Magic was in the air on Friday night in the Anderson Center’s Watters Theater for the 15th Annual Rainbow Pride Union (RPU) drag show. This year’s theme was “Naughty Fairy Tales,” and the show featured both students and professional performers.
Each performance included an individual dance routine and lip-syncing to a song. Audience members cast ballots to vote for their favorite of the three local professional performers: Jacqueline Frost, Glimmer DuVaux and Justin Saine. Two additional performers, Twinker Bell and Jasmine Kennedie, were not judged as part of the competition portion of the event.
Sherry Goldstein, the president of RPU and a senior double-majoring in psychology and nursing, shared that the vibe of the event is what makes it so unique.
“I just like the energy,” Goldstein said. “It’s happy, free and fun. My favorite part is getting to see the set and music and performance all come together.”
The theme of naughty fairy tales inspired a set that featured a castle decorated with a rainbow flag, a dragon fighting a knight in shining pink armor and Rapunzel stuck in her tower. The silhouette of two women kissing could be seen in the window of the castle.
The set was entirely designed and crafted by members of the RPU E-Board, but not without setbacks caused by last week’s blizzard.
“There were two whole days we couldn’t work,” said Kelsie Robinson, the interim RPU special projects manager and a sophomore majoring in biology. “On Thursday, it was all-hands-on-deck until the last [Off Campus College Transport] buses were leaving.”
It wasn’t just the set crew affected by the storm. Jennifer Castle, a local professional performer who goes by the stage name Justin Saine, said she had to improvise her Maleficent costume with scraps from home when the snow prevented her from buying other pieces.
“I was so nervous when I was snowed in,” Justin Saine said. “This costume is made from a shower curtain, [window] curtains, couch parts and a shower rod.”
Despite the setbacks, the show went on, and both the e-board and audience members said they were happy with the results.
“I’m really satisfied with how the show turned out,” Robinson said. “I’m very pleased.”
Mindi Ocasio, an audience member who also performed in last year’s show and a senior majoring in cinema, commended both the performers and the set design.
“I know how awkward it can be to be up there,” Ocasio said. “But I think they all did really good. And I love the theme and the set.”
In addition to drag performances, there were also comedy routines performed by members of Bing Stand Up. The night ended with the three professional drag artists giving one last joint performance before audience members voted for their favorite.
Justin Saine, who closed the show with a performance to a song mashup that included Rihanna’s “S&M,” was crowned the winner. Saine, who has been performing for 11 years, said performing drag is a childhood dream.
“My favorite thing about drag shows is being whatever character I want to be, and the challenge of gender illusion just adds a little spice to it,” Saine said. “When I was a kid, for some reason I always wanted to be a guy character because I thought they were the coolest things ever. So it’s like my way of reliving my childhood fantasy.”