Photo Credit: @jitskenap

Amsterdam is a crazy city! I was there for 1 month thanks to the artist in residence program that i was involved. And every moment has passed with plenty of art and shows. I was inspired by the many streets, museums and many people of the city before presenting my own conceptual/contemporary happenings… One of these people was Merlijn, who encouraged many people around him.
Let’s get to know him a little bit!

Photo: @vin_visuals


Diren Demir: Hello Merlijn! How would you introduce yourself?

Merlijn Wolsink: Oh, good question. I am just a boy… (Hahah!) from the Netherlands. –That’s what I used to think… I had to change my point of views about myself, what I do in this world and what I can create to contribute other people on the world. 

 But you know… in essence I come from the Theatre. I have done so many things related to creative expression. At the moment I am running an Access Consciousness® business, this is mostly about coaching, facilitating people to get more clear on their life and choices. And actually through clarity, they become more creative and they keep choosing to create their lives. It’s powerful.

 I love many things. I actually love being on the earth right now!

 I am a boy, but other than that, I am anything that I choose to be. Mostly I just pick the boy version of me, and sometimes I pick the drag version of me. Basically, when I am with people I am okay with any energy that I can be in order to create something with that person, or create something in that situation.

 In stead of saying “I am a boy”, I am more like living in the question. That has been a very liberating point of view, because for me, there is a big difference between our body and our being. I am not defined by my body but that does not mean that I have to put myself to another box, and it does not mean that I have to give myself to another definition. So, I just play with all, with all definitions.

Photo Merlijn: @isabeaubbosscher Photo Merlot: @Stef Lohstroh


 DD: How is your academic background in theater, and how did it effect you to have a deeper connection with your body?

MW: I kinda grew up as a singing-moving type of person. I have been raised with music. Then I had the point of view that I wanted to theater and my dancing was not good enough… So actually, I had a pre-education for both conservatory and dance academy, and I got into the both education and chose to study full time dance academy with a minor in singing. And after a certain point dance academy took over. Next to it being a great place to develop my body and life as a dancer, It also kinda bashed out a lot of theatricality because it was so technical and so academic. So, it took a while for me to re-gain that. I did all my studies, my pre-education and my dance bachelor for performing arts at İn Rotterdam Dance Academy, Codarts – a wonderful school.


DD: What kind of super powers do you have?

MW: One of my super powers is to melt the judgments in people’s reality. I never really realized that was a super power, but apparently, that is what it is.

 I never knew what to do with that kind of feeling I get when those judgments change… because it can be kind of awkward when you have a conversation and you notice that someone has a fixed point of view or judgment and then it can get more and more intense, this what I would call energetic intensity. But when I got more clarity on that, by just noticing it throughout my life, using and working with the tools and the information from Access Consciousness and actively facilitating sessions and trainings as well– I realized that I was pulling a lot of judgment into my world, into my head and I was having a lot of weird thoughts anytime that would occur. But then I started asking some questions about it like ‘what is this…?” “is there a capacity in this?” and there actually was. So, one of the biggest capacities that I know to have is to melt judgment. İn other words, “changing the ground of judgment in this world that we live on and in.”

 What I have been noticing ever since I’ve been actively doing drag and have been engaging in drag and the LGBTQIA+ communities, is that there’s a lot of possibilities and also there is a lot of judgment. -I never actually knew why, but then I knew- I was avoiding this energy of intense judgment… mostly what people carry about themselves. Like the idea of “I am gay, I am this, I am that… I am defined so I can fit in this world and have the right to exist” which might sound a it bold… but now I don’t have a lot of points of view about ‘being gay’ anymore so I can just go and be anywhere and have conversations with people. Through the eyes of this world I could see myself as gay also because I live a more ‘gay’ lifestyle and I think it’s just a life choice, also next to discovering and owning certain preferences.

  I noticed that when I just show up, people often relax, or they smile or they don’t know what to say and go giggling. But I know something is opening up in their World, whatever that is.

 Super powers… everyone has them but it has really been misunderstood. That’s why I would love people to claim it for themselves too. Melting judgments a weird super power though… it’s kind of Being a space that allows us to change to occur. And in that space of awareness there are so many things, so many energies.

I was feeling and having so many thoughts, emotions and projections that people have about themselves and others, it can be really confusing to receive all that information without realizing that that is what you and don’t really know what to do with all of it. It was very confusing for me for a long time but then I asked “is anything about this is actually true for me? Or am I just being aware of it? Who does this belong to? Am I picking this up from other people ” Noticing and acknowledging that transforms is at the same time. So it is kind of like, we are all musicians and energy transformers when we are just being us. That was just a big “AHA!” moment for me and it usually is a big “AHA!” for the people I worked with too.

