Kings and queens alike strutted their stuff at the GSA’s 11th Annual Oakland University Drag Show. The show consisted of student performers as well as professionals.
This was the first show that included student performers, according to Gay-Straight Alliance President Rebecca Reichenbach.
Drag king student performers Jack Dawson and Devin Barrios (Brianna Morgan and Morgan Shaw-Andrade), both freshmen at OU, performed first in the group King II Men. They expressed their excitement and nervousness they had before the show.
“It’s exciting, but I’m really nervous,” Dawson said. “A lot of my friends are here.”
Barrios noted that this is the biggest show he’s done and how happy he was to have the chance to participate in the event.
“It’s a great way to get involved with the community,” Barrios said.
The show was hosted by drag queen Hershae’ Chocolatae’ (Hershaun Gardner). She has won titles such as Miss Michigan Drag Queen of the Year, 2010 and 2011 Miss Michigan Continental, and was also featured on America’s Got Talent in 2011. This was Chocolatae’s third time performing in the annual drag show and second time hosting.
Chocolatae’ said the student energy makes performing at colleges so much fun.
“They’re a group of people who literally, have fun,” Chocolatae said.
She said it was nice to see an almost equal gay and straight audience at the show.
Drag queen Sabin (Tyler Cooper) echoed Chocolatae’s happiness about the diversity of the audience.
“The fact that they (straight audience members) were willing to walk through the front door is the biggest compliment,” Sabin said.
Sabin said these shows are both entertaining and educational for the student audiences.
“It’s more than just giving them a show. It’s about education,” she said. “The curiosity takes over.”
The excitement the audience feels is exactly what Sabin feels when she performs, she said.
“It’s my drug, this is my high,” Sabin said. “I feel more love in one night than in a lifetime.”
Senior and first time drag queen performer Palamecia Mizrahi (Darnell Gray-Shawver) described her experience as “a Cinderella drag story.”
Mizrahi said she was blown away by the show and was so thankful for all the love and support from her friends and family.
Mizrahi (or Gray-Shawver) works as the Special Events Director of Student Program Board and is on the Executive board of the TKE fraternity. She said she was happy to see so many of her frat brothers who came to support her.
She said it was four years ago that she told her mom that she wanted to do drag shows. When she learned that this year they were going to include student performers she said, “I just have to be in this show.
Mizrahi said the key to doing well at a show is not to stress and not to care about what people think.
She said she is also happy to see how much more acceptance there is for those in the gay community today.
“I came out six years ago and things have drastically changed since then,” Mizrahi said.