Meet the TikTok Drag Queen Making Math Fabulous

Kyne discusses queer representation in STEM and how she is making math fun and interesting for everyone.

Drag Queen Doing Math
Photo: Justin Atkins

For many of us parents, the pandemic forced us to face our children's relationships with math by addressing our own. From collective Google searching of "what in the hell is common core" to seeking out ways to make math fun, we have had to ask, "Is math just a drag?"

Now, it really is. Meet Kyne, the world-class drag queen math communicator. Kyne (the creation of Kyne Santos) began her drag career while studying Mathematics at the University of Waterloo, completing her major in Mathematical Finance, all while appearing on the wildly popular Canada's Drag Race. The idea to finally bridge her two loves of math and drag came to her when the global pandemic swept us all into many hours stuck in our homes.

Kyne has since exploded on TikTok and across all platforms with her videos that make math fun, relevant, and incredibly creative. Dressed in top-notch glamour with bright and eye-catching wigs, Kyne covers real-world applications of math while sharing math riddles for viewers to solve alongside her.

"The way I present it on TikTok is, number one, that math is interesting. That math is fun. And that math has these real-life applications and all this historical context. I'm sort of filling in these little gaps that you sort of didn't get in school that make you think, okay, maybe math really is interesting," Kyne says.

Kyne had no idea the impact her work would have. With millions of viewers and over 1 million subscribers, Kyne is taking representation in math to a fabulous new level. She receives messages from people she has inspired to sign up for math programs at their community colleges, to teachers who share her videos to their primary school students, to gay mathematicians thanking her for allowing them to see themselves represented.

For Kyne, representation matters. "Representation in STEM is very important to me because I want young queer kids to see that you can be whatever you want to be. You can be a scientist or mathematician. If we can see ourselves represented we can see that there is no one way to be a mathematician."

Kyne is helping kids, especially queer kids, to see an open door in the STEM fields.

Kyne Holding Ruler
Justin Atkins

"There are so many stereotypes, not only that math people are super straight, but also that gay people are somehow bad at math," says Kyne. Greater queer visibility in STEM is not only working to break down these stereotypes but to actually dismantle barriers of access in the math and sciences.

Beyond Kyne creating a new level of queer visibility in STEM, Kyne is a gifted instructor with a unique teaching style. For those of us who dreaded math that was delivered with dry and unengaging formulas, equations, and forced memorizations, Kyne is the literal proof of how logical thinking can actually be fun and interesting. She says, "That's the whole message to what I do—math is fun. And math is for everyone!"

Kyne is excited to see her impact on what kids are taking with them into adulthood. She sees a great necessity in supporting children as they develop and build their skills of reasoning and logic. Kyne says, "Not only logical thinking, but, also, statistics are a huge aspect of math that is so relevant to our real world, because we're always seeing statistics in the news. Not many of us know what it means for unemployment to be up by 5 percent or for taxes or mortgages to rise by 1 percent."

She reminds us that while many of us don't understand math, it's incredibly relevant in our world right now. We're glad she's making it easier for us to figure it all out.

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