Lady D Andrews, Laveau Contraire and London Manchester slayed the LSU Drag Exhibition put on for the LGBTQ Activism and Social Movements honors class.
Andrews performed a beautiful mash up of “Never Enough” and “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”, while Contraire performed an incredible medley of “Crazy” by multiple artists like CeeLo Green and Manchester gave us a finale to die for with a mash up of Ariana Grande’s “God Is A Woman” and “Greedy.”
After their performances, the queens participated in a Q&A that was extra credit for the class, with the public being able to ask questions as well. During the Q&A, all three queens added fantastic input on topics like beginning drag, drag culture and stigma as well as what drag means to them.
With all of the queens sharing that they’re inspired by their mothers, they encourage others who may be interested in starting drag to find who inspire them and then create a style of their own.
Contraire, who studied music at LSU, shared that some of her other inspirations include queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” like Shea Couleé, Monét X Change as well as pop sensation Beyoncé. Current LSU student Manchester also showed love to beloved drag race queens like Aquaria and Bianca Del Rio.
Contraire also shared how she believed that one huge way to eliminate stigma around drag queens is to make them more visible. Andrews added to the conversation by expressing how local queens should be more mainstream.
Manchester as well as the other two queens stressed the importance of going out and supporting local queens similarly to how people support their favorite queens on drag race.
After winning the Splash’s annual drag search, Manchester’s career began to catapult.
“For me personally, it’s just like so awesome to know I go to a university that will support this and then it also is kind of just one of those milestones for me where every single time I can look back and say wow I’ve grown so much from the last time that I performed at LSU,” Manchester said.
Manchester, who got to perform for her own honors class at the exhibition, shared how through the art of drag she’s had freedom from the box she put herself into in her regular life and has been able to explore as someone who is unapologetic and has no rules.
“It’s equally as inspiring as it is nerve-wracking, you know, because this person that I put on is not at all who I am at all in class,” Manchester said.
In fact, when their teacher announced in class that Manchester was performing, one student became very excited. She became even more excited when she realized the performer who she praises at Splash is one of her very own classmates.
With the discussion of Splash and the local scenes, the queen once again emphasized how much the local support positively impacts the drag queens that perform. She also encouraged the audience to be open and accepting.
“I think that drag is supposed to be about having fun and being able to escape from this real life that we’ve constructed and all of these norms and craziness, so that’s the same mentality you should bring in to come and see a local show,” Manchester said.
Drag showcased on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was built on the groundwork laid by local scenes, and everyone had to start somewhere, so no one knows who the next “it girl” will be or where she will be from.
Most queens have a least thought of auditioning for the hit show, and with Manchester’s career reaching new heights, she may very well be the next RuPaul girl … soon.
“I’m so blessed to be in the situation that I’m in and I feel like if I keep going with that by the next year’s auditions, I’ll have built a closet of stuff I’d feel comfortable putting in an audition video, and I just didn’t feel that way this year,” Manchester said. “So, maybe on the horizon but not quite yet.”
For now, Manchester will continue to build her brand. The queen has already created merchandise and is gaining more followers on her Instagram account.
“I think that there will definitely be a view more pageants or competitions in my future, but right now honestly it’s just building and continuing to figure out who I am as a drag queen and getting newer cooler looks and just gagging the kids,” Manchester said.