AU PRIDE Halloween Drag Show 2019

PRIDE’s annual drag show took place in the tavern last night on Oct. 30, the night before Halloween. Two of the six performers have been interviewed. 

In order from left to right: My Chemical Romance, Bruno Cock, Dallas Star, Justin Timberlands, Paige Turner and Rita Dictionary

Sydney Kuntz

Stage name: Dallas Star

Pronouns: She/her/hers, Year: Senior, Major: Journalism and International studies, From: New York, Title: PRIDE Social Media Coordinator

What was the process like preparing for this event?

“Being a senior, I did not prepare much I was very busy. So, the majority of my routine I came up with last night. And then I spend all day on campus trying to find a room. Yeah, so this was actually my first ever solo drag performance, I’ve done it in like a like a boy band type thing before so I was in a group of five people last year. And that was a lot different. And I’ve done like drag makeup plenty. I started doing that like my sophomore year, but it was my first time on stage doing a solo performance. Being a senior, I did not prepare much. I was very busy. So, the majority of my routine I came up with last night. And then I spent all day on campus trying to find rooms to rehearse. At one point I locked myself in a single stall bathroom and just like did it [rehearsed] like five times. 

Song: Say Amen by Panic at the Disco

How can students get more involved in drag?

“So, in DC, I think there’s a lot of really good resources for drag kings especially. So people dragging in the direction of wanting to be more masculine, Pretty Boi Drag is the local organization. They’re very cool. They have a lot of events throughout the year and I think it’s great to go to those, and to sort of like watching how their performers do things because they have so many different types of performers. They do lots of different types of music. And I think they’re very friendly. They actually helped us out a little bit with a workshop for our rehearsal, which is really nice. They’ve been doing that for a couple years now and it’s been great for us, because it gives us a chance to do like a dress rehearsal with people who know what they’re doing. They’re really great and also I would recommend, when you’re learning your song, just listening to it a billion times just like on repeat all day the week before your show. Watch music videos of it. It will just be ingrained in you and then you just gotta let loose.”

What inspired your drag persona?

“My drag character is Dallas Starr and he’s partially based off Brendon Urie and partially based off NHL player Tyler Seguin. Both of them are guys who get a lot of attention for their looks. Urie’s gone from emo to very old-school suave with showy details, like leather pants or golden blazers. Seguin balances that out a little bit by just being a trashy party boy, so it’s a fun combination.”

Valentina Porto

Stage name: Bruno Cock

Pronouns: she/her/hers, Year: Junior, Major: Economics, From: Brazil

What was the process like preparing for this event?

“I would say I’ve been involved with PRIDE for like, one and a half years. Yeah. So, yes, it’s like my second semester freshman year I think. If I recall correctly. No, just kidding, since my first semester sophomore year. Yeah. Okay, so a year, I’d say.”

What is PRIDE?

“It’s [PRIDE] a great organization that brings students together on campus with events and gives us an opportunity to express ourselves. I feel like it’s a safe space within a safe space.”

Tell me a little more about yourself.

“I came to the United States when I was 16, so I finished high school here. I actually went to like a very conservative Catholic school in Brazil. And then when I came here I went to, like a regular school that was actually pretty liberal and you know like we had GSA [Gay Straight Alliance] that was very prominent in the school and that’s when, sort of like, when I came to terms with me being gay and with being part of this community, doing things with and for the community. So, I mean, I haven’t had a lot of experiences as a queer person in Brazil because when I moved out of Brazil, I wasn’t queer yet if that makes sense.”

What do you have to say for anyone interested in joining PRIDE?

“I have noticed a lot of people feel a little intimidated to come to PRIDE events because they feel as though we are sort of like cliquey, if that makes sense. There is a queer community at AU that is much larger than the people that show up to events. To those who feel this, just come and just be yourself. We’re a pretty welcoming, you know, like group I would say. I was welcomed with open arms. I don’t see why another person wouldn’t be. As far as doing drag, experiment with others, being more active and creating community. I think it’s just like just trying, you know like, a ‘what do you have to lose’ kind of thing. I love doing drag. It was kind of like a ‘I should do it, why the hell not’ kind of thing.

What inspired your drag persona?

