By Jonathan Calixto
A rising star in the queer nightlife community of New York City, Inita D, also known as Zaccary Belliveau, shares what life is like behind the “seams.” Having started her drag career nearly six years ago, Inita D is a self-proclaimed “friendly neighborhood crossdresser,” bringing playfulness, sexiness, and a lot of fun to each performance, just like her witty name.
While you can expect the same enthusiastic person both on- and off-stage, Inita D shares that her drag persona lets her “live the fantasy of being that powerful diva I know I am as a gay man. But I get to put a wig on, and people listen.”
For Inita D, part of the responsibility that comes with people listening is advocating and showing representation for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). “Definitely my Black side influences my drag in terms of the numbers I perform, the outfits I wear, and the artists I choose to acknowledge and celebrate,” she says, adding that she is inspired by her mother’s French-Canadian, Irish, and Cherokee background, and her father being African-American.
But what’s the process of becoming Inita D? To lay out the foundation, she works with a designer, Gabby Grywalski, collaborating and thinking outside the box on garments that are, “sickening to look at but comfortable to dance in.” Often promoters will reach out looking to book drag queens for themed nights from glamour to BDSM, or even a Marilyn Monroe party, so it is important for her to have a range of outfits that can work for new opportunities that make her more marketable in the drag community. As for the persona as a dancer and performer, she shares, “once I step foot outside of the dressing room, I am on.”
Turning into Inita D also comes with many misconceptions. “Drag, for me, is a career and a passion; it is not my gender expression,” Inita D shares about meeting men who assume she enjoys intimacy as Inita D, her drag persona instead of as Zaccary. Aside from being mistakenly sexualized, Inita D also notices the lack of compassion for the art of drag. “Once you do drag, you have a whole different understanding of what tips mean to someone. It’s kind of like working in the service industry,” she shares, pointing out the hours it takes to prepare for a show, perform, and then having to de-drag only to run to the next gig.
Navigating this fast-paced industry, Inita D feels there isn’t an “I made it” moment, instead “I’m making it.” She shares how she has a bucket list full of dreams to accomplish in drag, and as one dream is crossed off, another is added to the list. “There’s always room for improvement and to book something bigger,” she shares. Among those “I’m making it” moments are winning Lady Liberty in 2019, performing as a paid entertainer at Palace Bar in South Beach, and kicking off her drag career with Andora Tetee as her drag mother and Hibiscus as her drag sister.
As for the career Inita D is paving, she is finding balance between the drag persona and Zaccary. Whether it is spending time with friends, going on a date, or taking a lazy day, in the words of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, she is “reclaiming my time.”