Flashes of Pride: Rushh



Carrie George

Junior psychology major Nico Rushh uses queer and genderqueer as overarching terms for their identity, but views gender and gender expression differently than most of society.

“If gender is expression, then I have a gender,” Rushh said. “Gender is the way you show yourself to the world, and for me, my gender is a bunch of things. People might say that’s personality, but I kind of disagree.”

Rushh said though their gender and sexuality can change frequently, the terms queer and genderqueer encapsulate all of their identities.

“I feel like I’m in between both masculine and feminine, and I can go back and forth when I want,” Rushh said. “Some days I do present more masculine and some days I do present more feminine.”

In high school, Rushh created an alter-ego named Nicci.

“This character that I created in my head, it’s like the more feminine version of me,” Rushh said. “But we’re still one in the same.”

When Rushh “debuted” Nicci their sophomore year of high school, they wore makeup and a wig and walked through the cafeteria in an aisle between the lunch tables.

“I walked into the lunch room, people started screaming, so I went back out because I was scared,” Rushh said. “Another part of me was like, ‘Girl, f— it,’ and I literally took off my backpack and I strutted and I just walked it.”

Rushh said this was a defining moment for them.

“It was powerful for me,” Rushh said. “I walked the freaking cafeteria and it just made me feel so powerful, like I am somebody. I can be somebody.”

Rushh also has a drag persona, Miss Maple Mae, and has performed in amateur drag shows.

“I always grew up around a lot of strong women,” Rushh said. “When I do drag, I want to be that; I want to embody that.”

Rushh said they learn a lot from Nicci and Miss Maple Mae, such as how to be more confident and how to ask for things when they want them.

“I get to get out of my comfort zone and step into someone else’s,” Rushh said.

Rushh, who came out at 12 years old, said you have to come out to yourself before you can come out to anyone else.

“I came out to myself on my bed crying in the middle of the night because I’m dramatic,” Rushh said.

Both of Rushh’s parents reacted poorly to their coming out, but Rushh’s father reacted more negatively than they expected.

“He wanted me to produce kids, so he put that all on me, and the fact that I was gay, I couldn’t have kids,” Rushh said.

Rushh said their father was emotionally and physically abusive. They do not identify as their birth name because they feel it describes their father more than it describes them.

“I was telling my mom about how I really want to change my name because “Nicholas Mostella” or “Nicholas Anthony Mostella,” he’s a someone, but he’s not me,” Rushh said.

The name Nico Rushh originated when Rushh and their step-sister used to reenact different TV shows.

“I just didn’t feel connected to any of the characters, so I created my own character,” Rushh said.

Their mother always called them Nico, so they chose that as their first name. The last name Rushh came from the movie “August Rush.”

“I didn’t want to get in trouble for copyright issues — mind you I was 7 — so I added the second ‘h,’” Rushh said.

For awhile, Rushh feared that changing their name meant they no longer had anything to look forward to.

“I wanted to look forward to being someone and that was Nico Rushh,” Rushh said. “But if I change my name, I am that person. I try to be a good person, and Nico Rushh is a good person.”

Carrie George is the is the administration and diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected].