We speak to the designer and Drag Race alumni on why such events are more important now than ever
It might seem like an obvious statement but fashion is 100 per cent obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race. We already know this because the New York Times told us so in an article last year, as well as a group of fashion’s elite sharing their fave moments on AnOther. Not to mention guest appearances on the show from the likes of Marc Jacobs, Jeremy Scott and models Gigi Hadid, Joan Smalls and Chanel Iman.
In the past couple of years, the show has only continued to grow with host RuPaul Charles picking up his first Emmy in 2016, and then another three this year – although the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program award still evades his clutches (2018 maybe?). Now in addition to the show – that over weekend announced its third All Stars season as a prelude for its tenth season – Charles also holds the world’s largest drag convention that has taken over LA twice and branched out to New York last month.
For its NYC debut, the event pulled out all the stops with appearances from the likes of Mother Ru as well as Drag Race alumni like Detox, former Dazed cover star Pearl and current reigning queen Sasha Velour – not to mention the 35,000 fans. “I’ve said before ‘if all the world’s a stage, then identity is nothing more than a costume,’” Jacobs told us about why he loves drag culture. “It’s what makes drag so fun and what draws me to these wonderful queens.”
Among his faves are queens like Milk, who worked in the designer’s New York store before appearing on the show and is set to return for the upcoming season of All Stars. To her, the importance of DragCon is to cater to the growing younger drag audience. “RuPaul’s Drag Race has opened minds and doors to what a young queer, creative kid’s true potential can be. Kids now aspire to be like their favorite drag queens. DragCon is a magical opportunity for those kids, families, and adults to be surrounded by people who have the same passions and dreams.” If you don’t believe her, you obviously haven’t been paying attention to Lactatia, who started drag at the ripe old age of seven.
For fellow alumni Miss Fame, drag is more important than ever considering the current political state of America right now. “It’s a form of activism to transform ourselves as we see fit, and not as the world projects their titles upon us,” she explained. “For any queer youth, drag, gender fluid, trans, gender neutral, and many other forms of identification, (it) allows us to express our authentic selves. Giving us the courage to stand strong as we face limited ideas that come from limited minded people.”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race has opened minds and doors to what a young queer, creative kid’s true potential can be. Kids now aspire to be like their favorite drag queens” – Milk
While the interest in RuPaul’s Drag Race and drag culture, in general, continues to grow, Miss Fame is keen to keep pushing the message of love and acceptance. “We have so many forms of self-expression and this is just one multidimensional way to let our voices be heard through a visual projection. Also, we must show up for our communities and this is a great way to show solidarity within our world.”
How better to show solidarity and beauty in this diverse community than through events like DragCon? Diversity being something that is more than evident in photographer Hugo Scott’s images from the event – both young and old alike dressed in fierce looks that will give you all the life you need.
As DragCon continues to spread across America, Milk is keen to see it come to England – with one specific location in mind. “Buckingham Palace,” she jokes. “I think the Queen Mother would gag for our drag royal jewels!” If she manages to join the Drag Race Hall of Fame, who knows what royal decrees she might pass during her reign.