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Miss Fame 01

Miss Fame Opens Up About Ongoing Struggles With Anxiety, Mental Illness

Miss Fame, the genderfluid makeup artist and 7th place queen from Season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, recently shared a little on Twitter about her personal experiences with anxiety, mental health struggles and therapy.

You may recall from her time at Drag Race that Miss Fame (birth name Kurtis Dam-Mikkelsen) grew up on a chicken farm as a child. From birth, she considered her grandfather as her dad. When Dam-Mikkelsen was a teenager, her grandfather was murdered during his visit to Peru. Unable to comprehend his death, Dam-Mikkelsen’s grandmother made him see a therapist.

“He taught me how to walk through my pain, face every dark chapter and release myself from the emotional baggage,” Miss Fame writes. “I cried, I shook, hyperventilated and got physically sick to my stomach as I do when I’m overwhelmed.”

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Miss Fame with supermodel Naomi Campbell and gay fashion designer Marc Jacobs

“One year later, after my thorough mental house-cleaning, he set me free,” Miss Fame continues. “To be honest, it was I who set myself free by accepting the help when I need it, and for that I am forever grateful.”

Despite setting herself free from that period of grief, Miss Fame admits that she still wakes up most days overwhelmed or anxious.

“I think I’m addicted to the feeling,” she writes, adding that most everyone she knows has real struggles of mental illness, financial instability, heavy addiction, domestic abuse and declining physical health.

“Knowing their struggle pains me as I can relate to the hurt of these special members of my circle,” she adds.

Since leaving RuPaul’s Drag Race Miss Fame has gone on to star in fashion editorials for D4 and Paper magazine (video above), has worked with fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and Loreal Paris, did makeup for the recent video of gay choreographer Todrick Hall, and even started her own Painted by Fame web series in which she creates dramatic makeup looks for other queens and people.

Her fame makes her admission all the more salient: It shows that even successful queer icons and famous people still struggle with mental issues.

This is especially important since the National Alliance on Mental Illness says that LGBTQ people are three times more likely to experience a mental illness than straight people, four times more likely to have suicidal or self-harming thoughts and 2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety and substance abuse issues.

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Kurtis Dam-Mikkelsen (aka Miss Fame)

Because of societal queerphobia, some queer people are reluctant to shares their lives and struggles with those around them. Some don’t even mention their sexual orientation or gender identity to their doctors or therapists; some who have ended up facing discrimination for their honesty.

However, the queer and drag communities also champion the idea of self-pride, authenticity and vulnerability all of which encourage people to come to terms with and be honest about their personal struggles, just as Miss Fame is doing now.

What do you think about Miss Fame opening up about mental illness? Sound off in the comments.