A defiant mum has hit back at critics who have accused her of child abuse for letting her gender-neutral eight-year-old become a drag queen.
First introduced to the gender-bending performance art at just two years old after watching RuPaul's Drag Race – which is currently airing its 12th series, and sees fierce queens compete for the title of America's Next Drag Superstar – Mill Blackburn was instantly hooked.
The youngster, who is non-binary – identifying as neither male nor female – and uses the pronouns 'they' and 'them,' introduced their own drag persona in August 2019. Taking to the stage at Denver's Dragutante – a festival celebrating self-expression through drag – to lip sync to a track by singer Lizzo as their sassy alter-ego Salt Qween, Mill brought the house down, with older drag mentors insisting the starlet perform in their fortnightly shows.
RuPaul through the years
RuPaul through the years
Photo by: zz/KGC-247/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 1/18/20 The Vivienne and RuPaul at the opening ceremony for RuPaul's DragCon UK 2020 presented by World of Wonder on January 18, 2020 at Olympia in London, Engand, UK.
EXCLUSIVE - RuPaul, winner of the award for outstanding competition program for "RuPaul's Drag Race" at the Governors Ball winners circle at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
RuPaul poses in the press room with the award for "outstanding competition program," at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
EXCLUSIVE - RuPaul from "RuPaul's Drag Race" accepts the award for outstanding host for a reality or competition program on night one of the Television Academy's 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
FILE - This May 6, 2019 file photo shows RuPaul at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "Camp: Notes on Fashion" exhibition in New York. RuPaul is giving a dozen celebrities the chance to get drag makeovers for charity and bragging rights. VH1 said Tuesday, Oct. 22, that “RuPaul’s Celebrity Drag Race” will air as a limited series next year. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
RuPaul attends the 36th Annual PaleyFest "RuPaul's Drag Race" at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
RuPaul Charles at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
RuPaul arrives at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards - BAFTA Los Angeles TV Tea Party at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
RuPaul Charles arrives at night two of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at The Microsoft Theater on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
RuPaul arrives at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
In this Aug. 8, 2017 photo, RuPaul, host of "RuPaul's Drag Race," poses for a portrait at Allied Studios in Simi Valley, Calif. Winner of the 2016 Emmy for best reality TV show host, RuPaul is up for the award again this year. (AP Photo/Joseph Longo)
RuPaul arrives at the NBC Universal Summer Press Day at The Langham Huntington Hotel on Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
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With Salt Qween's career taking off, life for Mill has now become a whirlwind of colourful wigs, sparking sequins and gruelling weekly rehearsal runs.
Mill's mum Manige Blackburn, 34, is more than supportive, but not everyone has been as kind, with some critics even accusing her of child abuse.