Friday, 24 April 2020

Interview with Danielly Drugge

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Danielly Drugge, an inspirational fashion model from Sweden, beauty pageant queen, Miss Trans Star International Sweden, cosmetician, and happy wife. Hello Danielly!
Danielly: Hi Monika, first of all I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here on your blog, giving all of us visibility and voice.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Danielly: Well, I am a girl who was born in Brazil, with a strong temperament. I am a dreamer, who never give up on dreams, even though there are many difficulties imposed by society for being a trans woman.
Monika: Why did you decide to settle down in Sweden?
Danielly: First of all, it was because I met Robert who today is my legal husband. I always had the dream of me, being Danielly, having my life and family without being labeled, which in my country is kind of hard to achieve because trans women are all there labeled. 
My husband told me how life is "easier" for a transsexual woman in Sweden, that here we have a normal life, where we can work and be who we want to be without the fear of being pointed out on the street; here there would be the beginning of a life I always dreamed of.
Photo credits: Robert Drugge.
In the city where I live many of the people know that I am a transsexual woman but I never receive glances or hear bad words directed only because of my presence.
Monika: How was you life back in Brazil? Do you still have any family there?
Danielly: I will not lie, I had a good life, I was able to study, I always had the support of my family because they already knew that something "different" existed in me since I was little. But because I had friends who suffered physical aggression and also because of a trauma after a robbery, I had post-traumatic stress and it made my life difficult.
After that I started to isolate myself and be afraid of dying for being a trans woman. And yes, I have family in Brazil, by the way, a very large family, and whenever I can I make video calls and visit them too.
Monika: For most of transgender girls, the most traumatic time is the time spent at school, college or university when they had to face lots of discrimination. Was it the same in your case?
Danielly: When I was little and I went to primary school, where in my mind I was just like the girls, my cousins, ​​I was raised with. During the first class break, when I had to go to the bathroom, obviously I went with the girls, and my teacher had to prevent me from entering with them. 
It was when I realized that something was not right. Over the years, verbal attacks started, which in this case were not so aggressive. I was called a princess at my primary school because I was always very small and delicate, and my teacher nurtured me.
Later in my teenager years, everyone knew me at school, no one laughed anymore, but the nickname was still a princess.
Monika: You look super feminine. Would you agree that the decision about transition should be always taken as soon as possible?
Danielly: Yes, absolutely! I believe that with the transition at a younger age, we can look more feminine. By doing a medical follow-up and with a good adequate hormonal therapy we can block some masculine characteristics. 
Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in Brazil?
Danielle: I see a very sad situation because transsexual women in Brazil are marginalised and treated with no respect. The macho society represses a lot of transsexual women, not giving us the opportunity to live and have "honest" jobs. 99% of trans girls are forced to work as escort girls and thus being forced to live on the margin of the society. 
Photo credits: Robert Drugge.
Monika: I do not know about you but I was always inspired by Roberta Close,  a Brazilian fashion model, the first transgender model to have posed for the Brazilian edition of Playboy. It was incredible to see her on the covers of Vogue and other women magazines, and on the catwalk for famous fashion houses.  Did you have any transgender role models or inspirations?
Danielly: Roberta Close is also my inspiration. She was the great Brazilian pioneer to expose herself to the world as a transsexual woman, so my first reference obviously came to her, but nowadays there are several transsexual models that we all look up to as inspirations. 
Monika: As for recent inspirations, I was impressed by one of your Swedish celebrities  - Vanessa Lopez? What an incredible woman! I was so honoured to interview her in 2014.
Danielly: Vanessa is an amazing woman. I didn't know her before the Miss Trans Star International 2019 in which I participated. She came to me and introduced herself, and I was curious about her and looked for more information. Since then she has become my inspiration too.
Monika: When you came to Europe, did you have any specific professional plans?
Danielly: Well, I took a professional hairdressing course, I studied fashion design, and my plans are to continue with this beauty branch that I always liked. I intend to become more professional and in the future be able to work in this area.
Here in Sweden the opportunities are easier to reach, we have good universities and without having to pay for it. In the meantime, I work with YouTube and do small modeling jobs but the focus is on working at a beauty salon.
Monika: What beauty treatments are you especially interested in?
Danielly: I work with all types of hair treatment, but I am gradually specializing in the field of aesthetics, such as fillers and even treatment with toxins.
Monika: Did you model in any fashion shows?
Danielly: Well, not at a fashion show, but I love the fashion world so much that I decided to be a representative of Sweden at the Miss Trans Star International, held in Barcelona in 2019.
Photo credits: Christopher Nigrelli.
Monika: Was it your first beauty pageant? Who or what convinced you to take part in it?
Danielly: Yes, It was my first beauty contest, indeed. I always liked to watch fashion shows and I always attended beauty contests for both Miss Brazil and Miss Universe. It was a dream to participate in them, but because I was a trans woman I could not do it.
However, when I met my future husband, I told him about all my childhood dreams and desires, and this was when he encouraged me to participate, so I fell in love with this world of contests even more. So invitations for 2020 events started to appear.
I was invited to participate in 3 more contests, which have no scheduled dates because of the pandemic situation, but if everything goes well I want to be able to participate in all of them, including the next Miss Trans Star International 2020. If I am accepted, my intention is not to win the title of most beautiful, but to meet people, stories and make friends for as long as possible as I did in the last contest where I made sisters for a long time.
Monika: Did the Barcelona pageant have any specific categories?  
