Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

RISE UP! This Native American Two-Spirit Is Using Her Talent and Wit to Change the Face of Drag-Pop

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

RISE UP! This Native American Two-Spirit Is Using Her Talent and Wit to Change the Face of Drag-Pop

Article excerpt

THE JOURNEY 0F two-spirit drag-pop recording artist, VIZIN, is one that movies are made from. But with a five-octave voice (like Mariah Carey) most singers would kill for, it was only a matter of time before the Native American singer was able to shine.

VIZIN, who says she once weighed 700 pounds, had gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, eventually breaking free from her past emotional trauma, an unsatisfying job, and ongoing health issues.

Now, the shooting star has released a reimagined version of Sylvester's classic disco hit, "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" with world-renowned remixer Hector Fonseca and producer Chris Rosa. She also did a new dance single, "I Was Born This Way," a remake of the 1975 song written by Chris Spierer, which is currently spinning in seven countries.

Showing off her still curvaceous (but 500 pounds lighter) body, VIZIN shared the stage with Chaka Khan and Jodi Watley at Long Beach, Calif., Pride earlier this year. But while the crowds cheered her fierceness, she's the first to tell you it wasn't always rainbows and accolades.

While working the Bismark, North Dakota, drag scene in 2008, VIZIN admits she was unhappy with her survival job and, due to a series of "unfortunate events," she ended up moving back home.

"I felt defeated and fell into a depression that involved me basically living on the couch and ... eating myself up to 703 pounds," VIZIN recalls. "My mother was the one who got me to see a doctor about having gastric-bypass surgery. I was scared of dying from the surgery. I decided I could either eat myself to death or die on the operating table. I'm happy I took that leap."

That decision changed her life, and gave her a newfound confidence to carry her back onstage.

"My escape was always music and listening to the divas of the '90s," she says. "I never realized I could really sing until I was about 12 and I shocked the entire school when I sang 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' for a seventh grade recital. I remember some of my teachers telling me I had made them cry. After that, I just kept singing and knew I could always stand out that way. It was nice being known as a singer."

VIZIN says her strength comes from her identity as two-spirit (what many Native American tribes consider a third gender). …

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