Los Angeles — The USC Queer and Ally Student Assembly (QuASA) recently hosted its 13th annual drag show.
Known as a safe space for LGBTQ+ students on the University of Southern California campus, QuASA is a student-led program that hosts weekly meetings at 8 p.m. These meetings provide a space for queer students at USC to come together and create/organize “events designed to highlight the culture and community,” according to the LGBTQ+ student center.
The events give students another way to freely express themselves, redo past experiences or even gain new ones. The drag show is one of these events and proves to be a fan favorite amongst USC students with venue tickets continuously being sold out and a lengthy waitlist at every show.
YR Media sat down with Director Hannah Gardiner and Assistant Director Saneel Sharm to talk about the process and their thoughts on the show. This year’s theme was the “Universe of Drag'' and included drag queens and kings of many backgrounds who put on extravagant performances. Hannah (aka Daisy Darling) and Ray (aka Ra Oblivion) also showed up and showed out for this amazing show.
According to Saneel, the purpose behind this year’s theme was to “encapsulate all forms of drag as well as incorporate all types of people doing drag,” which was definitely accomplished.
For example, Sharma’s character, Miss Ra Oblivion, was created about five years ago and is considered an extension of Sharma’s own personality: “The presentation that I show on stage is another way I’m able to express my artistic background. It doesn’t feel like a character.” Gardiner’s character, Miss Daisy Darling, is “all about high-femme style. Lots of pink. Lots of princess-y looks,” she said. She is also a part of the small percentage of AFAB (assigned female at birth) drag performers, so she tries her best to represent that part of the drag community.
In addition, there were performers who brought some important topics to the stage such as Scarlet Divinity, a Mexican transgender student, who entered the stage bearing a white cloth that read “NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL” in bold red letters. There was also Salma Body, a student who was raised Catholic, but used her parodic performance to Trisha Paytas’s song “I Love You Jesus” to highlight the trauma that religion can inflict.
All of these performances showcased the variety of individuals within the drag community and USC QuASA provided them with the platform to share their creativity and message to the student body.
There were many other USC student performers including Mari Concha, Tyra Durdxn, Count Whorlok, Vincent van Vogue, Ella Mayo, Amelia Anthrax, Miranda Mirando, Willconique, Ms. Dacity, Slim Slaydy. All of these you can find on the USC QuASA Instagram page. They showed how coming together as a community can produce something unforgettable.
There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears put into organizing this event, according to the directors.
“There’s a lot of steps, so it’s very time-consuming. But, it’s overall exciting to see the progress and get closer to the final production of the show. The most stressful part is having to deal with the logistics,” stated Sharma. On the other hand, Gardiner said, “The most challenging part was not being able to accept everyone at the auditions.”
Despite this challenging and overwhelming process, there are already plans in the works for next year's drag show Though they couldn’t say much, Sharma mentioned that there will be more lights, more visuals, and an overall bigger and better show! For now, other Spring 2023 QuASA events to look out for are the Second Chance Prom and Pride Fest.