I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: I. LOVE. RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE.
In April, I was lucky enough to attend my first-ever RuPaul’s DragCon, where I experienced the magic of drag in person and got to meet one of my favorite queens, Trixie Mattel.
It was also my first real convention experience, so it was overwhelming in all its beauty and excitement and taught Bill and I a lot about what to expect for DragCon NYC.
We splurged on the VIP option and honey, ohhh honey, it was worth it.
But I’m getting ahead of myself because we kicked off the weekend with another drag-related event: the Hater’s Roast!
Haters Roast took place at the Beacon Theater on Friday Night. The event featured queens as they shaded, insulted, and joked about one another. (Think Comedy Central roast.) The event featured Jinkx Monsoon, Trixie Mattel, Thorgy Thor, Kim Chi, Phi Phi O’Hara, Darienne Lake, and Ginger Minj as host. Latrice Royale, who was supposed to be there, was unfortunately stuck, but safe, in Florida due to Hurricane Irma (but she Facetimed in during the show to say hello!).
We’d been to one other Murray & Peter show before, War on the Catwalk, and we loved it. Haters Roast was amazing, too! We loved seeing the queens say horrible things about one another. The RuPaul’s Drag Race episodes that feature roasts, as well as the show’s Reading is Fundamental challenge, are some of my favorites, so this was an event made for me.
I was expecting solid performances from most of these queens, and they all delivered—but Thorgy Thor stole the show! It was her first time performing in this type of format with the other queens and she was going on 40 hours of being awake, but she killed it. I could not stop laughing at her very clever jokes.
Other fun things about the show:
- It was great hearing Trixie’s scream-laugh in person.
- Latrice Royale missed the show but was able to FaceTime in, which I loved.
- Several queens who were going to attend DragCon were at the show in the audience, including Ivy Winters, Jiggly Caliente (who was invited up on stage to sit in Latrice’s empty seat), Mrs. Kasha Davis, and Naomi Smalls.
- I stood RIGHT NEXT TO Naomi Smalls in the lobby, but I drank too much and got too scared to go up and say hello so tripped my way back to my seat.
It was the perfect way to kick off the weekend.
DragCon NYC: Day 1
There’s nothing better than being VIP at DragCon. Nothing! Although VIP at the NYC con was quite a bit more expensive than VIP in LA (which we did not get), it did include several additional perks, including a tote bag with a sweatshirt, enamel pin, button, patch, VIP lanyard, and a surprise that I didn’t even realize was part of it until I got home… scroll down for details.
As VIP, you’re allowed into the con 30 minutes before everyone else. If you use your 30 minutes wisely, this can easily be the best part of your day!
But before we were let in, we waited in line and anxiously watched queens as they arrived: Ongina, Acid Betty, Cynthia Lee Fontaine, India Ferrah, Mariah Balenciaga. They all looked stunning and each queen I saw made me more nervous and excited to get on that pink carpet.
Then they let us in. The thing about being VIP is you’re there so early that lines to meet the queens don’t really exist yet. Which means you can just walk up to a queen’s booth and meet them—incredible and terrifying!
We walked right by a few booths to sort out our nerves before finding Bob the Drag Queen’s booth and hopping in line. While most queens required a purchase in order for you to meet them, Bob didn’t require anything for VIPs; you could just get in line and meet him.
But with Bob’s assistant, Luis, in charge of the merch table, how could you not buy something?! My husband and I ended up with two Bob pins; a Bob shirt; and a Luis print. Luis was so, so sweet and graciously signed a print for me and the shirt for my husband. I wish we’d thought to ask for a photo, but we didn’t. Instead, we got in line to meet Bob and about 10 minutes later IT WAS OUR TURN.
Meeting Bob the Drag Queen was magical. First, her outfit was on point, and she was serving beautiful, mesmerizing clown realness. Second, she was hilarious and amazing and stunning and I’m gushing and I don’t care.
Bob called me beautiful and said the dress I was wearing was fierce and asked me what it said. I told her it was a dress from RedBubble that depicted the iconic Aja/Valentina fight on Untucked. (“You’re perfect, you’re beautiful, you’re a model…”) and she laughed and said she loved it.
I told her I loved her nails and she said, “Do you want to hear a story about these nails?” And then told me the nails were the ones Alexis Michelle wore in her promo video for season 9. Bob asked to borrow them and never gave them back, to which I said of course because they really were dope nails. I asked her to sign a photo for me and she did, then apologized for her writing looking like a serial killer’s. I love Bob.
It was my husband’s turn to meet her next and she greeted him by saying, “Hey, I heard you were Crystal’s husband?” which made me die a thousand times because BOB KNEW MY NAME.
Bob and Bill talked about signing merch and how it’s weird that some fans ask queens to sign merch that actually represents other queens. Bill was equally thrilled by his interaction with one of his favorite queens.
