t wait to see them. So aside from your fashion plans, what’s next for Niohuru X?

That’s a very exciting and also kind of hard question because I don’t have a specific milestone that I’ve set my mind to conquer. I believe the universe will give you bigger and better things when you constantly elevate and enrich yourself. So when the universe presents you with the opportunity, you will be strong enough to catch it. Right now, I’m just focusing on my healing journey and pushing my art to an even more fabulous, more extreme place.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.