To all us fans of drag, we’ve heard and used the term “fish” before. As in, “it’s giving fish” or “I look so fishy today”.
But what are the implications of that term exactly?
To give “fish” means to be looking extra feminine or women-like. And what is the art of drag if not to be giving the over-exaggerated illusion that you are the opposite sex. However, as we develop as a society, we begin to unveil the discussion and go more in depth on gender identity.
Being a long time fan of drag and watcher of “Rupaul’s Drag Race” for multiple seasons, it goes without saying that there is a lot of work put into the art of drag. While hundreds of girls enter these competitions or do drag, the most compelling queens are often those who give a variety of talent and charismatic traits. The ones who are the most vulnerable and unapologetically themselves.
Anoush Ellah is a Canadian-based Armenian drag queen, and a gorgeous one at that. While initially exploring her page, you can see her drag is evidently different from what is culturally accepted in the queer space, making her in person drag debut at the “Cher the Love for Artsakh” event in 2021, co-hosted by Entanik.
The Category Is: Fish Fantasy
Queens are often critiqued on their ability to sell the “fantasy” or in other terms, the illusion that they are a woman. To be their most polished and presentable self. What Anoush does in her drag puts her as somewhat of an outlier, as her difference opposes the traditional look a queen is expected to deliver. Queens who express a “different” aesthetic from what is the norm, can often be plucked out of that individuality for the sake of mass appeal.
What we love about Anoush here at MIASEEN is her self-assured presence and persona. After all, what does it mean to be a woman or feminine? That is where the discussion of gender identity comes in.
Anoush, although unconventional, is female presenting and we recognize her ability to sell her fantasy in confidence. Her decision to keep her facial and body hair, non-usage of padding, and subtle make-up (and yes for a drag queen that is subtle) is fierce and she exudes the confidence of a star.
Tucked Away From the Community
It would be foolish not to mention the bravery that Anoush demonstrates every day, just by being the person that she is
As the Armenian culture struggles to accept homosexuality, we see very little progress as each generation grows into its own, but progress nonetheless. With that, those in the community who do drag or identify as nonbinary are seen as a completely separate topic, as other. With a community that may not back her when needed, her choice to incorporate and highlight the beauty of her Armenian culture is commendable.
Anoush has performed at many events and places, most often and notably at The Oud & The Fuzz, an Armenian-owned live music venue in Toronto. However, you can see her at all kinds of events such as “A Night Around the World” at the Rivoli Toronto, the Crews & Tangos Bar, or at local Pride Events.
As many marginalized communities call for better representation of their culture, Anoush took that task upon herself. Being followers of her here at the MIASEEN team, her message of self-love pushes the envelope of the Armenian people the same way American drag did for U.S. culture. As she pushes through her hardships and shares that journey through her art, we as spectators get to reflect on ourselves.
Anoush Ellah is a one-of-a-kind person whose aesthetics and talent are unmatched. Her gender-bending androgynous exterior puts her a the forefront of not only drag but of Armenian culture.
She’s not giving fish, she is the damn fish.
As said best by Rupaul, “we’re all born naked and the rest is drag”.