Ella Gorodetzky | WJW Intern
Noam Siegel, 18, is from Rockville and is passionate about art, theater, performing and expressing himself artistically. A recent graduate from Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Siegel is planning on taking a gap year before college next year. During his gap year, Siegel plans to continue performing drag and theater and working as an EMT.
What is your Jewish background?
I grew up in a modern Orthodox family, going to pluralistic Jewish day schools in Boston and in Maryland. And I’ve kind of just found my own little niche in Judaism, where I’m finding what I’m interested in doing now versus what I grew up doing.
How did you start getting into theater and drag?
I have been doing theater since I was like a toddler. I just always have loved singing, and I’ve always loved attention. So those things together kind of brought me to theater as a kid and I just love it, and I’ve continued to do it and train and get better at it. And now I’m hoping to do that as a possible career option.
And drag kind of stemmed from that, as well as boredom during the pandemic. So, it was kind of a mix of me being bored, and all alone in my bedroom and wanting to experiment with my gender expression, and have a way to perform things without a stage and an audience.
So that kind of led me to copying looks I saw on the internet and just trying to figure out ways to make it my own. I’ve had two drag shows in the past year that I’ve done. Since I’m not 21 yet, I’m not allowed to go to most of the bars that the drag shows are at, but I found a community online where I post pictures of my looks and do videos online and stuff. And I go to a bunch of drag shows, and I try to make friends and perform as much as I can. And it’s just really fun.
Has your Jewish identity influenced other aspects of your identity?
I think Judaism is an intrinsic part of any part of my identity. It’s the way I grew up, it’s my family history, it’s my culture. But, as a queer person, not every Jewish community is most accepting of that, so I’ve had to navigate that, for sure. And also trying to find communities where that intersectionality is celebrated instead of judged is really important to me. Keshet, which is a Jewish LGBTQ youth group, has been really cool for me to meet other people and stuff. It’s been interesting for sure, trying to navigate those two worlds together.
What other things are you passionate about?
Over the past like six months or so I’ve been training to be an EMT. I’ve been really enjoying that. My dad is also a paramedic, so that’s been like a fun family thing for me to work with him. That’s a relatively new passion of mine but it’s definitely something I’ve been enjoying a lot. And then I’m just an artist, so I love to paint, I love to draw, I love performing, I love music, anything where it’s like creativity and celebrating like who you are as a person I find really powerful.
What is your favorite Jewish holiday?
My favorite holiday as a kid was always Shavuot, which I feel is a silly answer. Mostly because I really liked cheesecake and candy all night long at synagogue. But I think I would stand by that answer because I think it’s like an interesting holiday. I feel like it’s underrated.