This 'Canada's Drag Race' contestant is probably the reason why a lot more folks will start to love mathematics.
If you hated math in high school, drag queen Kyne Santos might just change your feelings towards the subject. Using Instagram and TikTok, she shares all the cool parts of mathematics that you may have never heard of or understood in the classroom. From talking about whether such a thing as "boring" numbers exist, to helping you solve everyday math conundrums, Santos is the fabulous math professor every high schooler deserves. In addition to her videos on math, the drag queen also does what she can to raise awareness about anti-racism initiatives and amplify the voices of those who are most marginalized, NBC News reports.
"Math has always been a very big part of my life," Santos explained in an interview with the news outlet. "I just wanted to take a risk and try something new." She highlighted the importance of using math "for good and not evil," adding that she just wanted to show her viewers that math can be something they love while simultaneously being whatever they wanted to be. The drag queen was inspired to use her social media handles when she witnessed so many young people leave school disliking it. She said, "The classic question that people ask in school is, ‘When am I ever going to need this?’ And that is a question that I try to answer in my videos."
To prove that some concepts you learn in math actually do come in handy in "real life," Santos made a video on how to understand whether a graph is portraying information fairly. In the clip, the drag queen explains why a graph showing the number of Coronavirus cases in the state of Georgia is “misleading.” The graph in question was shared by the state's Department of Public Health and, at first glance, seems to show the number of cases declining. However, when analyzing the graph further, she points out that the dates on the x-axis are not in order. This caused the highest values to show up on the left. After she uploaded her video, dozens of people called the department out. Georgia officials subsequently apologized and corrected the graph.
"Math, whether you like it or not, is used to manipulate people because lots of people can be led one way or another by seeing numbers," Santos stated. "It is really important that when you see graphs, it is something that you have to analyze critically." Santos is currently a mathematical finance major at the University of Waterloo in Canada. As a Flilipino child, math and academics in general were a priority in her household. She fondly remembers her father teaching her math when she was younger. This is part of why she wanted to pursue the subject at university.
Santos claimed that the stereotype that all Asians are good at math did not really play out in her life. In fact, as a drag queen who loves math, she is able to display that the Asian community is not a monolith. She said, "I do want to show people that you can be smart and successful and be whoever you want to be. You can wear green hair and long nails and black lipstick and have those same accolades." Although her family did not accept her at first, they have since come around and support her fiercely. They even watched her when she competed on Canada’s Drag Race, ultimately placing 11th on the show. For now, she plans to continue sharing her story and love for math online. Santos shared, "People will be like, ‘You inspired me to continue pursuing math. I want to get a math degree. You make me want to enjoy math.' If I can show people that math is a lot more fun than they learn in school, then that is a good thing."