A drag queen has shared how they balance caring for livestock with the glamourous demands of life as a drag queen
By day, Brandon Hilton from South Carolina, US, cares for their 11 pigs at home, waking up at the crack of dawn to feed them.
By night, the 30-year-old becomes ‘edgy and sexy but also campy and funny’ Onya Mann, and leaves the pig farm to perform in full drag.
Brandon, who uses he/him pronouns while out of drag, she/her while in drag, and is happy to use they/them to keep things simple, is also a fashion designer for the brand House of Mann and records their own music.
They’d always dreamed of having their own farm, but they never thought they’d be mucking out stables in high heels.
‘You can take the queen out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the queen,’ Brandon said.
‘Currently I live with 11 pigs in my house, in various rooms, destroying various things, but I love them dearly and make sure they are the happiest hams in town.
‘Wrangling pigs in six-inch heels is a big challenge.
‘When I’m fully dressed up and ready to go, I have to get them back inside, so I can get to the gig.
‘Let’s just say a seven-foot-tall woman with huge hair and sparkly costumes doesn’t exactly make them want to come to you.’
Brandon had always wanted their own little farm, even as a kid, but never thought they’d end up living with 11 pigs.
‘I got my first one at a flea market of all places; I happened to pass a lady that had all kinds of animals and there at the very back of her booth was the cutest pig I’d ever seen.
‘I didn’t know anything about pigs or what I was getting myself into at all, I just jumped in as I do – I named him Pig Pig.
‘Then, one of my friends had a female Juliana mini pig and couldn’t keep her anymore and asked if I would adopt her.
‘Of course I said yes, not knowing she wasn’t neutered.
‘When Pig Pig met Princess, it was love at first sight, but apparently they were doing more than cuddling at night and since then I have had 21 pigs come through these doors.’
Now, in addition to the first two, Brandon’s pig family includes, Runt Runt and White Spots, both one, Fuzzy Butt, six months old, Caligula, Little Boots, Mary-Ann, Hamela Anderson, Harry Hamlin, and Little Man, all three weeks old.
They added: ‘Pig-Pig once broke into my drag room where I keep all my nice costumes and wigs.
‘He somehow pushed the door closed with his nose and then it was just him and all my nice things – let’s just say it really tested my love for that butter ball.’
Bradon consider the pigs to be their children.
He said: ‘I hand-birth every single one and give them kisses from the day they’re born to the day they find their forever homes.
‘Each pig has their own personality, some are more affectionate than others, some will only sleep certain places or eat certain foods.
‘My little man Runt Runt expects to have his own personal stash of food each time we feed. Some are more vocal than others, some don’t talk at all.’
Brandon’s pigs go through an impressive 22kg of feed every week and they spend up to £82 a week on bags of food, along with fresh fruits and vegetables.
The pampered pigs even sneak into Brandon’s bed for snuggles at night.
They said: ‘They do sleep with me sometimes – we have had as many as seven in our bed at once.
‘One day they snuck up the stairs and into our bed and then one by one, litter by litter they have added themselves to our bed and now even the mum, Princess demands to be let into the bedroom to cuddle.’
In addition to Brandon’s busy life as a drag queen and pig parent, their work in fashion has featured in the likes of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Paper Magazine, and they’ve recorded four studio albums.