Student performers lip-synched and danced in drag for a packed crowd at the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Friday night.
Nine students, both new and old to drag, performed in the event.
New performer Karen from Finances performed for the first time Friday and said they decided to perform because other members of EIU PRIDE encouraged them to try it.
“I think that it’s a way for me to express myself,” Karen from Finances said. “I know that since I am a STEM major, I won’t be able to do something like this, so why not?”
Karen from Finances said their favorite thing about drag was the stunts and response from the audience, but the hardest part was doing the eye makeup.
Another first-time performer, Mama Hen, said she decided to perform because she likes attention.
“I just like when people look at me,” Mama Hen said. “I was like, ‘an opportunity where people have to look at me? Hell yeah.’”
Mama Hen is a cisgender female who performs as a woman and said drag to her means dressing up how she wants to be.
“Everyone says that drag is someone dressing up as the opposite gender and that’s not it for me,” Mama Hen said. “It’s dressing as what makes you female gorgeous and that’s exactly what drag is to me.”
Mama Hen said her favorite part of performing is the audience’s reaction.
“It’s (making) people happy and making people laugh and clap,” Mama Hen said. “It’s just the energy that people give; that’s my favorite part.”
Two popular performers, Lady Deviant and Mother Natwhore, also graced the stage during the Student Drag Show; this was Mother Natwhore’s last time.
Mother Natwhore has performed in the second drag show hosted by EIU PRIDE and has continued to do so in every show since, she said.
The drag show, she said, is a place where she and others can express themselves in a fun way.
“It’s freedom to express, it’s a platform to show what I want and do what I want and feel free and good about it,” Mother Natwhore said.
At the end of the show, Mother Natwhore (performed by Hunter Levingston), who is also the president of EIU PRIDE, was presented with flowers for his last show, as he will be graduating in May.
“I feel very sad but good about the direction (PRIDE) is going in and whose hands it is now in for the future,” Mother Natwhore said. “I know that they’re going to do wonderful things and I am going to come back to watch the shows and be involved to whatever extent that I can.”
Lady Deviant, who is also the vice president of EIU PRIDE, has been performing in drag for a year with Mother Natwhore and said saying goodbye was difficult to her and Levingston.
“Hunter was one of the first people I met when I came to Eastern a year ago and since then him and I have really been close friends, and with him being president and me being vice president it’s really brought our friendship closer,” Lady Deviant said.
Lady Deviant decided to do drag as a way to be a different person for a period of time, she said.
“Anyone can do it and anyone can do any song, any dance, and they can interpret in any way they want,” Lady Deviant said. “That’s really unique because everyone has their own expression and their own take on each performance.”
Lady Deviant said her favorite part of performing is the crowd.
“If the crowd is hype, then I’m hype and I’m ready to do better,” Lady Deviant said. “I really like pleasing the crowd and making sure they have a good show.”
Lady Deviant said her goal when performing is making sure the audience is having a good time.
“That makes me feel good and makes me have a good time,” Lady Deviant said. “I just love doing it for the audience.”
Lady Deviant said she also encourages students to come and participate in PRIDE events this month during EIU’s LGBTQ Pride Month.
“Be sure to stay tuned on PRIDE events; PRIDE is really fun,” Lady Deviant said.
The proceeds for the Student Drag Show went toward EIU PRIDE and the Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Services (SACIS), who will be hosting events around campus through the end of April for National Sexual Assault awareness month.
Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]