A US Navy sailor lives a double life as a drag queen, going by the stage name “Harpy Daniels” and making the Navy look, well, like the Navy.
24-year-old Berwick Yeoman 3rd Class Joshua Kelley has always been an entertainer, even before he enlisted in February of 2016. For years before he was a sailor, he was a drag queen by the name of Harpy Daniels.
“My father retired from the Navy as a senior chief Navy counselor after 24 years,” said Kelley. “He often told me of the benefits and experiences he gained because of enlisting. Drag was too costly of a road to go down at the time because I had college loans and living expenses to overcome. Knowing the benefits of enlisting, I would be able to gain a more comfortable lifestyle to support myself and my future in drag.”
Despite his busy work schedule aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, Kelley still has time to boost morale and perform as Harpy for MWR functions.
His command seems more than happy to let him perform, according to a press release from the Ronald Reagan’s Public Affairs team.
“Kelley has performed his demanding duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner and demonstrated tremendous initiative and attention to detail,” wrote Cmdr. Samuel Gray, former commanding officer of VFA 115. “He was instrumental in his administrative duties and he reinvigorated CSADD program participation, creating social and volunteer opportunities for junior Sailors. His extraordinary effort and unfailing perseverance inspired all who observed him and resulted in his selection as Blue Jacket of the Year.”
An openly gay man, Kelley has grown to appreciate the Navy, something he would not have been able to join prior to 2011, when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed.
Now stationed in Japan, Kelley finds what time he has to pursue his passion.
“Although there is less opportunity to perform as a drag queen in Japan, I still find time for my passion,” said Kelley. “I practice different make-up techniques by experimenting with different styles of drag makeup. I plan different looks through costuming and hairstyling for future performances, as well as rehearse choreography to new songs. Most of this is done on the weekends due to the immense amount of time it takes.”
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