UNC Drag Returns After COVID-19 Hiatus With Big Attitudes and Big Wigs

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UNC alumna and drag performer Zimmorah shows off to a gathered crowd October 20. Photo by Annabel Attridge.

University of Northern Colorado students were excited to celebrate the return to in-person events with Spectrum’s 11th annual drag show on Oct. 20. The yearly event took a break last year due to pandemic restrictions, but returned with masks and other safety measures to great applause.

Spectrum, UNC’s student organization for LGBTQ+ students, hosts the drag show as a fundraiser for their annual Queer Prom in the spring. This year’s drag show raised $541 for resources and decorations.

The show featured both professional and student performers, and included complex drag routines, personal stories and Q&A sessions. Questions ranged from how to correct people when they use the wrong pronouns to how to promote a GoFundMe page for transition-related expenses.

Denver drag queens Jessica L’Whor and Khrys’taaal returned to host the show, sharing advice and discussing what they did during the pandemic. Khrys’taaal opened up about a particularly difficult year, including the loss of multiple family members to COVID-19 and a torn Achilles tendon. After a long recovery process, Khrys’taaal has returned triumphant to drag, and will begin a professional wrestling career under the name Remy D.

Alumni queens Zimmorah and Soña Rita returned to the stage at UNC after making their starts at Spectrum’s drag show. Both are regular performers at Greeley Does Drag events at Patrick’s Irish Pub, and their podcast “What The Drag?” has garnered attention from new fans. 

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Zimmorah offered advice to drag performers just beginning their careers.

“Get out there! There’s drag beyond the UNC show,” she said.

This year was the first performance since the beginning of the pandemic, and it offered another first: the first time the show was livestreamed to Facebook. Attendees were asked to turn their phones off to save bandwidth for the video, as some attendees wanted to experience drag without potential exposure to large crowds.

After the show, attendees were able to take photos with performers and purchase merchandise to support each queen. Both the livestream and the photo booth were sponsored by UNC’s Residence Hall Association.

Routines from performers ranged from practiced dance routines to complex performances with costume changes and audience interactions. Some drag duos coordinated their costumes and lip syncing to great effect, while others incorporated toppling furniture and dead drops into their numbers.

Northern Colorado’s drag community is expanding, and shows like the ones offered at UNC give performers the opportunity to get their names out there and perform for a crowd.

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