“I've had a lot of amazing experiences, and some of them I don’t even remember,” she said. “I thought, ‘What would happen if my Facebook disappeared?’”
This is part of the reason she wanted to start documenting her life on film. “Project Peppermint,” a working title, is reaching the final days of crowdfunding and aims to shed light to Peppermint’s life as a drag queen and a trans woman.
Filming began before she was even a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and now with an even larger fan base than before, support has poured out with more than $50,000 raised. Oriel Pe’er has been her friend for about a decade and is the filmmaker for the documentary. They met when Peppermint was performing at a bar in New York City, which Pe’er frequented. They became quick friends and worked together professionally on several projects.
“Four years ago she called me and said, ‘I have something big to tell you.’ We took a walk in the park and she basically told me she was trans,” Pe’er said. “I was sort of confused. I thought, ‘You’re a drag queen,’ but then, I never thought of her as a man either.”
Several years after that day in the park, Peppermint decided to have surgery and asked Pe’er to help document this new part of her life. From there, the two began telling Peppermint’s story together. What started out as an idea for a short film, became a nuanced documentary that focuses on gender, performance, and how we all choose to be seen.
In order to keep the film as authentic as possible, Pe’er is adamant about ensuring that Peppermint herself does not have to help fund it. He explains that making a documentary is already an “unnatural act,” and he wants this experience to be as normal as possible.
“He gets to see my ass - quite literally - and that’s not something I wouldn't invite any person with a camera,” Peppermint said. “He doesn’t seem afraid and that’s good.”
The two said they appreciate the opportunity to work comfortably with each other, but are also up for the challenge to highlight what they believe to be uncharted territory.
“People have an idea about what drag is and what drag should should be, and what trans is and what trans should be,” Pe’er said. “I hope this serves as a tool for people to understand she’s a trans person who just happens to do drag for a living.”
Peppermint hopes the documentary, which is scheduled to be released in 2018, will not only bring new issues and topics to the forefront, but will also take a deeper look as to who she is as a person. On RuPaul’s Drag Race, she was often casted off as the nice queen with a “good personality.”
“I want people to know that life is a lot harder than it looks for drag queens, and for trans women,” she said.
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Brianna is a BUST editorial intern from Indiana. After finishing her bachelor's in telecommunication news and journalism from Ball State University, she went to Syracuse for her master's in arts journalism. She likes writing about movies, performance art and advocacy. You can follow her on Twitter @BriKirk, and reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.