By: Manfred Joa
It never takes long for new students to learn about the enormous drag culture that exists at SUNY Purchase. Chase Andrzejewski, a junior Studio Composition major and Reid Kirtley, a junior Playwriting & Screenwriting major, look like the typical artsy students you find among the Purchase community; it’s pretty self-explanatory by their majors alone. However, on dragtastical nights like Fall Ball and Zombie Prom, you can find them completely transformed into Naomi Applebottom and Lindsay Blowhan.
Now, what exactly is drag? Let’s ask the drag queens!
Chase says that many people see drag as a way to combine art with blurring the gender spectrum, but that it’s even simpler than that. Chase describes drag as anything that is hyper-expression. For example, it can even be “that chick who wore 6-inch heels to class.” There is no real concrete definition of drag because drag is whatever you want it to be for you. “It is limitless and undefinable; when you attempt to define drag, you are placing limits on it.” Reid identifies as non-binary. He describes drag as being a part of his identity, and a creative process that helps him understand that identity; it gives his life purpose. “It’s a way to connect to femininity and non-binary realms of expression and fashion.”
Chase and Reid started doing drag at the same time, around a year and a half ago. When asking Chase about Naomi’s personality, Reid interrupted saying “Naomi’s a bitch.” Chase describes Naomi as the fire inside himself that he does not get to express due to social constructs; Naomi is a badass, heavily inspired by strong female characters such as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, played by Angelina Jolie. She is a “performance queen,” in contrast to Lindsay, who is a “looks queen.” Reid describes Lindsay as the product of his liking of “dark stuff” in combination with a club/rave aesthetic. It’s also quite obvious to tell where the inspiration came from for his drag name, Lindsay Blowhan. Reid likes to tell stories with his drag and usually makes a political act out of it. Lindsay makes commentary on the things we believe are sinful and bad and attempts to “reclaim” those things. For example, slut shaming. Lindsay shows that it’s okay to “be cute and wear whatever the fuck you want.” Chase says “Lindsay wants you to leave her performance thinking about what you’re going to do to better yourself. She will have you staying up at night thinking about your personal issues.”
Fall Ball is a drag competition among Purchase students and is one of the most, if not the most, magical of nights on the Purchase College campus. This year, this grandiose event occurs on the 19th of November starting at 8pm in the Stood. Traditionally, there are two winners crowned at the end of the night: king and queen. However, this year, a new category has been added, called “quing,” which is specifically for those whose drag is gender non-conforming or androgynous. Along with the excitement of a third winner, there will also be two guest judges from RuPaul’s Drag Race! Chase and Reid were able to provide mini sneak peeks of their performances. As last year’s winner, Naomi is considered Fall Ball royalty and will be hosting the show. Her performance will include props, while Lindsay’s performance is very fitting of the theme Dungeons & Dragons.
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