Anything but a Drag
Drag performers strut their style at annual Diva la Paz
With glittery thigh-high boots and makeup applied so precisely that looks could kill, local drag queens strutted their stuff on the runway at Colonia de la Paz Residence Hall's annual Diva La Paz event.
Featuring real drag queens from all over the Tucson area, Diva La Paz brings awareness to the LGBTQ+ community, educating attendees with vibrant posters, activities and a drag show, showing students and faculty that drag is all about individuality and self expression.
Celebrating its 22nd year, Diva La Paz is one of the longest-running student and faculty drag programs that the UA has seen. Drag queen Ajia Simone, known as “The Black Cat of Tucson,” has been one of main performers since the beginning.
Simone has long been active in the Tucson community and when she heard about this UA event 22 years ago, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.
“[This event] wanted to bring something to the freshman, [it] wanted to bring something that most of them haven’t seen before,” Simone said.
The show’s first run did not go over too well with some students, with hateful signs displayed in the windows of the dorms.
“People didn’t understand the LGBTQ+ community,” Justine Sleator, a volunteer for Diva La Paz, said.
The event persevered and now draws many UA students every year to participate.
Diva La Paz showcases some of the most fun elements of drag, with flamboyant costumes and makeup.
“My most favorite part of drag is the end result. The getting ready part is the drag for me,” Simone said. “At the end, I look at myself like I look good.”
In the show, every drag queen does at least three numbers on stage, each completed with a different outfit and props for one entertaining night.
Each performer sings along to hit songs, prompting the crowd to sing or clap along with them.
At this year's event, Jenna May’s “Short Dick Man” performance, where she used carrots and ranch dressing, enticed the audience members into laughter and screams of enjoyment.
“There was food thrown and the ranch dressing was poured down Jenna May’s chest, definitely making it a memorable performance,” Alessandra Flores, an audience member and student at the UA, said.
The message behind the event is that being yourself is something that rings loud and clear, according to Diva La Paz officials.
With each show, the performers said they hope students will always remember this show as a fun place where anyone can express themselves as they like.
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