The Cal State Fullerton Housing Piazza was filled with dazzling lights and upbeat music Tuesday as six of Orange County’s drag queens took to the runway for CSUF’s annual Drag Show.
The show began with a high-energy performance from first-time queen Flora Fauntay. Fauntay was greeted with thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd, many of whom were standing due to high turnout for the event.
Being her first time performing in drag, Fauntay said she was extremely nervous the week leading up to the show but was delighted to be on stage with the crowd in front of her.
“It felt like an out-of-body experience,” Fauntay said. “When I got on the stage, it was so real. It was awesome.”
Housing and Residential Engagement hosted the show in a collaboration with OC Radar, a nonprofit offering free HIV screenings, and the LGBTQ Resource Center on campus . OC Radar offered free condoms and discussed safe sex education at a table in the back of the piazza. Next to OC Radar was a table for the LGBTQ Resource Center with information about the resources it offers.
Event coordinator Sal Ramirez said that the queens performed on their own for free, without contracts.
Backed by CSUF alumna and emcee for the show Alessandra Divine, Fauntay found herself in welcoming company for her first appearance in drag and is looking forward to performing again.
“I think Flora might have a future,” Fauntay said. “I really don’t know what she’s going to become or who she is, but I’m excited.”
After a few technical difficulties, Divine made a grand entrance, donning a bright red corset with a whip in hand. Her provocative performance didn’t actually get to the stage until she had already made her way through the crowd interacting with audience members.
Immediately following her performance, Divine invited audience members who wanted to get “whipped” to approach the stage. One student who goes by “Ally Woop” took Divine up on her offer and made her way to the stage.
Before the show continued, Divine made sure the audience abided by two rules: If you see something you like, give a girl a dollar, and maintain high energy throughout the show. The audience took these rules to heart as dollar bills were passed on to the queens during every single performance.
After her performances, Xotica Erotica said her favorite part about performing in drag was interacting with the crowd.
“Working with people every night is really rewarding to me,” Erotica said. “Just to see people smile when I lift up their day … That’s why I love what I do.”
Erotica also helped calm Fauntay’s nerves before the show.
“I did get to talk with Xotica, and she just made me feel so much more welcome,” Fauntay said.
Bellonce Aguilera echoed the other queens’ love for the crowd. She said her favorite part of performing in drag was sharing the experience with the audience.
“The best thing about performing is the audience reaction,” Aguilera said. “The way that they react feeds me to get more energy and put extra spice and sassiness into my performance.”
After a few performances, Divine invited five audience members to participate in their version of “Lip Sync for Your Life.” Audience members Ronald, Esteban, Venus, Victoria and Daniel each pulled a random top-40 song from the 90s or 2000s and competed for two tickets to RuPaul’s DragCon. Venus, dressed in full drag, stole the show with her death drop to secure the two tickets to DragCon.
On top of the crowd interaction, queen Nikki Licious described the drag community as supportive and welcoming despite what most people see on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“(One misconception that people have about drag) is that everyone is a b*tch,” Licious said. “For those of us who aren’t on (‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’), yet, we’re not like that.”
Despite the shade thrown by Divine between performances throughout the show, the crowd and queens all laughed as playful insults were tossed back and forth.
As the show came to a close, the energy didn’t let up. All six queens took the stage for one final performance, showcasing a display of fierce showmanship. After the show ended, the queens stuck around to take photos with their new fans and share encouraging words.
“It’s sometimes scary to go for what you’re feeling in the society that we live in,” Fauntay said. “You should just be for it … Embrace (yourself) because you’re going to feel better when you do.”