RockOUT hosted its annual Drag Show Wednesday night in the Smith Student Center Ballroom where a Slippery Rock student, among other queens from all different areas, performed original routines and answered audience questions.
London Shannel, who is better known on campus as senior hospitality management major Brandon Gilchrist, performed second during the show.
Shannel began performing in drag shows four years ago after a trip to Las Vegas where she attended her first show and said she fell in love.
For this show, Shannel auditioned different dancers for three weeks until she found the four dancers she thought would be best for her routine. She also performed a duet number with a drag king, having made their dance an hour before the show began.
Shannel said sometimes she practices for weeks in advance and sometimes she wakes up, picks a dance she knows, and wears whatever is currently in her closet.
The queen said when she was in high school, her friends called her ‘Coco Latte’ and said she should go into drag because she would be a perfect queen.
While watching television in Las Vegas one day, the word London came across the screen and she wanted to go to London. She then went shopping and bought a Chanel bag and thought that the name London Shannel was perfect and classy, Shannel said.
“London is such a pretty city and Chanel is such a high end brand and I want to be a pretty high end brand,” Shannel said.
A turn in the show occurred when the queen experienced her first ever wardrobe malfunction. She said she is used to quick changes backstage, but she has never had people help her change before and they never practiced before the rehearsal.
Shannel’s leotard got snagged over her head which took up time and the team was unable to snap the leotard on between her legs.
“I was just like screw it, we’re just going to go with it,” Shannel said.
The queen continued her routine despite this and allowed the crowd’s cheers to keep her going.
Shannel said her favorite part about performing is the fans, the crowd, and the screams when everyone goes crazy.
A cousin manages the queen and has helped her ever since she started. He lives in Las Vegas which makes for a distance barrier, however whenever the queen gets ready for a show, she calls him and he talks her through it, Shannel said.
“I’m a nut case when it comes to drag because I’m a perfectionist, but I’m only 4 years old in the drag world so I’m down for growth, I’m down for answers, and I’m down for help,” Shannel.
Shannel performed alongside four other drag queens including Sasha Nolan, Natasha Star, Lola Lecroix, and the host of the show for the past two years, Angelique Young.
The queens did a question and answer session during the show when they weren’t doing twirls, flips, and other tricks.
Junior psychology major and president of RockOUT, Morgan Scott, said he organized the show last year as a part of the executive board, and this years was again a huge success with the ballroom filled at a maximum capacity of 800 people.
Scott said it brings awareness to people during pride week especially during the questions and answers where students can ask anything they want to the queens.
“Some people ask educational questions, some people just ask questions out there, but people look forward to it and we get a full house every time.”
The show is traditional each year in October during pride week. Scott said he contacted the performers back in June and they were all excited and wanted to be attend.
“They’re professionals so they know what they’re doing,” Scott said.
The show ended with the audience being able to take pictures with the drag queens.
“I hope people take from this that people are different and it’s okay to be different and it’s okay to be who you are,” Shannel said.