the Gay Straight Alliance and Multicultural Student Center have teamed up to put on this year’s Drag Show held in the Russell Union Ballroom starting at 7 p.m.
Once a year, queens like Tiffany DuBois make the trip from Club One in Savannah to shake things up at Georgia Southern University. With the glitz and glamour they’re known for, the performers will entertain patrons with music and dancing. After the performances, audience members will get the chance to have a Question & Answer session with the queens.
“[It started] mostly as awareness,” Levi Reid, secretary of GSA, said. “Just getting out there and finding people who do drag for fun or for empowerment, or entertainment. Just for recognition.”
One of the performers, Marlon Smith (aka Tiffany DuBois), is a GSU alum where drag fell into his lap. After being cast as the black Barbie doll in one production, Smith says his stage persona Tiffany came to life. Smith has continued to wow audiences for the past 22 years, citing Diana Ross and Janet Jackson as inspirations.
This year the show will be sporting an amateur portion. Both the MSC and GSA are excited about the amateur portion where students, and others, can participate in the drag show. While this year there will only be one amateur performance, the MSC and GSA are hopeful that more students will be willing to participate in the future.
“Mixing amateurs with professionals could add a great dynamic to the show,” Smith said. For aspiring drag queens and kings, Smith has a piece of advice. “You decide on the type of entertainer you want to be, and stick with it. Don’t let anyone derail your progress with their criticism and negative thoughts.”
Though the show is packed with music and entertainment, there is still a message of awareness and education. The drag show comes on the heels of the annual Walk a Mile event, where men don a pair of heels and walk a mile in order to raise awareness for gender relations and sexual violence.
According to Talia Myrick, who serves as the MSC’s graduate assistant for diversity programming, the drag show couldn’t have been better placed.
“We liked it because it’s in conjunction with Walk a Mile,” Myrick said. “[The events are] about awareness and inclusion.”
During the Q&A portion of the night, audience members can ask the queens questions about performances, themselves, or drag in general.
“That’s always for the people who don’t know what drag is and have a lot of questions,” Reid said. “After the show, [the audience] can ask them like, ‘What is drag? Do they live their lives in drag? How does it fit into their everyday life?’”
Smith already has the answers for these questions. Though some do choose to live in drag, many choose not to.
“It is simply theatre,” Smith said. “What you see on stage is generally not who we are. We are the same as anyone else. We have the same loves and desires as anyone else. We are actors; sit back, relax and enjoy.”