Sunny Dolat Photo Shoot with Twiggy Pucci Garçon and the Ishtar Dolls in Nairobi

May 17, 2019

Sinitta Akello teaches the Ishtar Dolls make up techniques.

Photo by Rogers Photography

“Freedom of expression, and freedom specifically of gender expression is important, because if you are not able to own who you are, be who you are, and express who you are in whatever ways that feel most affirming to you, then how are you able to be a whole person, how are you able to exist in this world as your true authentic self?” – Twiggy Pucci Garçon

 

Miss Milagros (left), Shantannah (center) and Alvinah (right)

Photo by Sunny Dolat

“Ishtar Dolls is a very special and unique space where we can express art and beauty in queer community” – Shantannah

 

Uche

Photo by Sunny Dolat

“I’ve always known that there was a feminine part of me but I never had the courage to cross-dress because we are in Africa. But when I came to Kenya from Nigeria I started to accept who I am. I entered a competition at USIU to become a behaviour change ambassador. One category was Sexy Switch. That was the first time I cross-dressed and I felt very comfortable with it.” – Uche

 

Uche

Photo by Sunny Dolat

“My dream as an artist is to create an avenue for men who cross-dress to make it in the modeling world, in high-fashion shows and commercials. I know a lot of cross-dressers who get lost in the camera – they can look sexy, they can look motherly, whatever the cameraman wants, they can slay!” – Uche

 

Sunny Dolat photographs the Ishtar Dolls

Photo by Rogers Photography

“Even if you are a hetero male, a straight male, it doesn’t have to be a toxic expression of masculinity. For a long time Kenyan society, like many other societies in the world, there is very little room to express gender that doesn’t conform to what society expects.”  – Sunny Dolat

 

Sinitta Akello and Twiggy Pucci Garçon

Photo by Rogers Photography

“I look at make up as an expression of who you are. I believe confidence and beauty is within us all and sometimes we just need a little pick up to remind us of who we are.” – Sinitta Akello

 

Twiggy Pucci Garçon

Photo by Sunny Dolat

“Often times we are rejected and hated for our difference and actually we have more things in common than we have different and so the ballroom scene was born out of this idea.” – Twiggy Pucci Garçon

 

The Ishtar Dolls

Photo by Sunny Dolat

The Ishtar Dolls are bringing voguing culture to Nairobi in spite of fierce opposition to living openly queer in Kenya. Through their performance and presentation, we are able to understand the urgency, realness, and beauty of what it means to live within your truth.

 

Toyostar_model

Photo by Sunny Dolat

“We pass through difficulties. People are judging you wherever you are passing, ‘is that a boy or is that a girl?’ But we are more than that gender.” – Toyo

 

Cash Madame

Photo by Sunny Dolat

“When I’m performing in drag, I love to hear the sound of my heels clicking. I feel free!” – Cash Madame

 

Queen Ericah

Photo by Sunny Dolat

“Freedom means being free to be myself and who I am; free to make choices that represent me; and as a gender and sexual minority being free.” – Queen Ericah

 

Miss Milagros (the only drag queen with a goatee)

Photo by Sunny Dolat

“To me, freedom is a freedom of self expression towards my sexual orientation on other people” – Miss Milagros

 

Alvinah

Photo by Sunny Dolat

“The highest form of freedom comes from accepting yourself”-Alvinah