Decked out in a bright pink wig, a sparkly one-shouldered dress and heels borrowed from a friend, biochemistry freshman Alex Contreras prepared to lip sync Donna Summer’s “Boogie Oogie” in front of a crowd of 300 people.
Contreras said it was his first time doing anything like that, and it was a first for UT, too.
“I was so nervous,” Contreras said. “It was like a blur when I got on stage. I couldn’t even remember what I just did and was shaking when I got off.”
Contreras and 12 other students performed in a lip sync drag show called Todrick Hall’s Drag Race, organized by Campus Events + Entertainment. The first of its kind hosted by the University, the event was held Wednesday at the Student Activity Center ballroom.
Zoe Meneghetti, an event coordinator within Campus E+E, said the organization wanted to have a drag show for many years. The Creative Arts + Theatre and Distinguished Speaker departments finally joined together to make it happen.
“People have been really excited for the event,” Meneghetti, Plan II freshman, said. “This is one of the first times in a while that (Creative Arts + Theatre) and (Distinguished Speaker departments) have joined forces, and we both have two very different audiences that we are able to reach to.”
Todrick Hall is a judge for the competition reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” a singer, a director and a well-known YouTuber.
Following the student drag show, Hall performed and spoke about his own journey to success.
“When I was on ‘American Idol,’ I was so concerned with people finding out who I really was,” Hall said. “It wasn’t until I started doing (drag) that I realized it was OK to be different.”
Hall also shared tips on how to deal with criticism online.
“I have become very humble from being online,” Hall said. “People will tell you things (online), and if enough people say it you have to be like, ‘OK that’s probably a note I should apply to my life.’
American studies senior James Rowland said drag can be performed by all genders and identities.
“I think its really important seeing how drag is very non-monolithic, it’s extremely diverse,” Rowland said. “There are drag queens, women who dress in drag, men who dress in drag. It’s very important to see different representations of drag, especially now that drag has become more mainstream.”