Ky is a Toronto-based Chinese-Canadian dancer, filmmaker and videographer. You may have come across her hilarious “Fail Parody“ covers on YouTube, which consist of mock-dancing to (mostly) K-Pop songs. Since 2012, Ky has amassed millions of views and over 280,000 subscribers. Her most popular cover has hit nearly 2.5 million views.
Ky’s voice on Twitter, Instagram and overall popularity on social media has made her a regular on K-Con. She’s also a representative of C-Pop, K-Pop and J-Pop fans in Toronto, and she even landed an interview with CBC when they addressed the pressures of K-Pop perfection illustrated in the tragic suicide of SHINee’s Jonghyun.
Apart from her solo endeavours, Ky is an active member of the Toronto dance crew Underground Pulse as well. In September of 2019, she debuted as the leader of Dim Sum Boyfriends (DSB). Here, STYLE contributor Naomi Kwok chats with Ky about being Chinese in Canada, the queer scene in Toronto, DSB, and so much more.
NK: Tell me about Dim Sum Boyfriends. Why do you call yourselves a “Drag King Boyband”?
Ky: Dim Sum Boyfriends is a drag king performance group with six core members from the queer Asian community in Toronto. A Drag King is the opposite equivalent of a Drag Queen – we play with gender expression as well and perform on stage as female performers in masculine drag. My group consists of all queer Asian members with stage names taken from our East Asian culture: ShangKai, Sir Racha, Ricky Shaw, Hoi Sin, Con. G and Bao Next Door.
NK: What’s the inspiration behind DSB?
Ky: The inspiration behind DSB comes from many cultures, including RuPaul’s Drag Race (which I’m a huge fan of), Drag queens and performers, C-Pop tomboy groups like FANXYRED and Acrush, and K-Pop boy groups such as BTS, WayV and SHINee. Not to forget, Western boy groups which we all grew up with like NSYNC and Backstreet Boys.
NK: How did you cross paths with New Ho Queen and make your group debut with them last September?
Ky: I knew about New Ho Queen (NHQ) online and met the organizers through one of DSB’s members, Lulu (a.k.a: Ricky Shaw), who’s also a colleague of mine through production work. She has been a member of NHQ and active in the Toronto queer scene for a while. She wanted to form a boy group since she saw the Latinx drag king group Boiband the Boyband perform on vacation.
Lulu became really intrigued by my Asian pop dance covers and YouTube background when we first met at work. When she found out that I’m queer as well, we started talking more about forming this group. It was super random at first! I must give credit to Lulu for scouting all the members to form this team. I’m grateful to be apart of this little queer Asian collective.
I was then chosen as leader based on my performance experience and helped get our team ready for performances. We met altogether in August of last year and started prepping for our performance. NHQ wanted more queer female representation in their community, so they were very welcoming of us. Eventually, they had us debut and headline their Mooncake Festival event last year. That was really fun and the support has been amazing since then.
NK: From your own experience, what’s the Toronto queer scene like?
Ky: When it comes to going out, I’m not really the best person to talk to since I’m quite the homebody. I haven’t been super involved physically in the Toronto queer scene until recently, so I can only base my experiences off what I’ve actually experienced. Personally, I think the Toronto queer scene is very colourful, fun and welcoming. I’ve attended Pride parades, drag shows and club events here and there. All those experiences were very refreshing for me since I’d never experienced them growing up in Shanghai and Singapore. I’m excited to participate more in the future after this quarantine ends!
NK: What does being queer, Asian and a content creator in Canada mean to you?
Ky: I think it means self-discovery and becoming more comfortable with who and what I am. I’m still embracing my queer identity though. I’ve never really officially come out or anything, but I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by supportive friends, family and welcoming coworkers who allow me to be all of those [identities] naturally. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking when I introduce myself with those terms to new people that I’m comfortable with, but everyone I’ve experienced has been very open-minded. I really appreciate that.
Growing up in a Chinese household has been interesting considering the fact that my parents aren’t like the stereotypical strict Asian parents that control many aspects of their child’s life. To be honest, my parents (mostly my mom) were strict when I was little. I was sent to ballet, piano and language classes, but ever since I turned 11-years-old, they have only been strict about my bedtime. I’ve naturally grown to be very self-disciplined and hardworking. Even my parents wonder how I grew to be like that without much of their nagging! They’ve been very open and supportive of me pursuing the arts and video production since I’m always bringing back fruitful and consistent results to prove that I’m capable of my career choice, so they don’t really have any objection to my choices.
However, I remember when I first came to Canada around 2012, in my first year of high school, it was my peak K-Pop obsession phase. I often dreamed about being an idol or a hair stylist or a backup dancer for the idols. When I first told my parents about that, they almost fainted on the spot. Since then, I’ve been quite realistic with what I pursue and at the same time, keep dancing and performing as a passionate hobby.
NK: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Ky: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is being true to myself and loving myself.
NK: What would you tell your younger self?
Ky: I would tell my younger self to care less about what other people think. Maybe get into dancing earlier and learn to appreciate those ballet lessons too!
NK: Any words for other queer teens out there?
Ky: No one can force you to be who you are. Don’t force yourself to fit into molds that society has created. Be yourself and love yourself for yourself. People will be attracted to the true you. Take all the time you need to be comfortable with your identity and remember: you are loved and appreciated.
This interview has been edited and condensed by STYLE Canada.