‘Drag is art’: WKU HRL hosts annual drag show


Emilee Arnold

Drag queen and WKU student Ruby Twain delivers a performance at the 2023 WKU Housing and Residence Life Drag Show on Thursday, April 6, 2023.

Olivia Estep, News reporter

WKU Housing and Residence Life held their 8th annual drag show on Thursday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at the Knicely Conference Center.

The show included performances by Lexi Von Simmons, Cheryl Nobyl, Geneva LaDiva, Rebecca Lively, Veronika Electronika, Ruby Twain, Queen Venus Knight and Goregina George.

Two WKU students made their first debut in drag at the show. Rebecca Lively and Ruby Twain both gave very memorable first-time performances and won over the crowd with ease.

Goregina George, who is one of the show directors for the prima donnas, described the energy of the crowd. 

“They [the audience] are here for the art and the expression of it all, and as long as you care they are here to show you that they support it,” George said.

Several of the queens used this opportunity to speak about students using their voices to vote.

“I am all for you getting in drag and trying to get a spot on ‘Drag Race’ or your local amateur night, and that’s wonderful,” Electronika said. “But when you are ready to put on a show, put your name on a ballot.” 

Electronika also gave a moving performance at the end of the show in which she came out in handcuffs to represent how we must break free of the stereotype and realize that drag is an expressive art form.

Knight, who has won 2 national titles and is soon competing for an international title, returned to her alma mater to tell the crowd to support their queens. Her performances also included some sign language to the songs, something Knight does to increase inclusivity at drag shows.

Drag queen Queen Venus Knight delivers a performance in American Sign Language at the 2023 WKU Housing and Residence Life Drag Show on Thursday, April 6, 2023. (Emilee Arnold)

She is also the co-founder of BG Fuzion and is now starting a new business with her partner called “Vibrant Nobility.” It is going to be a jewelry franchise and they will be “selling rhinestones.”

Von Simmons used her platform as the MC to give some history of drag telling the audience why exactly she chose to wear lavender. In history, different colored hankies were a way to signal preferences, and lavender means drag queen.

“In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a drag queen,” Von Simmons said. “I’m not a stripper, I’m not a pedophile. I am not grooming kids. I am doing nothing of the sort. Drag is art.”

Star VanOver, a WKU student, attended this event and it was her first drag experience. 

“I was raised really religious, so I had a lot of misconceptions about drag shows,” VanOver said. “[…] This is a bunch of people doing positive things and making each other happy and having a good time in a safe place with safe people. It was amazing. I’m so glad I did this.”

Chad Lawhorn, who is part of WKU HRL, described this event as an introduction to drag shows that a lot of students have never seen. 

“For us, we want to make a culture of acceptance, and we want our students to learn from these types of events and have a good time and let free,” Lawhorn said. “All of these things combined to have something entertaining and of value.” 

News reporter Olivia Estep can be reached at [email protected].