The drag culture in New Mexico may be rather small, but the close-knit community got their chance to shine this weekend.
On Nov. 11, the Queer Student Alliance held their 9th annual drag show in the University of New Mexico Student Union Building: “Drag in the USA.” The show aimed to celebrate talent within the community and for contestants to compete for the title of Miss USA.
This event was hosted by Sabryna Williams, who is an assistant manager at the Albuquerque Social Club, New Mexico’s longest running LGBT bar. The show was sponsored by Self Serve, Boba Tea, Rude Boy Cookies and the LGBTQ Resource Center.
Williams emceed the event, introducing the different personalities, interacting with the audience and invoking laughter with a sense of humor that could only be described as vivacious. Williams even took the stage at one point, performing a dance routine.
The show included performers widely known in the LGBTQ community, alongside three drag queen up-and-comers. Some of the performers included Kalorie Karbdashian Williams, Lola La Verve Roxxx and Frida Roxxx, Kiki Stratton and William Eriks, who was recently crowned Mr. Gay New Mexico 2017.
The contestants competing for the title of Miss USA included Nadia DeLeon, Willow Kerrigan LeBeaux and Milani Roman.
The event was judged by: Division for Equity & Inclusion Diversity Programs Director Lorena Blanco-Silva, Frankie Flores of QSA, UNM student and Gender-neutral and Allies resident advisor Deandre Durham, Jessica Holland from the Women’s Resource Center and Executive Director of Equality New Mexico Adrian N. Carver.
“(The judges are) allies within our community and people that continue to work to make sure that our community remains inclusive and amazing,” Williams said.
The evening included many high-energy performers who danced and lip-synched to songs by popular artists like Shakira and Beyoncé. During many of the performances, audience members approached the stage to tip the performers.
While the event benefitted some by giving them exposure and inducting them into the drag community, it was also a bonding experience for the performers. Many performers accompanied each other in various acts.
Lola La Verve Roxxx and Frida Roxxx mentioned the bond that they formed while performing.
“I am happy to say that Frida is my sister,” Lola La Verve Roxxx said. “I’m now a part of the Roxxx family.”
The finale of the show included a performance from Sativa Rico-Stratton, which featured Kiki Stratton, among other performers from earlier in the evening.
After the finale, DeLeon was crowned as Miss USA. The runner-up was Roman, and second runner-up was LeBeaux.
“This brings awareness to the community when people come to watch the show,” Roman said. “Whether they are drag queens, transgender, lesbians, etc., they are (supported).”
After the show ended, those who purchased a VIP ticket gathered at Effex Nightclub to continue celebrating.
The next major event in the LGBTQ community is the New Mexico Pride Pageant, held at the African American Performing Arts Center on Nov. 17 and 18.
Rebecca Brusseau is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers the LGBTQ community. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @r_brusseau.