Slippery Rock University’s LGBTQIA organization, RockOUT hosted their annual drag show with returning queens and an SRU student drag queen on Wednesday night in the Robert M. Smith Student Center Ballroom.
Senior journalism major and vice president of RockOut Haley Barnes said the event was incredibly successful this year. She said the crowd was a larger crowd than RockOUT has ever had in the past.
“It got to the point where we had to stop letting students in because the occupancy of the ballroom is 800 and we definitely had more than 800,” she said.
Students were lined along the walls of the ballroom waiting for the queens to come out. Barnes said students were asked to keep the entrances to the ballroom clear due to a fire safety precautions.
Barnes said RockOUT does the drag show because Pride Week is such a serious event and the week needs some kind of entertainment peak that will bring in a lot of students, while also educating them.
The difference between identifying as transgender and being a drag queen, Barnes said, is that a person who is a drag queen dresses up as a different gender for entertainment purposes and a person who identifies as transgender really feels as though they identify as a different gender, so they often go through different hormone therapies and surgeries to make themselves feel the way they should.
Sophomore hospitality major Brandon Gilchrist, better known in the drag world as London Shanel said she got her start in drag two years ago in the summer in Las Vegas.
She said drag is something she has always done, but she just didn’t know the proper terminology for it.
“When I was younger, I would put my teddy bears on my bed and I would sing all my favorite songs to them by Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé, TLC and I would always put my shirt on my head because I didn’t know what wigs were at that time,” Shanel said. “So I would put my shirt on my head and I would twirl and sing. I didn’t know what it [drag] was until RuPaul’s Drag Race. Until that show came on I was like, ‘I kind of do that, just not that well.’”
Shanel said when she first started doing drag, it would take her four hours to get ready, but now, she said she knows what she’s doing do it only takes her two and a half hours at maximum.
“When I first started, it would take me about four hours and that’s because I had no clue what I was doing,” Shanel said. “I didn’t know anything about make-up, I didn’t know anything about tucking, I didn’t know anything about that. So I was slowly just going with what I would see on TV on YouTube videos. Now that I’m getting better at it and I know what I’m doing, I kind of know my make-up well, it takes me about an hour, two hours, two and a half hours tops.”
Shanel said she is not transgender, but just purely a drag queen.
“Being a drag queen is me,” Shanel said. “I’m a drag queen, I dress up like a woman for pure entertainment of others.”
Shanel said her favorite part of doing drag is hearing the crowd go wild and crazy. She said although some drag queens do drag mainly for the money and publicity, she goes it purely for the crowd.
“Hearing a crowd go wild and seeing them enjoy the show literally gets me high,” Shanel said. “It makes me so happy. I make money off of it sometimes, but I don’t do it for the money. I do it solely for the crowd.”
Shanel said her biggest confidence tips for students is to be cocky. She said she listens to cocky songs like “Flawless” by Beyoncé and “Feeling Myself” by Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé.
Some of the other queens that participated in the show were Angelique Young, Annasteezia, Lola LeCroix, Sasha Nolan and Natasha Starr.
Young, who was the emcee of the night, said she has been doing drag for nine years, which will be ten years on Dec. 6.
She said she is known in Florida as “Orlando’s Drag Superstar” and is the current reigning Miss City Side, a drag pageant, in Florida.
Annasteezia is currently Miss. Pittsburgh Pride and is originally from Pittsburgh. She said she’s been doing drag for a few years now.
Annasteezia said her friends inspired to do drag. She also said watching what could happen while she’s on stage, with the crowd going wild, inspired her to do drag. Bringing music to life and actually making it mean something to the audience is also Annasteezia’s favorite thing about doing drag.
When it comes to finding confidence, Annasteezia said she doesn’t worry about what others think of her and she advised the audience to do the same.
“Walk fabulously through life and do what you need to do and forget the haters,” she said.
Starr has been doing drag for four years and this is her second year being at SRU.
Starr said she loves to dance in heels and everything she’s learned about dancing, she’s learned from YouTube.
Outside of doing drag, Starr said she works as a server and bartender at Mojo’s Pub-n-Grill in Austintown, Ohio.
Starr said her favorite thing about doing drag is feeling like a celebrity for a couple hours, especially after being a server all day.
LeCroix resides in Pittsburgh and she went to Penn State for her undergraduate degree. LeCroix is a regional manager for a cosmetics company and she was also the television show, “Dance Moms.” She also said she’s auditioned for “RuPaul’s Drag Race” three times.
LeCroix said it doesn’t take her long to get dressed for a show.
“I can paint a face in 45, 30 to tuck and 30 to get dressed and out the door I go,” she said.
Nolan said she is the pageant girl of the group. Nolan said her most defining moment as being a drag queen was when she ran for Miss. Continental USA, which Nolan said is like the Indy 500 for drag queens. Nolan placed in the top 12 in her first year at the pageant. By day, Nolan said she’s a nursing student.
Nolan said her favorite song to perform to is Crazy in Love by Beyoncé.
President of RockOUT, Haley Crompton said the drag show will definitely be back again next year and Crompton, on behalf of RockOUT, asked Young to be the emcee again next year.