The rising profile of LGBTQ pro wrestling in recent years expectedly cast a spotlight on the intersection of pro wrestling’s athletic melodrama and LGBTQ culture and motifs. The strongest correlation between the two centers on the performative nature of each subsects celebrated stage show aspects. More succinctly, wrestling is drag.
That’s why it was so fitting for pro wrestler and stringent LGBTQ ally Corinne Mink to be the first subject of TLC’s new Drag Race All-Stars-helmed makeover/empowerment reality series Dragnificent. The episode focuses on helping Mink feel comfortable in her own skin and redefine societal gender expectations, a battle Mink has struggled with since her youth, ahead of her wedding.
The show itself makes the connection between drag and pro wrestling on a mainstream stage, but Mink has been exploring that link throughout her in-ring career. The self-described “Drag Queen Cactus Jack” found wrestling somewhat by happenstance after losing the physical and cultural outlets that helped her find herself while attending Dartmouth College. Wrestling became her way to rediscover and embody the persona that she struggled to embrace.
“[Drag queens] taught me that femininity is a hoax. There is nothing really natural about it and that is what helped me love my body,” Mink told Outsports. That love, and potential copyright infringement, led Mink to craft her “One Tough Broad” persona, blending the athletic build that others regularly deemed traditionally masculine with imaginative artistic looks to form an aggressive feminine self-expression that perfectly embodies Mink in and out of the ring.
“I think that [‘One Tough Broad’] does send a statement of sorts by looking very obviously feminine but like a truck driver. She definitely has masculine qualities about her… It’s great,” Mink said.
This self-actualization met with her allyship when she was chosen as one of the few cishet talents to appear on Prime Time Pro Wrestling’s LGBTQ pro wrestling Pride extravaganza Butch vs. Gore in March.
The confidence derived from her own physical interpretation of drag has proven invaluable as the same questions and societal interpretations of gender that tormented her through her youth continue to pop up. “Someone that watched Dragnificent said, ‘I’m confused. Is Corinne Mink female or male?’ People, who cares,” Mink said. “If I am a trans woman, more power to me. But I’m not that cool. I love anything that sends a gender-related statement and that’s what I really aim to do in wrestling.”
Check out the full interview with Corinne Mink on this week’s episode of Outsports’ LGBT In The Ring podcast. Download and listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all other podcast services.