You know, it can be very hard to find the things in our character that we are already are very used to Be and carry around. The same counts for personal potential that we already have, but we often cannot find it or see it ourselves, just because we are already very used to do it and to be it.


Photo: @Stevie.p84


DD: How was the process of becoming and being aware of it for you?

 MW: That was a choice, then the rest follows I was about to die in 2015. Hardly anyone knows it, but I was. But those thoughts I had about dying were not mine. I had just picked up on those and I created my life based upon them. Funny huh? Like a big AHA! Those were the moments that I found myself struggling. But I knew somewhere that I would be able to change this. Then the tools of Access came along, which was like… very liberating! And after my near death –Hahah! That was close…- and getting clear on this I was like “okay, I am still here now” and I was just so grateful to be alive. You know, in that process of nearly dying, you just get clear on so many things at the same time. Like, nothing is significant anymore if you just really wanna live. So that was life-changing for me. Everyone has the choice to die or choice to live, sounds simple and it might take a little more that just a choice, I’ve experienced that it starts with the choice to live. Now I am just so grateful to be physically alive and healthy.


DD: What is the story of Magic Merlot? How did she appear in your life?

MW: ‘Magic Merlot’ has always been there. This creative energy was and is like a part of me. I never really identified myself as a male or female when I was a kid and would also play with ‘girly’ things like make-up, wearing dresses and all that stuff. We have Access tools and questions for everything, so I just started to ask “what energy that I can be to contribute to world?”, “what else is possible?” and “what I would like to create in a 5 years?” And it just brought this energy, which started to invite more. For example I started to see more drag in my Facebook feed, I went to see more drag performance and all of a sudden I said “ok, let me go check it out again” And then my friend Crystel from Amsterdam was like “Oh! How about to start drag again…? What could you create…?” Before that I had never really claimed a drag act, I did play in a drag musical and had a lot of undefined drag gigs but I never claimed it for myself.

 Magic Merlot was born in an Uber taxi. We were driving into Amsterdam Centre coming from a drag performance and two Irish guys carpooling with us asked me “what is your drag name?” and Crystel just blurted out “Magic Merlot!” I laughed so hard, i was like “oh my god this is so funny”. I had to get used to the name and then I found it so charming and irrational, so I claimed it, haha!

 Then it started evolving and coming to the life. And it is still a creative energy. Magic Merlot is a little bit different then Merlijn. Also, when I am Merlot, the projections I get are very different then the ones I get as Merlijn, so then I create something different with that. Merlijn is more like… easy, relaxed, a bit autistic… Merlot is relaxed too but she is very much in control, very knowing… she is not a controlling bitch, she is kind… and she is sexy. And she allowed me to be more ‘sexy’ as a boy as well, because all the female energy gets acknowledged in her and when I’m just my boy-self and I can relax into that too. Also it has inspired a lot of the women and men in my Access coaching practice as well.

 I just like to play with both possibilities. Its whatever you define the ‘female’ and ‘male’ – and then, I play with the projections of the world. This is the funniest part.

 Anyway, Merlot came to life because I wanted to expand my life and create something different.

Photo: @vin_visuals


DD: As I see, Merlot is very helpful and creative energy for your life and self-acceptance…

MW: Yes! And for me it is even beyond self-acceptance… Acceptance is more like something you use to make things ‘right’. What Merlot actually does is allowing me to be more creative in different areas and allows me to be different energies. It’s an easier way to be for me to Be in such an artful creation of drag and it keeps it flexible to not conclude too much about it. So, I would rather say “allowance” than “acceptance”. Allowance is more like going beyond right and wrong. Just allowing it to be what it is – and what I choose to make it.

 I don’t even really define ‘me’ or ‘Merlot’ as ‘real’ anymore. It is more like… pure inspiration in a body, or with the body… Our body and our choices are our tools.

 There is also another creative side to this. She mostly shows up in my online programs and classes, usually at least one morning at the live trainings. İt is quite a lot of work to put that bitch on but it’s worth it, because I see that people’s worlds open up, the harshness kind of melts away and they start giggling… you know, they are men and women, and they think like “oh my god, am I making myself so real? I am creation! And what else can I be? What else can I do? What else can I have? ”


Photo: @jonhaywooduk

DD: A lot of people can define being a Drag Queen as a form of show that is separated from “normal” life and belongs only to the stage. But I can see that this is very different for you. How is that for you?

 
MW: Well, I am not sure that I am really a lot different with that… It is more like: I do not need Merlot to live a happy life and I kinda see life in itself as a performance. It’s one big show, haha! I don’t need to dress up as a woman to feel that I exist. What it does for me; I can use all those possibilities and it’s fun to play with. Sometimes my body even seems to be able to do the feminine appearance easier than the masculine, yet it fluctuates. That is why I love the genderfluid idea so much. It allows you to play and explore yourself.

