Mya Lusion Takes Sacramento by Storm: A Tale of Creativity Through Fluidity and Resilience
Michael Carson never expected to become an up-and-coming Drag Artist in Sacramento. As an alumnus of the University of California, Davis, he studied English Literature with a double emphasis in Creative Writing and a minor in Gender Studies.
“When I was little, I would dance and prance around with my cousins. We would blare our favorite songs from favorite female artists, like Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera, pretending we were skinny melanated models on a runway and lip-synching in my room when everybody else wasn’t around,” Carson said. “When LOGO TV was on, I would watch RuPaul’s Drag Race in the living room. As soon as I heard the garage open, I would run to my room and change the channel.”
Carson’s creativity and inspiration for drag stemmed from a very young age, with his passion for art, drawing, and writing. While in middle school, he drew manga and anime characters he would see on TV and wrote queer fan fiction that would spark the beginning of his literary journey.
As a film buff and fan of the “magical girl” genre, Carson gushed over cult classic films like Mean Girls, Jawbreaker, and The Craft, and staple anime including Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. Between these forms of media, he threaded together his drag persona of Mya Lusion.
“She’s technically a medium for me. It’s almost like she’s a moving time capsule, capturing moments from when I was younger to contemporary moments and things that I’ve experienced, lessons I’ve learned,” Carson said. “Mya Lusion is a beacon of hope that has helped me shape who I would even hope she and I could be in the future. She has always been a fluid adaptable figure to me.”
Carson’s previous experience being in a closeted long-term relationship with another closeted person motivated him to explore gender, discover his sexuality, and express all he had kept hidden. This exploration of gender taught Carson more about himself and his interest in Gender Studies and LGBTQIA+ activism throughout his late adolescence.
“I felt like I couldn’t express myself since for years, unbeknownst to myself, I was trying to assimilate and mold myself into this closeted dynamic and narrative for someone else, and that wasn’t me. Drag was almost like the antithesis of it all, and that’s what made me bloom and discover aspects of my own gender. Drag felt like the ultimate kind of rebellion,” Carson said.
Aspects of Carson’s work as a creative are adaptability and fluidity, combining his love for writing and drag into one.
“As a poet, I’ve always loved figurative language. My favorite literary devices have always been metaphors and allusions. Mya is equally a part of my identity as Michael always has been and is the magical girl I always wanted to be, alluding to so many different things that I love in my life,” Carson said. “Mya Lusion is a pun that I pulled from a poetic piece of mine. I strung the two together because I wanted Mya to be the subject of my own allusion, a walking, breathing figure of all of the things I loved and adored. I never wanted my drag to be encased into one form of drag, so I challenged myself to pull from what I love and never to be complacent. Mya has always been a fluid figure to me and a muse of many shapes and forms. Mya and I can adapt to many different subjects, genres, and molds through drag and art. That is how my art has always been: fluid. Mya can be a superhero, an anime girl, a hot girl.”
Carson, who comes from a Black, Filipino, and white background, relates his adaptability as an artist to his journey as a multiracial person, never feeling like he fit the mold of where people wanted him to be.
“2020 was really hard for me. Not only was the pandemic happening, but I felt scared as far as my identity being Black. It was tough for me to wake up every morning and find out another Black person, especially Black trans people, who passed away from the white hand,” he said.
Reflecting on the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Carson read an excerpt from his poem “Say Our Names:”
“As we dodge the eyes/ Of white men to seem/ Docile, tame, “obedient”/ Holding our breath/ So our dreams don’t/ Drown before we can even tread/ Being a bleeding mosaic/ As our bodies are reduced/ To the mere infrastructure/ Of a building or an inanimate object.”
There is a multitude of facets to Carson’s identity. While drag is a meaningful and fulfilling part of his life, it is only one aspect of his artistic expression.
“Being a drag artist, we become commodified objects, where people more or less see us solely as our drag personas. So many other entertainers and I have more dimension than what you see on the outside,” he said.
Through Mya Lusion, Carson has created two dynamic shows, a monthly show called “Hibiscus at Flamingo House Social Club” and “The Aviary,” a weekly drag show located in downtown Sacramento. Each offers new opportunities for performers from diverse backgrounds, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and other marginalized groups. He is also working towards self-publishing his very own book of poetry and has aspirations of exploring the world of screenwriting.