Meeting Bob left us both flying high and we took a few minutes to recover before wandering over to Cynthia “Cucu” Lee Fontaine‘s booth. Given that it was still within the VIP-only window, her line was relatively short. We bought a bracelet and a drink koozie, which Cynthia branded as a #cucuzie (amazing).
When it was my turn to meet Cynthia, I told her she was beautiful and I loved her and she gave me a hug. She thanked me for coming and also told me she loved my dress (!!) and pointed at it and said, “Ooh, I see Valentina!” and I showed her Aja and said, “Yes, it’s from their fight!” and she was so so sweet. She gave me another hug and then we posed for a photo and she asked if I was going to be back the next day because she was really, really excited about her outfit. I said yes, that I couldn’t wait to see it, and thanked her for being such an incredible, supportive queen. She hugged me again and said it was her pleasure, proving that Cynthia is the most deserving Miss Congeniality of all time.
When it was my husband’s turn to meet Cucu, she grabbed his chest (!!) and said, “I just love touching…” and then posed with him like they were at prom. IT WAS AMAZING.
We were both reeling from the excitement of meeting two queens we loved, so we spent the rest of the con walking around, buying merch, ogling over queens, and checking out the runway. We stopped by Ru’s booth (but the line was so, so long) and admired all of her beautiful gowns on display and her Emmy, which I took a photo with.
We also saw the entrance show by the winning queens (and as they left the stage, a ton of queens walked right by us, including the nearly-nude Violet Chachki) and we caught Joanne the Scammer‘s show on the runway, which was honestly truly ICONIC.
No panels for us, but we did do a few things after leaving the con:
- We visited Wrecking Club, a demolition room which allows you to smash glasses and break things FOR FUN while your favorite music is playing. We loved it and smashed a bunch of things while listening to Frank Ocean.
- We trekked along the High Line, a “linear park” that takes you above the city and lets you see it from a new angle. Beautiful views and it was nice to check this one off our bucket list!
- Ate dinner at Shake Shack because of course.
DragCon NYC: Day 2
I MET PEPPERMINT, Y’ALL.
She is just as stunning and perfect in real life as you’d imagine.
Her booth was lovely and candy-inspired and her staff were honestly really funny and energetic and fun. But it was all about Pep. We hopped into her line first thing (although I wandered around while my husband graciously waited in line and met a few other queens, which I’ll get back to in a minute) and her team told us she’d be there at 10, which was “a drag queen’s 10:30.” She ended up arriving closer to 11 but IT DID NOT MATTER BECAUSE PEP IS PERFECT.
Watching her walk in was like what I imagine it’s like watching an angel descend from the heavens, except Pep’s hair is bigger and her outfits are more fierce. Obviously.
I was third in line to meet her and she was SO sweet and warm and welcoming and gave me a big hug, called me beautiful (this is all going to go straight to my head), and I told HER she was beautiful. She gave me a hug (!) and then we posed, dahling, while the wind whipped in our hair. As you can see from the photo below, my hair was not loving the wind but not a strand in Peppermint’s is out of place because she’s fucking Peppermint. I thanked her so, so much and THEN SHE GAVE ME AN AIR KISS.
The best part was probably Pep’s interaction with my husband. We bought her album earlier and he got her to sign it to “Bubby”, a nickname we both call one another, so that was very sweet. But Bill was respectful and didn’t want to touch queens without asking, so would stand away and take a photo next to them. Pep laughed and told him to get closer and then put her arms around him! The smile in his photo is everything. (Our professional photos will be available soon, too.)
As I mentioned, while we were waiting for Pep, I slipped out of line and met with two other queens. First was Jaymes Mansfield, who was adorable. When I told her she looked beautiful she said, “Thank you, but I know.” Perfect.
Then I visited Mimi Imfurst‘s booth. I was obsessed with her outfit! She was dressed as a handmaid from The Handmaid’s Tale. I told her her look was one of my favorites of the weekend and she laughed and told me she could hardly see a thing—then let me try on her hat!!! It was so surreal. Mimi was very sweet and down-to-earth and I honestly loved chatting with her. After I purchased a poster from her, she even through in a personalized signed a photo for me and wrote “Peace be with you” (a phrase from the book). It was great!
After meeting Pep, my husband wanted to go grab something to drink, so I got in line to meet Kimora Blac. Kimora is fucking stunning in person and she told me she loved my dress! She said she loved the material it was made out of it and I told her it was from Amazon.com and she high-fived me and called me Prime Fish, which is my new favorite thing. She was very personable and gave compliments freely!
Lastly, we checked out autograph alley, where I met none other than
Britney Spears Derrick Barry. Derrick changed my life forever by telling me that when people ask how to spell my name, I should just say, “Crystal—like Swarovski.”
I had SO MUCH FUN at DragCon and I really, really hope Ru continues to bring it to NYC. I loved being a VIP so much and would absolutely do it again next year, especially because I went through the swag bag when I got home and discovered AN AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO FROM MAMA RU HERSELF. I can’t wait to hang this up in the house!
I love you, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Thanks for loving me back!