Introducing Belle Dommage:
My real name is Miguel Matias, I’m 32 years old and I’m originally from Lisbon, Portugal. I moved to the Netherlands about a year and a half ago and am living in the east area of Amsterdam. Besides being a drag queen I am also an aerialist and a teacher at Pole Dance Factory Amsterdam. My drag name is Belle Dommage, inspired in the french expression “quell dommage” which roughly means “what a shame”.
Originally I was an actor but I wasn’t fully happy and ended up getting really fed up with it by the time I did my BA on the same area. It was then that I started to turn myself into dance and aerial acrobatics. At this point I didn’t really knew what to do with it and I was doing it more as a self pleasure than anything else. A couple of years of self induced absence from the artistic world brought back the wanting to create. It was more or less by this period that I started watching Rupaul’s Drag Race, at this point on it’s 8th season. Fascinated with it I started binge watching every season since the first one. I’ve always been curious about drag, but it was only two years ago, when I was watching Drag Race season 4, on the moment Sharon Needles walks out on the runway as a sort of a zombie drooling blood from her mouth that I said to myself: “I want/need to do this!”
Firstly, I see drag as an endless pit of creativity. Secondly, as a big middle finger to social institutionalized gender norms. Drag allows me to create without boundaries and in so many different areas, such as makeup, outfits, accessories, concepts and performance. It allows me to bring together all the areas I’ve dabbled in before like theatre, cinema, dance, performance and aerials. And it can be the vehicle to powerful messages, either about gender, humanity or even politics. Drag can be anything, as long as there is some sort of gender play, which is for me the only common denominator for what drag is.
When I moved to the Netherlands I reached out to my friend Dennis De Wilde, who’s Trashley’s husband, looking for some tips in how to start making myself known in the Netherlands drag scene. Immediately he put me in contact with his “hubbie” and a couple of weeks after I was being invited to take part on the House of Ratchet monthly night at Club Nyx. It was a super fun night and I connected with most of the members of the house right away. And then comes NYE, a night of celebration and new beginnings, and the night in which I officially became a member of the House of Ratchet after being invited by the mother of the house, Heather Ratchet.