Drag queens take over Kent State

Brandon Koziol

Equipped with plenty of glitter and hairspray, drag queens had students roaring and throwing dollar bills Thursday at the Kent State Student Center ballroom.

“If you like what you see, you can pull out some dollar bills for the girls because we’d like to get some Wendy’s after the show,” the announcer said.

Students lined up almost four hours before the Kent Interhall Council’s annual drag show started at 7 p.m.

Sophomore sociology major Alexandra Leadbetter was first in line at 3:45 with her girlfriend Brittany Beech, a senior anthropology major.

“It’s really nice that Kent puts something that’s kind of walking the line a little bit,” Leadbetter said.

The show, co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Student Government, featured four drag queens.

Dancing and lip-synching to songs and artists ranging from Taylor Swift to Beyoncé, drag queens Jessica Love, Danyel Vasquez, Erica Martinez and Brionna Brooks took to the stage and audience.

Students cheered and stood on top of chairs to watch as each queen stomped around in their heels, performing two numbers. Complimenting the up-beat music, Queen Danyel Vasquez lip-synced vulgarities about oral sex and more.

“Girls make sure the boys wrap it up,” the announcer said. “We don’t want no children until y’all graduate.”

Strutting down the aisles, the queens kept the audience part of the show as they grabbed students for a dance.

At intermission, the queens took back stage to call up students for a “twerk contest,” jokingly competing for a $7.50 gift card to Dollar General.

Along with the message of fun, there was another message to take away from all the lip-syncing, dancing and “twerk contest,” said Kyle Hovest, vice president of programming and development for Kent Interhall Council.

“I hope people gain that talking about sex doesn’t have to be such an awkward topic,” Hovest said. “The drag queens — they have no problem talking about sex; they get the audience engaged about talking about different sexual practices, sexual behaviors.”

Hovest said a lot of people don’t have access to drag shows like the one KIC put on.

Coming from a small town, KIC’s president Christine Fransico said she never experienced drag; it was foreign to her.

Through the KIC annual drag show, Fransico said she’s experienced six drag shows.

“Students that come here with an open mind hopefully will gain a better understanding of the (LGBTQ) community and drag show as an art — and banish those negative stereotypes that have been associated with drag queens in the past,” she said.

Fransico wasn’t the first to experience drag through KIC’s event. When the queens asked who was here for their first drag show, more than half of the audience threw up their hands.

“I think it’s really beneficial for people to experience everything and see these different styles of life that they might not have been exposed to back home,” Leadbetter said.

Contact Brandon Koziol at [email protected].