On Feb. 28, the Intercultural and Inclusion Student Services, PRIDE, and Women’s and Gender Studies hosted CCU’s first ever Drag Show. The Lib Jackson Student Union Theater was packed to a large crowd of students, faculty, and local people in the community that came to see this spectacular show that took the audience breath away.
Drag Shows have been known to be a very big cultural staple of entertainment within the LGBTQ+ community, which attracts a lot of diverse crowds. The show featured three amazing performers from Mahoganay Halsten Soule, Carrie J. Summers, and Alana Reign who are all from Ohio.
During their hour-long performance, they would lip-sync and dance to songs while in show stopper dresses and makeup. During the show each lady would come out separately and perform solo to different acts and dance routines and they changed multiple times into gorgeous elaborate costumes.
One of biggest positive impacts with this performance was that it helped bring a lot of diversity on campus together and it really did give a lot of student’s different perspectives of how they view the Drag community and the LGBTQ+ community as well. The show did also help promote HIV testing and the seriousness of the disease and they helped reminded the audience to always use protection and always get tested. At the end, they provided free HIV testing which is great because every should always get tested because one may never know if they are positive or not.
PRIDE President Clyde Storey, a sophomore studying Marine Science at CCU, did not think this event was going to be as big as it turned out to be.
“It was originally going to be on the lower scale,” said Storey. “However, our advisor Franklin Ellis said why don’t we go big instead and we should bring professional drag queens because it is a time of first.”
The show amazing, taking several people in the audience by surprise. Every minute of the show the audience was cheering and clapping so loud during the performance full of so much excitement. The show was originally supposed to be back in the Fall, but it got pushed back because of the hurricane. The place was so packed with people that it might even take place next year in the Wheelwright Auditorium.
One of the most challenging parts of doing drag is the actual expense of their costumes and makeup. They mostly make back what they invest in their costumes and makeup is the tips that they earn during their performances and shows. There is a lot of time that goes into the hair and makeup, and they also will sometimes make their own hairs and costumes. They also help each other out and help make their costumes and wigs as well and they even trade and share.
Every time they performed, they will different audiences which is where they will trade and share their stuff to help each other out. They can even turn their old stuff into almost something new. The clothes and jewelry they use are also sometimes recycled material as well because it helps save money for them since it can be very expensive having to constantly get different dresses and hairs.
In its early days, drag was tabooer than it is today. However, thanks to popular shows like “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, drag has become more and more popular.
Soule talked about how she had come from and how they became drag queens. There were times where they would go to open mic nights and they would go back behind the stage and they would be mentored by the drag queens they saw that performed. They would work their way in with some girls and they would help dress and help do their hair and makeup. Which is a big learning experience for them because this helped them learn more about doing drag and it showed how much time and effort it takes to get better at doing drag step by step.
Even Reign told me that they all came from drag families and they had drag mothers, sisters and brothers. Reigns’ Drag Mother was April Reign, who holds nine awards in pageants she competed in. Alana said that April taught her everything she needed to know, and now Alana has been doing drag for the last 18 years.
Reign brought up a time of how a fellow drag queen helped her out when Reign was caught in a tough situation.
“There was one time I she had me cover a show and she would do my makeup on one side, and she made me finish and copy the other side because that was the best way for me to learn,” said Reign.
Reign has also been to University of Cincinnati where they do a Gender Bender Ball and it helps promote about the health issues and helps get them involved in communities. Reign also reminded us that it is also very important to help raise the awareness of HIV and how important it is to get tested. She even helped raise over $98,000 for a big HIV charity organization.
Carrie J. Summers, one of the three queens that performed at CCU, talked about the importance of getting tested.
“It does not matter if you are gay, straight, or bisexual,” said Summers. “Anyone can get the disease and getting tested it just has to be done.”
Soule also helped send a very strong message to the world about what it means to be yourself and always be equal.
It is such a great learning experience for these women and how much time and effort it took them to become these amazing queens that will be entertaining so many crowds of people from generation to generation to come.
“That it is important for us to all be included and that this is why we do drag because we all want to find a place to belong,” said Soule. “We can always get support from our friends and we can be courageous and walk in our own path and we walk in our own truth.”