There's a hell of a lot of drag pageants. A lot! Both on television screens and off. Of course there's RuPaul's Drag Race and everything under that growing umbrella, plus the Boulet Brothers' Dragula series, but there's more; Miss Gay USofA, Miss Continental, Miss Black Universe, Miss Black America, and Entertainer of the Year. The field is truly fully. But last year, Alaska Thunderfuck, winner of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars season 2, launched her own.
The Drag Queen of the Year Pageant Competition Award Contest Competition (that's the official name but we simply call it Drag Queen of the Year around here,) put on its first contest in 2019 at the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood, California. It boasted a sold-out event, eight competitors, and a stacked panel of judges that included Peppermint, Sharon Needles, Willam, and Landon Cider while raising over $6,000 for LA’s LGBT Center. Abhora, a former Dragula contestant, ended up taking home the top prize, and now Alaska is bringing the event back — but with reinforcements.
This year, the famously inclusive contest is being put on by Alaska and Lola LeCroix, a Pittsburgh-based performer. There's a nominal increase in prize money (instead of the $10,000 that Abhora got through PayPal, this year's winner will receive $10,001), but the event promises the same "open to all" impetus.
Here, Alaska herself tells Out what to expect — an official statement includes mention of performances by last year's competitors and "exclusive celebrity guest judges". The contest will take place on Sunday May 3, 2020, at The Montalban Theatre in Hollywood, California. The event will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are available now.
Alaska on Drag Queen of the Year 2020:
Basically I love drag. The reason I was so drawn to the world of drag in the first place was because it was so free of restrictions. I could wear anything I wanted (or nothing at all) and present as whatever gender I was feeling at the moment. I could make music if I wanted to. I could use swear words in that music. I could get dirty. I could make a mess. I could make mistakes.
Last year we basically started this pageant as an experiment. We wanted to know what would happen if we got rid of the restrictions? What if we removed the strict rules and requirements and barriers to entry that usually go along with drag competitions ? We wanted to see what would happen if we put on a show that was open to everyone — where drag queens, AFAB queens, a trans icon, and a Dragula monster could all compete equally alongside one another.
The result turned out even better than we ever could have anticipated.
First of all, every single competitor brought their absolute best and the level of talent and drag excellence was jaw-droppingly amazing. But it was also really liberating to see that we could have all these different types of performers in one competition and the fabric of society as we know it would not come undone. It wasn’t confusing or mind boggling or unfair. We respected the audience enough to show them a representation of how diverse the world of drag really is, and always has been. And the show was something I’m really proud of.
This year we plan to continue this experiment and keep pushing the boundaries. We’ve had so many incredible applications from all around the world, and the anonymous panel of Drag Elders will have their work cut out for them choosing who will be competing for the $10,001 prize. Seeing what Abhora has done with her reign as Drag Queen of the Year has been really inspiring and makes me excited to invite more performers into this family.
For information on becoming a contestant, email [email protected]