Friday, May 24

Campus drag show highlights student performers, drag culture icons

Roxxxy Andrews performed for about 350 people Thursday night, dancing to songs like "Greedy" by Ariana Grande. (Wesley Hardin/Daily Bruin)

Roxxxy Andrews performed for about 350 people Thursday night, dancing to songs like "Greedy" by Ariana Grande. (Wesley Hardin/Daily Bruin)

Drag queen Roxxxy Andrews walked sensually across the Northwest Campus Auditorium stage, wearing a black leotard, short skirt and stilettos, flirting with the audience with every step. As she approached the aisles, students stood up and roared with cheers as they illuminated her with glow sticks and camera flash lights.

Roxxxy Andrews’ three performances Thursday night hyped the crowd, but she was not the only one who stood out.

The event “Take a Drag” featured several students and alumni in drag, lip-syncing to hits like “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran and “Womanizer” by Britney Spears. Among the crowd’s favorites were drag queens Cinnamon Sativa and Sustina Sake, who showed no reserve in their dance moves, doing backflips and giving audience members lap dances.

Students began organizing the event in fall 2016, said Kevin Medina, a program coordinator for the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center. The event was sponsored by several campus organizations, including the LGBT Center, UCLA Residential Life, Lambda Theta Nu and MEChA.

Performers auditioned for a recruitment committee and five were selected to perform in the mock competition, said Jack Lam, a member of the event’s promotion committee and a third-year communication studies student.

“Playing with gender in general and performing in another gender or nongender can be confusing and hard to navigate,” Lam said. “The more drag shows the better, honestly.”

Students had the opportunity to get tested for HIV before the event to receive a VIP pass and meet Roxxxy Andrews, who was in the top five final contestants of the second season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.”

The performances mimicked RuPaul’s drag race competition, in which drag queens take the stage to lip-sync in full faces of makeup, extravagant outfits and stiletto heels.

Brayan Astorga, the executive director of the show and a third-year gender studies student said he hoped the event was an incentive for students to get tested and learn about HIV and AIDS. Astorga also performed in the show as Princess Life.

Astorga said being conscious of sexual health is important to help stop HIV and other sexual diseases from spreading. He added he wanted to incorporate HIV testing in the show to reduce the stigma around HIV and AIDS.

Lam said he was happy to see spaces for people to explore drag culture. He added he is also glad that drag culture is becoming more mainstream.

The show began with a performance from Princess Life to energize and prepare the crowd for the performances. Emcees Malaysia PersuAsia and Sue Pina introduced the show with sassy banter and gave their commentary after each performance.

Rawk Hawke, one of the first performers who was dressed in a sweater and jeans, warmed up the crowd. The performer shocked the audience, stripping to reveal duct-taped undergarments and exposed buttocks.

Another performer, Sustina Sake, sauntered on stage wrapped in lights and danced along the floor, then performed a second time to a Britney Spears medley in black underwear, a black bra and a long blond wig. The cheers grew deafening when Sustina Sake did a backflip.

The auditorium also filled with cheers when Roxxxy Andrews first stepped on stage. She pulled a student from the audience onto the stage during her first performance and surprised him with a kiss. Roxxxy Andrews also spoke to the audience and asked about everyone’s sexual orientation. She emphasized the event’s purpose was to have a good time, and that a person’s sexual orientation does not matter.

“We don’t care who you sleep with,” she said. “We’re just here to watch some drag, bitch.”

Organizers concluded the event by awarding each of the contestants with glittering crowns.

Students said they were glad to have the chance to see a drag show on campus.

Patricia Bautista, a third-year communication studies student, said this was the first time she had ever been to a drag show and that she is interested in learning more about drag culture.

“I feel proud to be a Bruin more than ever,” Bautista said.

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