Shea Couleé, Alyssa Edwards, A&O Bring the Reality of ‘Drag Race’ to Campus
Dressed in glitter and pure talent, drag queen superstars Shea Couleé and Alyssa Edwards came out to kill Wednesday night as A&O Productions fall speakers.
Former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants performed as dancers and panelists in front of an audience of around 300 at Lutkin Hall. They also judged the performances of three drag artists based in the Northwest.
Season nine contestant and season five winner of “All Stars” Coulèe took first place on stage in a neon green leopard-print unitard. Chicago-based artist captivated the room with sensual and dynamic movements, blowing the students away with an expressive floor routine on Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More”.
She was followed by the contestant for season five and season two of “All Stars”. Alyssa Edwards, who lost a silver and red cape to dance the aisles in black waders. With blonde hair teased skyward, the larger-than-life Texas native ended with a stunning drop to death.
After performing, Edwards invited the students on stage to joke, twerk, and “walking chick.”
“When Alyssa Edwards says ‘take the stage’ you take the stage,” said Finn Rollings, sophomore communication student.
The queens then judged the short routines of the student drag artists, as well as a three-way lip-sync in the style of “Drag Race”.
In her distinctive ‘bloody and meaty’ art style, Filet Mignon – sometimes known as communications manager Gus Moody – dismembered and fondled a plastic ex-lover while lip-syncing with ‘Potential Breakup Song’. ‘Aly & AJ.
Karma ‘ZaBitch, who occasionally guest stars as Medill junior Jude Cramer, has given up on death and has a monologue in a thrifty and laid back reality on Doja Cat’s “Boss Bitch”.
Finally, Even Steven – the drag king featured in the series and the alter ego of junior Communication Xanthe Brown – transformed from Clark Kent into a hand-stitched grunge-punk Superman while shredding the aerial guitar on “Juke.” Box Hero ”from Foreigner.
“Dragging is all about 100% trust,” Steven said, when Edwards asked him what makes a stellar drag artist. “It’s about chasing the things that make you feel good on the inside. “
After the routines, the three student queens received live commentary and answered questions from Edwards and Coulée.
For ‘ZaBitch, the feedback sessions were a highlight.
“I would love to pursue this as an artist in the future, so getting validation from people I really appreciate was ‘the boss’s kiss’,” she said.
Couleé and Edwards ended a night of standing ovations with a question-and-answer session, where they spoke about the behind-the-scenes drama of “Drag Race” and explore their identities at college. They also discussed the support and trust they have found since entering the drag world, both from their communities and from themselves.
Growing up, Coulée often didn’t feel accepted at the Southern Baptist Church where her mother preached, she said – until she returned on Mother’s Day after her season aired. .
“People (were) excited, like, ‘I watched you on’ Drag Race ‘and loved you,'” said Coulèe. “The church family embraced me as a queer artist.”
Coulée and Edwards both said they were thrilled that drag had started to reach young viewers and creatives alike, especially as the art form has become more mainstream in recent decades.
For Edwards, “Drag Race” created a more tolerant and festive media narrative.
“If you were a drag queen you were suddenly cool, you were celebrated, you weren’t someone who was mistaken for your gender identity,” she said. “Visibility is important. “
Co-Director of Marketing and Media A&O Ronit Kitei said the evening was a first for A&O, as their Fall Speaker series typically takes a question-and-answer format. This event was A&O’s first drag show.
Turning Lutkin Hall into a locker room posed some interesting challenges, Kitei said, but she was thrilled that Couleé and Edwards could put on an intimate performance in a smaller space.
The elder Weinberg was also excited that A&O could bring queer performers to campus, allowing many college students to see their first drag show.
“I think it’s really important for the student body to be able to see artists come to campus who represent them,” Kitei said. “Having that kind of connection with the queerness and the performers, even if you’re not a drag queen yourself, is really exciting. “
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