“He was born out of me just, like, doing lip sync of Justin Bieber songs in my room, just because I liked it and because I really like feeling this vibe of a generic pop teen star. So that’s kind of what he is, you know like, if you get like Justin Bieber,  all the guys from One Direction and then Austin Mahone. Like all of those dudes that kind of look and act the same and then you mash them together… that’s Bruno Cock. He’s kind of sexy but in a funny way. He doesn’t take himself seriously at all. Like for the performance, I did “Let’s Have Intercourse.” It’s supposed to be a song that marks sexy songs. It’s like, supposed to be a funny thing. And he was born out of my desire to make my own rules, and just to have this one thing that is mine. That is what I have wanted to be. And also, playing with gender and stuff like that. If someone is thinking about doing drag, just, I would say them just.. do it! It’s an amazing experience.”

An Interview with Henri Brink

PRIDE Executive Director

Pronouns: She/her/hers, Year: Junior, Major: Literature, Title: PRIDE Executive Director

How long have you been involved with PRIDE for?

“I have been involved with pride since my freshman year, I was, I went to events and I sort of really participated in the pride culture my freshman year. And then last year I was the parabens coordinator for pride. And then of course this year I am the Executive Director.”

What does pride culture mean to you?

“To me, it [pride culture] just sort of means building a community. I think the most important part of any campus organization is to build community for the students it represents. Yeah, I mean, that to me is what pride culture stands for. I think that we are, at least we’re primarily set up to be, a social organization. I think that by fostering that social interaction between students, they can go out and then sort of advocate for themselves or that we can advocate for them with the administration. That’s what, as a community, I want to foster within PRIDE and within the greater general body.”

What are your future goals for PRIDE?

“The goal for the event is to come out and enjoy themselves as much as possible. So, I think in terms of that goal, I think this event was really successful. I think the performers had fun. I think the people who attended had fun, and I think just overall it ran pretty smoothly. That’s sort of the goal for pride as well. We two big events every year. We have a drag show in the fall and then pride prom in the spring. In both cases, they’re sort of large scale events that we throw for either student body of American University, or in the case of pride prom, for the greater DC community.”

How can people learn more about how to get involved?

“We do a lot of word of mouth organization for getting us to go out and like a bit like invite people to the events, getting people to talk to their friends and drag them along. What we found in the past, that’s really helpful to find a couple students that are super involved in crime that can drag your friends along, which I think both helps them build their friendships and helps us build a general body that wants to be engaged with our events in the future. I think on top of that, we also you know really use Facebook and Instagram to promote our events. to a broad scale, and then we use our private groups in order to serve it to people who wouldn’t necessarily want to like the page and have that on their history on Facebook. So we’re it’s sort of a balancing act between student safety, as well as you know getting our event out to as many people as we can.

What would you say for any students interested in joining?

“I would say just put yourself out there and attend the event. I mean, it’s really easy to get involved with PRIDE. I always recommend going to our community events as well our affinity groups. We have four affinity groups within PRIDE. We have coordinators for all those positions that plan events for those affinity groups specifically, like for example… we have a Progressive Men affinity event coming up on Nov. 14. So if you don’t want to go to one of these big events like the drag show, that’s a really great place to stick your feet in. And that’s just a really good way to sort of get involved on the ground level. We sort of build up from community coordinators to larger events. So I always recommend going to those smaller events. We try to hold one at least once a month for each affinity group.”

Any last comments?

“Yes, for e-board! Join [e-board] if you have been enjoying our events this semester or have ideas for how we can do better. I always want to foster an environment where you can share things that you think we could do better with and things that we should be focused on. I really try to foster a community that is an open conversation. So, if there’s anything that people want to focus on, we can put them in contact with administrators. Next semester we’re going to have treasury, social media, community coordinator, and more e-board positions available.”

Rumi Zai

Rumi Zai

I am a senior at American University and the current editor-in-chief. I study journalism and international relations. Starting Visible in 2019, in hopes of creating a safe space for queer & trans creators to come together, has been a dream come true. I continue striving to build this platform for my community. When I am not working on Visible, I am usually either with family/friends or writing/creating something! Feel free to email me with any questions:

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