Drag It Out

Chappell Roan welcomes local drag artists to perform with her on tour

Rising pop star and recent Harvard lecturer Chappell Roan is foregrounding queer talent ahead of her summer midwest tour. As she prepares for performances in 14 cities across states that have advanced anti-LGBTQ+ laws, Roan is asking local drag artists to join her onstage as opening acts.

On Tuesday, Roan posted a submission form for local drag artists—along with the appropriately iconic still of Divine in Pink Flamingos.

According to the form, “Chappell is searching for two local drag performers in each city to open her show! The performances should be 8-10 minutes long and involve lip-syncing to popular high energy pop songs!”

The form also asks for links to the artist’s best looks and performances, their hosting experience, and the names of their favorite local venues to perform in. And because the show seems to be about celebrating local pride as well as queer solidarity, Roan is asking entrants to be prepared to “dress up for your city’s theme.”

Additionally, the text of submission is entirely gender neutral, implying that Roan welcomes all local drag talent no matter how they identify or present onstage.

The out pop star’s aesthetic and music is highly influenced by drag culture, so it’s no surprise she’s paying it forward, especially in the parts of the country where it’s needed the most. Her recent performance for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, in which she wore a tall wig peppered with butterfly clips and cigarette butts, had fans demanding she appear as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Roan, who grew up in Missouri, came out as gay shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 2018. Soon after getting her start on YouTube as a teenager, she received a boost from Troye Sivan and Connor Franta.

Now she’s looking to uplift other undersung queer artists in the midwest. Reflecting on her own experience growing up in those places, she told ABC News, “There are drag queens, there are people who are trans, there are massive queer communities that are just kind of hidden away in these teeny tiny towns.

“And I feel like that’s who my real community is and I feel like that’s what the community feels like at the shows — all the people who maybe aren’t allowed to be out and proud all the time.”

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