In honor of Pride Month, we’re celebrating artists from the Portland LGBTQ+ community and their stories of self-expression. Photos by Ben Sellon.
Through film and performance, Princess Bouton’s (she/her + they/them) art uplifts the belief that feeling beautiful is yours to claim. In a spectacular display of self-expression, their films invite you into their world, encouraging others to exist, to be brave, teachable and self-loving. Best said in their own words, “Free your mind and your ass will follow.” We caught up with Princess Bouton to hear how Portland’s kiki ballroom scene provided a space for self-love and joy.
Princess Bouton wears the Original Universal in Rainbow Pride.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your projects that you want the world to know about!
PRINCESS BOUTON: I am a film student in Portland, Oregon, class of 2020. I practice film as a form of self-expression. I recognize that all art has the power to create impact so I dedicate most of my work to uplift QTPOC (Queer and Transgender People of Color).
What does Pride mean to you?
PRINCESS BOUTON: Pride is a reminder that many of the privileges I have today is a result of the rioting, suffering, and labor of queer people who walked this earth before me.
In what ways are you active in the Portland LGBTQ+ community? What inspired you to do this?
PRINCESS BOUTON: I am a part of Portland’s kiki ballroom scene and many of my friends are drag or burlesque performers. Portland’s kiki ballroom scene is made up of many talented queer individuals. We throw balls where talented queer and trans people of color can safely take up space. It is, at times, very intimate and gives us space to rise above the identity stigmas we face in spaces that may not prioritize intersectional experiences.
I am the Princess of the House of Flora and a lot of my energy in the scene goes to holding space for the members of my house and encouraging the people around me to be brave and self-loving. In this community, I feel fully charged and motivated to take on the world as the bad b*tch I am.
In what ways has the community impacted you?
PRINCESS BOUTON: My community has provided a space where I get to explore and enjoy myself. I owe my impeccable sense of self-love to my queer family.
We love how your films are immersive experiences with wardrobe and locations. How do you use clothing to express yourself?
PRINCESS BOUTON: I keep my ideas on clothing very simple. If I don’t love it, I don’t wear it. I prefer to feel the most comfortable—always.
What is something you wish others could learn from the community?
PRINCESS BOUTON: Be yourself and give others space to be themselves.
Teva is celebrating Pride with a contribution to It Gets Better Project, an organization that connects LGBTQ+ youth with older mentors. If you could tell one thing to your younger self, what would it be?
PRINCESS BOUTON: I would tell my younger self to do whatever feels right always and that it’s better to be enjoying yourself and be judged than to be bored and silent.