On June 23rd 2017, Sasha Velour was crowned as the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season nine. A few months short of the two-year anniversary, Velour has gone on to show that her eclectic form of art, her “Velourian” style of drag, refuses to be fit into a one-size-fits-all box.
From being associated with high-end fashion to the producer of Nightgowns, a monthly drag show in Brooklyn, Velour has shown that winning a mainstream reality television show doesn’t ever have to compromise on integrity.
Appearing on the cover of the February 2019 issue of Gay Times, Velour has once again shown us why she won her season of Drag Race. Intelligent, beautiful, kooky, avant-garde, and undeniably queer.
“I believe that you can’t even really understand drag through the lens of a single performer,” Velour says in an interview with the gay publication. “Drag is defined only by radical and ever-expanding possibility…by the diversity of genders, bodies, and imaginations displayed on a single stage, and by the audience’s ability to appreciate it all at once.”
Velour adds that trying to even define what drag means, to herself and to the world, is all but impossible, saying: “Throughout history, drag has been everything— good, bad, male, female, utopian, problematic, queer, straight, cis, trans, and so on— any attempt to define it narrowly runs aground of the facts. An expansive and evolving understanding is really the only option.
Right now, people are still most comfortable with familiar articulations of gender and beauty, even when it comes to drag. I hope a queerer audience would value excitement and variety even more, and put even less stock in “realness.”
Her interview stems far past talking about queer identity, art, and the bustling drag world. Speaking about who exactly Sasha Velour is, the performer says: “In a sense, her entire purpose in my life is to remain indefinable… an ongoing and evolving project, a reminder that reinvention is always possible.
“The biggest misconception about Sasha Velour is that you can get a good sense of who she is from watching Drag Race. Even though I had so much fun finding solutions to the challenges thrown our way on television, you really don’t get to see “Sasha Velour-style” drag without coming to see Nightgowns, or even just watching me perform my own numbers.”
“Throughout history, drag has been everything— good, bad, male, female, utopian, problematic, queer, straight, cis, trans, and so on— any attempt to define it narrowly runs aground of the facts. An expansive and evolving understanding is really the only option.”
In 2019, Velour will introduce audiences to her newest project, her ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ one-woman show. The 75-minute theatre tour premiered this month in Australia and New Zealand, including dates in Sydney and Auckland, and is expected to expand across the globe in the near-future.
“Smoke & Mirrors is my first fully “Velourian” theatre take-over,” she says. “I guess I’d describe it as a 75-minute magic show with amazing non-binary fashions, gag-worthy stunts, and some deep personal insights sneaking in around the edges.
“I plan to bring this show to every country in the world if I can. I’m really keen on producing more shows myself. No one knows how to put on a show quite like a drag queen, darling!”