Nymphia Wind

On bridging identities through drag


Talent: Nymphia Wind @66wind99

Photos: Henry Wu @hello.henry

Fashion & Makeup: Nymphia Wind @66wind99

Hair: 林囍 at 辣囍妮美髮院 @linc.hair

Model: Eddie Ying @eddieying

Photo Assist: Anna Lee @annaisaverage

Video: Hoang Nguyễn @go.hobo

Nymphia Wind (妮妃雅) can do it all. From her extravagant clothing to her very playful and hyper persona, the Taiwanese American drag queen is now America's newest Drag Superstar. Her victory on the 16th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race sends a message of hope and perseverance to Taiwanese youth to pursue their dreams and never lose sight of their individuality. Being one of only seven Asian drag queen finalists since 2009, Wind doubles down on this accomplishment by being the first East Asian contestant ever crowned on the show.

Following her education in England, Wind moved to Brooklyn in 2022 where she found even more freedom to express her drag. Despite performing in America—thousands of miles away from home—Wind holds her national identity closer than ever. In an Instagram post about her victory, Wind begins the caption with, “This crown is not just for me but for Asia and my country Taiwan.”

Wind's unique persona isn't the only thing taking America's drag scene by storm. Her self-made outfits frequently incorporate her trademark yellow and bananas as a motif. They not only showcase her ingenuity and heritage but make her easily recognizable on stage. She even performed in a stunning boba-themed outfit in the finale, paying homage to the popular Taiwanese beverage. In this way, Wind carries all her support and love on stage in a lighthearted, yet meaningful form of art. Off stage, Wind is an inspiration to her fans, encouraging them to follow their own path and live life to the fullest.

A couple of months ago, Wind sat down with Timid about her Taiwanese identity, where she draws inspiration and the support she has received from family and friends throughout her journey.

Timid Magazine: How does it feel for you to be the first Taiwanese drag queen on RuPaul’s Drag Race?

Nymphia Wind: I feel very honored and very proud of my country to be able to represent such a lovely little island and share that with the world. Being Taiwanese, we really struggle with our national identity because I remember growing up, we would always be questioning—are we a part of China, or are we Taiwanese? We do struggle with a bit of our national identity, and I feel it's important to let it be known that we exist. It's the most frustrating feeling when you're shopping, and you pull down and it says “Republic of China, Taiwan” or they don't even have the option of Taiwan.

TM: When did you step into your drag identity, and is there a moment in time where you remember Nymphia really coming alive?

NW: I feel like Nymphia and I used to be the same person when I started doing drag. Eventually, I put certain parts of my personality into Nymphia, and they come through when I do drag. I'm a different person in and out of drag. I wouldn’t say there is a certain point where it’s like: “This is how Nymphia was born.” It's more like a gradual development where she just had her own thing going on. Nymphia has always been around, but when I started doing drag, she had a name. Your drag identity has always been a part of you, but through drag and through dressing up, you get to express that more.

TM: What is your process of creating each look?

NW: It really depends. Usually, there are many ways I go about finding inspiration. If a club gives me a theme, I go around doing that, and I usually find a song and visualize how I want to perform it. Through that, I imagine how the clothes are going to look. A lot of the time, I figure out designs when I'm already making the clothes, so I’m simultaneously designing the clothes while I'm making them. A lot of the inspiration comes from Asianness or a lot of Temple culture. There's a variety of ways I would go about finding inspiration.

TM: Are there similarities or differences within drag communities and how drag is performed, especially between Asia and America?

NW: The similarities are a drive for drag—the passion for drag—and being able to express yourself. The differences are just little differences in the way of doing drag performances and how the whole drag community is different. The one most notable [difference], is that in Taiwan, it's mainly the clubs and bars who go out and book the queens. In New York, it's mainly the queens who book other queens. A queen would have their own parties [in New York], and they would go out and find other performances.

TM: You lived in Taiwan for a long period of time, went to school in England, and now you're based in New York. How have these diverse environments really shaped you as an individual?

NW: Being able to see how different cultures work and being able to see different ways of life definitely helped shape who I am. As an international queen, I definitely have a very different perspective on life through my experiences overseas in England, Taiwan, and America. I think that really helps broaden your experiences.

TM: Can you share a meaningful interaction that you have had with the fans since appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race or just in doing drag in general?

NW: After a few shows, because I did that documentary of 誰來晚餐 [Guess Who], a lot of people got to see this uplifting side of Nymphia and my relationship with my mom. A lot of people would come up and talk about how they aspire to that. A lot of the time, people come up to me and say how inspiring [it is] to see me just live my life and how it inspires them to do the same.

TM: What are some of the qualities that you've learned from your mom that you still carry with you today?

NW: Oh, my God. First, she's very crazy. Looking at her, sometimes I realize that how you think is passed down genetically. I feel like me and my mom are very similar in the ways our brains function. [We have] a passion for life and really live life to the fullest. She's a 60-year-old woman, and in 2022, she decided to fly to Italy, on her own, to learn Italian. It's really inspiring to see such an old woman do such a thing. I feel like that just translates to me to really go for it and not think so much.

TM: You have talked about death but in a positive way. Do you find any connections between this perspective and how you approach drag?

NW: Death, for me, is not necessarily the end. Sometimes you go through life, and you probably have to die a few times to really get back up—not die in the sense where you're [physically] dead, but you have to get rid of the old habits and “die” in a sense to get reborn to be better at life. Through my drag, I like to play around with the idea of death in my performances. Just live life to your fullest potential. You could die at any time. So just go and do it.

TM: What advice would you give to someone who really wants to explore and start out in drag, specifically for Asian communities?

NW: I know a lot of Asian communities have a lot of problems revolving around family and not wanting to embarrass their parents. Sometimes you have to really see that this is the life that you have to live and follow your most exciting path. I mean, just follow what you really want to do and the rest will follow along. Stop stressing yourself out to try to please everyone because you’ve got to please yourself first.

Disclaimer: This interview was edited for length and clarity.