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Monday
Sep112017

‘Alaska is a Drag’ Movie Brings Shameless Maya Full Circle at Urbanworld

(l-r): Martin L. Washington Jr. and Maya Washington filming a scene in 'Alaska is a Drag.' Photo © Shameless Maya. All rights reserved.When the Urbanworld Film Festival revealed its 2017 slate, the queer drama Alaska is a Drag stood out as the most familiar title among all 80 official selections. I immediately recalled the days when Maya Washington, a Canadian actress also known as Shameless Maya on YouTube, was vlogging about her experiences working on this movie.

It's nice to see her hard work and dedication finally paying off as Alaska is a Drag makes its East Coast Premiere at AMC Theatres.

Originally a short film directed by Shaz Bennett, the movie is about a fish cannery worker named Leo who lives in a small Alaskan town where he dreams of becoming a drag superstar. When a boxing coach offers to train him for an upcoming match, Leo must face the real reason he is stuck in Alaska. Washington plays Leo’s tough-as-nails twin sister Tristen who teaches him how to fight back against bullies.

The Shameless Maya brand was also instrumental in helping secure production funds on Kickstarter to turn Alaska is a Drag into a feature film. Before the screenplay landed in Washington's lap, however, she struggled to find acting jobs while living in New York City. In addition to spending years receiving numerous rejections from casting directors while auditioning for roles in film and television, the devout Christian was also kicked out of acting school.

Maya Washington as GAMORA in Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy.' Photo © Shameless Maya. All Rights Reserved.Not wanting to give up on her dreams, Washington landed gigs as a voice actor and later took matters into her own hands by starting a YouTube channel where she made videos transforming herself into well-known pop culture figures such as Storm from X-Men, GAMORA from Guardians of the Galaxy and Beyonce in "Flawless."

In five years and counting that her Shameless Maya channel has been active, Washington relocated to Los Angeles and now produces original content for national brands such as TOMS shoes and the beauty care line Alaffia.

Being among Shameless Maya's million "boos" – and one who watched the actress' work since she was crashing NY Fashion Week, releasing hip-hop music, and making curly hair tutorials – it’s nice to see her latest return to New York City by way of the big screen. Maya Washington went from repeatedly being told she wasn't good enough for this part and that part, to being offered a major role in a film without having to audition for it. Congratulations to Shameless Maya on how far you’ve come -- from New York to L.A. and back again!

Maya Washington performing a stunt scene while on set for 'Alaska is a Drag.' Photo © Shameless Maya. All Rights Reserved.This time, the woman who once boldly shaved all her hair off LIVE on YouTube to send a message about combating fear, returns with a movie where she gets to flex her acting muscles in front of the Urbanworld crowd.

Alaska is a Drag, starring Martin L. Washington Jr., Maya Washington, Matt Dallas, Christopher O’Shea, Jason Scott Lee, Margaret Cho and Kevin Daniels is screening 12:00 PM on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at AMC Empire Theater 9 in the Urbanworld Film Festival's U.S Narrative Features competition.

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