On Season 13 of RuPaul’s Dragrace, the first trans man to participate, Gottmik, has become a standout star.
Gottmik is an LA-based performer who has worked with many celebs and other Drag Race icons. As Gottmik, her sense of fashion and makeup has been consistently amazing, with looks that left fans gagging runway after runway. Along with the looks, she brings plenty of charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.
And to think, Gottmik auditioned three times before making it to the show.
Notably, Gottmik is “she” when in drag, but “he” when out of drag. Both in and out of drag, Gottmik is teaching the world about life for trans and gender non-conforming people.
Trans Male Drag Queen Superstar
As you might guess, Gottmik’s name is a nod to the once-ubiquitous American ad slogan, “Got milk?” However, it’s also a nod to their surname, Gottlieb, and the German for Gottlieb, which translates to “God’s Love.”
Some people now call Gottmik simply Mik. However, Mik is part of the performer’s “dead name,” the name before he transitioned to Kade Gottlieb.
One of the amazing things about Gottmik and Kade is how they represent trans men and nonbinary masculine people. Up until now, trans men like Gottmik have been largely absent in mainstream media.
While in drag, she often loves showing her post-op chest, openly talking about top surgery and gender transition on primetime TV. For Gottmik, her drag is best when it’s “androgynous and loud.”
For other TGNC (trans and gender non-conforming) viewers, Gottmik’s appearances are historic and empowering.
Gottmik’s Fearless Runway Looks
On one now-famous runway, she walked out completely naked apart from two nipple pasties and a tiny black dress covering her front and back. It was a moment of fearlessness and pride.
“A year ago, I would never have done this,” Gottmik said on the show. “I couldn’t be happier with how I look right now.”
Both the judges and contestants praised the performance.
As proud as Gottmik is now, transitioning wasn’t easy for Kade. He came from a Christian family and tried to avoid hurting or upsetting them for years. Now, the family has finally come to understand that Kade is happier as his authentic self in Los Angeles.
Gottmik discusses the Little Black Dres transformation in her video below:
When Did He Learn He Was Transgender?
According to an interview with Gay Times, Gottmik always knew that he identified as transgender. However, it was only in his late teen years that he came to terms with being a trans man who is also feminine.
“I’ve known my whole life that something felt different. When I was a child, I only wanted the Happy Meal with the boy toy, and I only wanted to wear the boy uniform to school. Society told me I was just a tom-boy, but it wasn’t until I was 18 when I finally got the right group of friends around me that allowed me to be myself and come to terms with the fact that I was transgender.”
Today, he says some people don’t understand how he identifies as a man but enjoys performing in drag. It’s all about embracing the balance of masculine and feminine sides that all people share.
“People cannot seem to understand how someone born female can identify as a man but still want to perform and artistically express themselves through femme drag,” Gottmik tells us. “In my opinion, a healthy soul/person needs a good balance of masculine and feminine energy to survive.” While we often hear about drag queens who identify as trans or non-binary, there’s a significant lack of attention on trans men who perform as women.
Now a Drag Race icon, Gottmik has found her path to self-expression and superstardom.
“When I watched Drag Race in the past, there were always a few queens that would really open up my mind and show me a new side of drag,” says Gottmik. “The fact that I can be my authentic self and show my artistry, too, is mind-blowing.”
Trailblazing on Drag Race
On the show, viewers learned about Gottmik’s gender transition before the contestants. In an early maxi challenge, he wrote lyrics to perform RuPaul’s song, “ConDragulations.”
Gottmik was born a girl, baby.
Was told that I can’t do drag.
Knew I had something to prove.
Now, you’re gonna lose,
Then, when it was time to perform, Kade realized he hadn’t talked to the others about his gender identity. So, they would find out when he sang.
“Oh my god,” he says in a voiceover. “[…] I did not know that I was going to have all of these girls hear about my gender situation before I can even talk to them.” Visibly frazzled, he explained that he was no longer able to focus on the dance routine. “It’s so weird that I feel like this. I didn’t even know that I had a lot of gender dysphoria anymore.”
Later, after talking to the contestants, Kade received an outpouring of support. Although he may have been apprehensive, everyone applauded him. Rather than facing rejection, Gottmik was celebrated for being a trailblazer.
“I feel so accepted, so loved, so validated, and so happy,” Gottmik said.
Canadas Drag Race winner Priyanka dubbed the moment part of “Theystory” on Twitter, only to update that she talked to Gottmik and preferred to call it “History.”
In a conversation with Olivia Lux, Gottmik explained:
“My pronouns are he/him out of drag and she/her in drag,” Mik said.
On Transphobia and Crashing the ‘Cis-tem’
Although Mik has adoration from millions of fans and fellow contestants, he also deals with many transphobic comments.
In a Twitter post, he wrote:
“When I read weird transphobic comments about me, I sing transphobia to the beat of Disturbia, and keep scrolling baby,” he wrote.
Overall, he has enjoyed “love and support,” writing this on Instagram:
“It truly means the world to me that so many people are supporting me and my journey and allowing me to be so open!” he wrote. “LOVE YOU LETS CRASH THE CISTEM.”
When Gottmik made her entrance on the show, she said, “Time to crash the cis-tem,” referring to society’s bias towards cisgender people, whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth.
Gottmik’s Incredible Fashion Sense
Without fail, Gottmik always impresses with her sense of fashion and drama. Throughout the season, she has consistently wowed the judges with her runway looks.
Before Drag Race, Gottmik attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles.
On Drag Race, Gottmik’s spot-on impersonation of Paris Hilton won the Snatch Game. Every season, fans look forward to the game of celeb impersonations, and Gottmik exceeded expectations.
After the win, Gottmik appeared with the real-life socialite Paris Hilton in her YouTube makeup tutorial. Hilton loved Gottmik’s impersonation.
Classic Gottmik Looks
When she isn’t impersonating Hilton, Gottmik generally enjoys a trademark white face with delicately drawn brows.
In an interview with Vogue, Gottmik explained:
“The only type of makeup that excited me was crazy, over-the-top drag makeup,” said Gottmik. “I always loved to paint and draw, so I was like, I can do this on my face.”
For inspiration, Kade says he draws inspiration from images of clowns and “old circus images on Pinterest,” but with a glamorous twist. However, he also loves icons like Pete Burns, Amanda Lepore, Mathu Anderson, and Marlene Dietrich.
His fashion favorites include Galliano, Vivienne Westwood, and McQueen.
“I love any designer that has a grunge feel but makes it just so polished; I feel like that’s reflective of my drag style.”
Appearing in RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 Meet the Queens video, Gottmik explained:
“The more and more I got comfortable with my gender identity, the more I got to play with the drag, Gottmik side. And, now that it’s solely my art, it’s the best thing in the world.”
She also said, “I need to be the first trans winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Period.”
We can’t wait to see what Gottmik and Kade will be up to next. Whether she wins the crown or not, Gottmik is already a trailblazer changing the world.
Featured images: Screenshots via YouTube/Gottmik