By Yolanda Lenge, Entertainment Consultant | June 21, 2022
Photo Credit: [Grizz Studios]
For Pride this year, you’ll find The Dragon Sisters eagerly embracing every soul that is lucky enough to experience their fierce and powerful presence all around New York City. Issa and Odessa Dragon, are an award winning performance based drag duo lighting up the city with their eclectic hip hop music and ballet inspired choreography. After meeting in college over 10 years ago, the Dragon Sisters combined forces and created their mission, to spread love and provide a safe space for the LGBTQ community to thrive. The sisters have dominated Nightlife in NYC winning the 2021 Best Duo/Group and Breakthrough artists awards at the Glam Awards. They have also been featured in Vogue, Billboard and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty campaign, and have no plans to slow down. GLAAD sat down with The Dragon Sisters to celebrate pride and uplift the community. Issa and Odessa shared their profound dedication to raising awareness on the importance of representation in the community, how the current anti-LGBTQ laws and violence has impacted their artistry and what #Queerjoy means to them.
How was the iconic name, The Dragon Sisters created?
Odessa: A few things, we’re really inspired by the animal itself. It’s a mythical creature, cross cultures, feminine and masciline and everything in between. Issa started doing drag before me and I would call her, my little baby dragon, and we were always using dragon gifs and emojis. Eventually I came out of my drag closet and we started creating together. We were shocked when we learned no one had taken the name and that’s when we really became the dragon sisters.
Issa: We really felt like the name came to us.
What does Pride mean to you?
Issa: For us, Pride means bringing attention to our lifelong mission of creating a safe space for people to thrive, spread love, work together and give back.
The Dragon Sisters have set the industry on fire and have been a part of several major campaigns raising awareness and proving representation for the LGBTQ community is important. They have been featured and awarded in several campaigns and are currently serving as ambassadors and performers for the 2022 NYC Pride and YSL Beauty campaign titled, Unapologetically Us, where they are urging the community to be proud of who you are, unapologetically.
Photo Credit: [Grizz Studios]
With all the anti-LGBTQ laws, violence, bans on books and drag queens in schools, how have the current times affected the artistry of the Dragon Sisters?
Odessa: It’s given us fuel, it pushes us harder. Pride, to me a lot of the time, means bringing my sister to every situation, bringing my community to the situation and allowing them to feel safe wherever we go. With all the backlash, with all the drama surrounding peoples identities and sexual orientation, it just fuels us to be even more bold and push more boundaries because if we don’t push back, they’re going to push us back in the box. We have to come back with even more energy than all that and we do it in the form of music, art, and in the form of community building, organizing, transforming and shifting spaces.
When was the first time you felt represented?
Issa: The first time I felt represented was Center Stage. Coming from ballet and a dance background, there was Zoe Saldana, who’s Dominican and Black. She was in this ballet environment where I feel like I was hardly represented.
Odessa: My first time being represented was America’s Next Top Model, Miss Jay. To see a Black queer person, bringing andrognyous, bringing fashion on TV. A Black Queer person that everyone takes very seriously, we definitely look up to the iconic Miss Jay.
How has your expression of self inspired your fashion?
Odessa: We met at a time when Issa was very much in his shell and I was in a spot where I was going to be as bright and flamboyant as I can as a way to deflect and somehow when we met it rounded us both out. We were able to find ourselves somewhere in the middle and I think that has created our style and creates our common aesthetic.
In addition to making moves in the fashion industry, The Dragon Sisters released their ep, The Fine Print, last year. Each track incorporates lyrical flows and intricate hip hop beats that inspire listeners to move their bodies with confidence and freedom.
Photo Credit: [Grizz Studios]
How does the life of the Dragon Sisters impact your mental health?
Odessa: It does help to have someone know exactly where you are in life and who you are. That does create a sense of safety, there’s always someone to relate to. We always say we know a lot of queens that go into a thousand rooms by themselves, a thousand shows and do so many things by themselves and it’s like thank God we don’t have to do it alone. Our superpower is each other.
Photo Credit:[Ebru Yildiz]
What brings The Dragon Sisters #QueerJoy?
Oessa: Being at the gig around people, meeting new people that makes me feel queer, seeing people who look like me, and all the shades of queer.
Issa: Just putting a smile on peoples face. We always talk about spreading love, positivity and that is something that doesn’t happen a lot today especially in New York City, you might live next to your neighbor your whole life and never talk to them. Just walking down the street. saying hi to people, giving them a compliment they didn’t expect, shaking up their world. That brings me queer joy.
While there are several anti-LGBTQ acts taking place today, The Dragon Sisters continue to go beyond the limits of society and create safe spaces for the LGBTQ community to shine. If you want to see The Dragon Sisters live, catch them at the House of Yes on July 21st for their biggest show of the year. Visit TheDragonSistersworld.com for tickets to the show and more information on the dynamic duo.