 But everything I do is either a creation or facilitation. İf I am in front of a crowd I want them to be receiving. That works the same in theatre. People come for an experience. In day to day life that might be a little less active. Showing up in Drag is a tool to embody more possibilities and to take action on it while doing it. A lot of things show up in the performances and it opens up people’s world… or people just judge it, but I don’t resist those judgments.

 I think a lot of people resist when they are being judged, or when they feel that judgment. I think we should just get over that… it’s not wrong that someone is judging, it’s just a judgment. Why don’t you just let it in, let it through and let it change? Just have it as an awareness… What Merlot really taught me is to receive the judgement and let it change by receiving it. It changed my entire life. Receiving someone’s energy or judgment is like… a superpower.


DD: You are an active participant of the Drag community in Netherlands. What kind of contribution has that been for you?


MW: I’ve felt very welcomed so far. Usually people talk about competition between each other. I don’t believe in competition, it is not my reality.  And as a drag queen, in my point of view… you would not really do it without having some sort of wider or deeper purpose. There is always some sort of drive, whatever that is, otherwise proaly you couldn’t really do it. And I put a lot of my time, work and energy into my drag and I have a lot of admiration for everyone even choosing to do some form of drag.

When I started I realized “I should just go out and show up”. That’s what it usually is; just dress up and go to some events and be open to receive everything. I went to Lady Galore’s Drag Night and immediately Galore gave me a stage when she saw me. She just asked “do you wanna do a number?” and i said “Umm, i didn’t prepare anything.” So, I just did a kind of lousy lip sync. It was still good enough but i was kinda “uhmmm”… haha. However –I knew I had to be there and it got the ball rolling, without expectations.

  What I have found with the Queens and people that I worked with so far; I ask for fun and great people to show up, and they do! They are super supportive, especially if you are willing to look beyond their own insecurities. Also there are a lot of drag houses and drag kings, clubkids… Everyone has a great space to develop their style. There are stages at some bars, clubs and restaurants. We didn’t have open stages for a while but that is happening again soon.

DD: Political LGBTQIA+ jargon which changes and growing everyday also changes the drag practices and making it more queer, sexless and free… Now women can do drag queen and men can do drag king performances… What do you think about the point where drag practices will evolve in future generations?

MW: I think it’s a way to more like genderfluid, non-binary… and everyone still has the choice to choose a specific style or not.  That creative energy wants to express itself through all of us physically and energetically…  And what are the infinite possibilities? I think I would ask this question. “What are the infinite possibilities for the drag in the planet and for the next generation?” I guess we will see.

 There is al lot of people diving into this hole of creative possibilities. This is what it is; it is a creative possibility. And I think it is going more and more beyond that you only do it just because when you are a man and want to be a woman or you are a woman and you want to be a man. It is beyond that.

Photo: @maxzoulek


DD: How you combine your spiritual potential with your drag performances?

 
MW: Consciousness includes everything, it includes spirituality, it includes earthly stuff, it includes people…  And I can combine everything.

 What I actually enjoy about performing -and I didn’t realize that this is what we do as performers- is, we change the energy of the people when they are receiving from us, when they ‘let us in’. That’s why they are there. We are change makers and color bringers. A lot of times people feel happier after a performance or after meeting us. It makes them -and me- feel more alive. And even if they become mad inside their head or confronted with something when they see my show, then there is also something changing, haha!

 This energy that has built up around Magic Merlot is like beyond what I could imagine, people are so inspired. And what else is possible…?

Photo: Stef Lohstroh


 DD: Can you tell us about the shows, the zooms or the trainings that you are planning to do soon?  

MW: I have a really cool Call on my website… “Judgment, Are You Get Any?”

 A lot of people shy away from any judgment, either negative or positive… You know, like “You look good” or “you look bad” or “Oh my god you are amazing” or “oh my god you are so terrible”…

 Usually those judgments are energetic and a lot of time things get to feel heavy and people don’t know what to do with it… So I did a call about that. That is free for everyone to download and it’s life changing for many people.

 And i have some calls coming up about sex and the creative possibilities of sex, because it goes more beyond than what we think it is. A lot of it is about receiving and a lot of it is about creation. A lot of people aren’t empowered to be creative in their relationships… You can find the more on my social media and website.

 DD: In order to contribute to LGBTQIA+ individuals and everyone else who read this interview, what question would you send to them?

MW: Woww, ok… “If I would not judge myself, what would I choose…?” Or, “If I would not judge this, what would I choose…?”

DD: Thank you for your time!
MW: You are welcome!

Websites of Merlijn;
www.handsonaccess.nl

https://linktr.ee/merlijnwolsink/

https://linktr.ee/themagicmerlot/