Article by Jing Lei Wales

From the childhood home to stages in New York City, the wonders of Kendall Mullins, also known as Kendall Knight, never cease. Kendall (he/they/she) had their start of being a performer in their bedroom as a child singing and dancing along to Hannah Montana. As they got older it slowly became lip sync performances in theater class to pep rallies to even hosting their very own drag shows in New York City. 

They admitted their path to becoming a drag queen was slow going as they grew up in the small city of Lynchburg and needed to work at overcoming their own internalized homophobia. However, they would not change a thing.

Kendall admits one of the biggest surprises of this journey has been the overwhelming support they’ve gotten from their family, friends, and local community. To their younger self, he would say “Continue dancing in your room”.

Now, one of his biggest supporters is their mom, who inspired their drag name, Kendall Knight. Instead of wanting a completely separate drag persona from who they are, Kendall chose to use his mom’s maiden name and keep roots to the person they are today. Specifically, he said, “Kendall Knight is just an extension or amplification of myself”. Through paying homage to their family, they are also hoping to honor their ancestors’ memory.

Another unique aspect of the Kendall Knight and their shows are the approachability of them. Kendall constantly seeks to create spaces that are first and foremost safe and inclusive, especially to the queer community.

This was especially seen at their last hometown show where instead of having their show be born and popularized out of controversy, it was done so out of love for the people in Lynchburg. At this particular show, there was no age restriction, and tickets were paid by means of donating what you can. The show was open to everyone and ended up not only filling every seat in the Academy’s theater, but also raised over $11,000 for their Jefferson Forest High School’s theater department.

It was at this show, she received one of the best compliments they’ve ever gotten. After the show ended, a parent approached them and said their child was completely enamored by the show and will most certainly be recreating Kendall’s performance in their room, just as Kendall had done as a kid. Such a compliment has further encouraged Kendall Knight’s shows to continue to be inclusive and safe spaces not only for the queer community, but for anyone in attendance.

As such, their shows have consistently been accessible to audiences of various backgrounds and ages and aim to engage all generations by pulling references from times of both Bewitched with Elizabeth Montgomery to Taylor Swift.

Kendall’s last parting advice to anyone who is wishing to start performing themselves is, “You must create your own opportunities. Knock on every one of those doors”.

If you would like to support a Lynchburg native and their endeavors, make sure to follow them on their socials @kendallatknight and see their next performance at the Academy Center of the Arts on the 29th of October at 7:30 PM.