Danielly: Yes, there are some extra prizes to win, but unfortunately I was not really prepared for any of the prizes. There was a Miss Popularity, which was won by Miss India; Miss Sympathy went to Miss Spain, Best Fitness Body belonged to Miss Switzerland, and wonderful Miss Cuba received this title of Miss Beyond Crow. (I must confess that she was my favorite for this post.) 
Monika: What was the atmosphere among the pageant contestants at Miss Trans Star International? Did you have a chance to make friends with some of them?
Danielly: It was incredible! The 2019 Miss group was full of pain and happiness , and all the girls supported each other, they were incredible! I have a special love for Miss Cuba, Miss Spain, Miss USA, Miss Mauritius, Miss Argentina, and Miss Brazil. Obviously they were all wonderful but those were the ones I identified with most.
Monika: I assume that you had to spend a lot of time on preparing dresses, hair style, make-up. Did anyone help you?
Danielly: Yes, it was a little difficult for me because I was an amateur. I didn't know how it work. I was happy that my husband gave me 100% support, and during those 7 days, I had to do my makeup and hair on my own. However, on the last night I was supported by three girls. Miss Spain Michelle allowed me to take advantage of her makeup artist because I was really alone; and I can say I love this girl! Not only because she helped me but also that she has incredible heart.
Miss USA Ale Tristan lent to me a dress because I had problem with mine whereas Miss Honduras gave me a pair of earrings and a necklace for the fashion show because mine stayed at the hotel. And finally, Miss Cuba Yuni, she welcomed me as if I was a member of her family, for which I love her so much.
Photo credits: Luana Dias Malman.
Monika: Yuni Carey?  Yes, I must admit she is such a kind and lovely lady! I interviewed her six years ago, and at that time she was already an experienced pageant contestant. Did you learn something from the other girls that will help you in other pageants? 
Danielly: Yuni Carey is an amazing person. In the 2019 Miss Trans Star International contest, she said goodbye to the contests, and she is now going to dedicate herself to the training of Misses. Apart from beauty tricks, I learned to live in groups, and regardless of beauty we are all queens, queens of our own lives. 
Monika: Have you thought about taking part in Miss International Queen in Thailand? I watch it every year, and I must say it is fantastic ...
Danielly: Yes! My biggest dream would be to participate in the Miss International Queen pageant. I sent my application for the contest but if I am not mistaken I am not old enough yet to be able to participate. Instead, soon I will represent Sweden in the Miss T World pageant, and I am available for any possibility to participate in more events.
Monika: I must say I am more familiar with the Miss Trans Star International contest. The Miss T World pageant is held in Italy, right? What dress are you preparing for this event? Could you say more about this pageant and all your preparations?
Danielly: Yes, it takes place in Italy in Brescia. The event would take place on the 29th and 30th of May but has been postponed (no date set for the moment). This event will last two days, giving us an opportunity to present ourselves in bathing suits, traditional costume and gala dress.
I already started preparing my dress. It was a gift from a friend. It will not be luxurious like the dresses of all the other girls because, unlike them, I will not I have official sponsors but I guarantee it will be a nice dress. As for my tradition costume, I haven't started the preparations yet but I want something that reminds me of a red fox, which is one of the symbols here in Sweden. I hope I can do something beautiful!
Monika: When you are not on stage, what clothes do you like wearing? Any special colours or brands? 
Danielly: I love dresses in particular. I am completely in love with delicate dresses. I don't have a favorite brand, I usually don't buy anything for the brand, but for the style; if it catches my eye, that's the most important thing.
Monika: By the way, have you ever thought about acting?
Danielly: Yes, when I was young, I guess I was 16, I took dance and theater classes. I liked them a lot, being someone else and having a new personality that attracts a lot of attention. 
Monika: You have a perfect figure. What do you do to stay so slim?
Danielly: We all have references of femininity and beauty. In my case I always admire skinny and small girls. My genetics make me thin, i take care of myself, avoiding certain types of fats. In addition, I go to the gym and I often go swimming.
Photo credits: Robert Drugge.
Monika: What is your preferred colour of hair? You had blonde, and other colours ... now you have black ...
Danielly: My hair is black, but as a good hair lover I have some human hair wigs. So I can change my look without harming my own hair. Every time when I kept changing color it hurt. With wigs I can have the desired look in a few minutes and without any damage. 
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Danielly: I never thought of writing my memoirs, for the simple reason that I got isolated myself so much that I would not enjoy to share anything. I don't have many stories to be told; there are girls with better life stories to be told.
Monika: 29 June 2019 must be a special date for you. Did you enjoy being a bride, trying on a wedding dress and finally your wedding ceremony?
Danielle: It was the greatest achievement of my entire life. That date marked my beginning of a family, MY Family!!! It was very exciting to be able to realize this dream of officially marrying being a woman and not being labeled.
I had a very simple ceremony only with my husband's parents, children and friends but it was a magical moment for me. We did not have a religious wedding, which I wanted to do in Brazil with my family, but we had a very beautiful party in the garden of my new home. 
Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Danielly: Yes, I feel almost completely happy. I made my transition completely, I got married, and I have my family. Now I just need to have a career; I really want to be in the world of beauty or boost my work on the Internet.

 Danielly with her husband.
Photo credits: Morgan Bäckvall.

Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls that are struggling with their transition decisions?
Danielly: Good Monika, there are always transsexual girls contacting me and asking for advice. I always repeat the same thing, be yourself, don't live in the eyes of others, run behind the goals and never give up because we all have obstacles in life and that's just a detail for us to make it stronger.
Monika: Danielly, thank you so much for sharing your story. Good luck with your pageants, and take care in these crazy Covid-19 times. 

Main photo credits: Robert Drugge.
All the photos: courtesy of Danielly Drugge. 
Done on 24 April 2020
© 2020 - Monika 

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