Known For: Acting
Early childhood. Desmond Napoles was born in June 2007 in Manhattan, New York City. When he was two, he watched RuPaul's Drag Race with his mother and was captivated by the show's drag queens. Desmond began to play dress-up by fashioning household items into dresses and wigs. His parents early on thought he might be transgender because of his preference for girls' clothing. They stated that at the age of two or three, they thought that he was "likely gay" and they exposed him to a variety of gay culture, including showing him drag performances and taking him to pride parades starting at age four or five. He identifies as gay and states that he has been out since a very early age. When he was six, the family consulted a therapist about whether letting him wear dresses was okay; they were told not to force the issue either way but "to let it happen naturally". Around the same time he got his first non-homemade drag clothing: a Halloween costume of Queen Elsa of Arendelle from the film Frozen. His stage name came from a friend of his mother who created a 'Desmond is Amazing' Facebook fan page. In December 2017, his mother stated that he is autistic and drag and performing help him cope. 2014–2016. Desmond gave his first drag performance in 2014, at age six, appearing in Jinkx Monsoon's music video for The Bacon Shake as a flapper alongside Fred Schneider of The B-52's, who wrote the song. Soon after he became interested in drag ball culture, an underground LGBTQ subculture of mainly young black and Latino people structured in competing "houses" popularized by the 1990 film Paris Is Burning. Desmond admired two of the film's stars, Pepper LaBeija and Willi Ninja. He started voguing, and later took lessons from choreographer Leiomy Maldonado. He participated in the annual New York City Pride March for the first time in June 2015, voguing the entire route. A video of him dancing went viral. In June 2020, he recalled the day as his favorite Pride memory as yet. In June 2017 he competed in the NYC Legacy Ball hosted by Sydney UltraOmni and was invited to join the vogue troupe "Iconic House of UltraOmni", founded by Kevin Burrus. As of 2019, Desmond is the youngest member of the troupe. In the voguing world he is known as Desi UltraOmni. At the ball, his mother was encouraged to expand his social media presence to Instagram where pictures of his looks could easily be shared. In June 2018 he had nearly 60,000 followers; as of August 2019 that increased to 181,000 followers. The New York Times estimates that as of September 2019 there are more than a hundred public drag kids in the U.S.; Desmond has the biggest following. 2017–2018. In June 2017 Desmond was presented the Marsha P. Johnson 'Don't be Outraged, Be Outrageous' Award by Heritage of Pride, producers of New York City's Pride Week events. By July 2017 he had done two high fashion model shoots with fashion photographer Aaron Williams for Out magazine. In September 2017 Desmond joined drag performer RuPaul to cut the ceremonial ribbon opening the inaugural RuPaul's DragCon NYC. He also hosted "a children's walk off on the runway". In October 2017, Desmond announced the "Haus of Amazing", the first drag club for children and young adults under the age of 20.In February 2018, Desmond made his runway debut at the fall 2018 Gypsy Sport show, wearing a black blazer with ruffles. Later that spring, he was named lead spokesperson for NYC Pride Parade and Festival's advertising campaign. In June 2018, Pride month in New York City, he performed at a number of events, including the Tyler Clementi Foundation benefit "Sing for Pride" to prevent suicide among LGBT youth. During the summer he acted in the independent film Pageant Material, a teen drag film about drag pageants, playing Young Rodney alongside Mayhem Miller. On September 1, 2018, he performed at the rebooted Wigstock festival celebrating drag performance. He also appeared in the associated HBO documentary Wig. In September 2018, Desmond walked the runway in The Blonds' Disney villain-themed 2019 Spring/Summer collection; he portrayed Maleficent. Also during New York Fashion Week, he took part with Gays Against Guns protesting gun violence in schools. In November 2018, he was named to Out magazine's Out100, "founded to celebrate and honor some of the most influential LGBTQIA figures". Later that month, he appeared on the television program GMA Day alongside drag queens Hedda Lettuce, Alyssa Edwards, and Shannel. Desmond's GMA appearance was the inspiration for Greg Howard's Middle School's a Drag: You Better Werk! (2020) young adult fiction book that starts with Desmond's quote, "Be yourself always". He is also the inspiration for the young gay eight grader drag kid character, Julian, and his drag persona Coco Caliente Mistress of Madness and Mayhem. He also did a fashion campaign for SPKTRM Beauty. And he was featured in gender neutral makeup brand Fluide's campaigns. In 2018 Dazed named him #27 of the Dazed100, a list of the hundred most influential people shaping youth culture. 2019–2020. In 2019 Desmond became one of a group of LGBT activists to be named spokespeople for Converse. Out magazine notes Desmond has also faced backlash, and has described these criticisms and attacks as "blatant homophobia and transphobia". In March 2019 he acted in Marti Gould Cummings' parody video of "Baby Shark". In March 2019 Desmond was a featured speaker and performer at "This Is Me", the 26th Our True Colors youth conference for sexual minority youth and families at University of Connecticut-Storrs. He led a workshop, "Desmond is Amazing: A Drag retrospective". In spring of 2019 Desmond was runner up for the Queerties Up & Coming award for "the best in LGBTQ culture and media". In early June 2019 he served as Grand Marshal of the 23rd Annual Brooklyn Pride Parade. He also returned to the Children's Museum of the Arts as an ambassador for their 3rd annual Pride Cultural Festival. In June 2019 he also appeared in Broadway Sings for Pride's concert "Fearless" benefiting New York City area LGBT organizations. As of June 2019, he has appeared in Vogue four times. In June 2019 he was featured in Advocate's pictorial fashion shoot commemorating NYC Pride. In summer 2019 he was nominated for the 11th annual Shorty Awards, to "honor the best people and organizations on social media", in the category of LGBTQ+ Account. In September 2019, Desmond was named as one of the headliners of Drag Expo taking place in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) in August 2020.In March 2020, Desmond was one of the featured LGBTQ+ people in the coffee table book Closet Cases: Queers on What We Wear, edited by Megan Volpert on Et Alia Press. In May, Desmond released Be Amazing: A History of Pride, with illustrations by Dylan Glynn. In July he presented his book as part of a virtual Drag Queen Story Hour streamed for Portland, Oregon.
Movies & TV shows