Student talks experience performing drag

Corryn Brock, News Editor

At the Student Drag Show Wednesday, a well-known performer took the stage.

Lady Deviant, more commonly known as junior music performance major Jovan Williams, drove the crowd wild with her performance, which is not uncommon for the drag queen.

Lady Deviant has taken the stage outside of Eastern in places like Chicago, Iowa and Bloomington over the years, but she got her start at the EIU PRIDE Student Drag Show.

“A friend of mine my freshman year was on EIU PRIDE (executive board) and as the student drag shows are a yearly thing, and so I came and watched them and absolutely fell in love with the whole drag thing,” Lady Deviant said. “I decided to do it that following semester, and it’s been my thing ever since.”

Lady Deviant said she has noticed improvements in her performance skills as time has gone on.

“I’m the kind of person that after I do something, I have to top myself and make it bigger and make it better,” Lady Deviant said. 

Lady Deviant said the best part of performing is the reaction from the crowd.

“My favorite part of drag is definitely the entertaining of the crowd because for me personally whenever the crowd is hype, I’m hype,” Lady Deviant said. “We have this joke in EIU PRIDE that I’m always the last one to submit my application for the Student Drag Show, and the reason behind that is I’m always looking for the song that is going to get the crowd the most hype so that they can have a wonderful experience so that I can have a wonderful experience.”

Before the crowd can start cheering, Lady Deviant said she hypes herself up.

“Right before, I always look at myself in the mirror and say ‘You know your words, don’t mess up and go out there and have fun,’ and usually when I’m performing I kind of black out because I’m just so into having fun and afterwards I always ask people ‘How was it? How did I do?’” Lady Deviant said. “It’s a crazy process to say the least.”

After shows when the makeup has been wiped away and the costumes have been changed out of and Lady Deviant transforms back into Jovan Williams, people still recognize the performer.

“Honestly, it feels really good. I’ve had people come up to me after the show when I’m de-dragged and walking around campus and people do recognize me. It honestly feels great, I feel like I’m a little star,” Lady Deviant said.

Lady Deviant said performing drag is liberating.

“Drag to me means freedom of expression. You can express yourself in so many ways that are not how you would express yourself daily,” Lady Deviant said. “If you see me on campus, you would not expect me to do a song like that and move like that, so it’s really just freedom of expression.”

Her thoughts were similar toward EIU PRIDE, which she is president of out of drag.

“Before I was president (of EIU PRIDE) I instantly knew I could be myself there without any judgment and now as president I make sure to also extend that,” Lady Deviant said. “That’s really our mantra: You’re accepted no matter what. Everyone is loved, and there’s always love going around in that room.”

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].