My upcoming book, Fiercely You: Be Fabulous and Confident by Thinking Like a Drag Queen, doesn’t come out until August 15 but my coauthor and I are already spreading the word about the book. To that end, we couldn’t pass up getting a booth at RuPaul’s DragCon, the annual gathering of fans of the show RuPaul’s Drag Race. This was the second year of this event that is like the “Comic-Con of drag” and this May, over 22,000 people showed up.
Since we didn’t have books to sell in our booth, we enlisted the fabulous drag queen, Phi Phi O’Hara, a finalist from Season 4 of Drag Race to be our special guest in the booth. She is my “drag aunt” and of course, featured in the book. I’m honored to say that this super talented drag performer and singer has become a good friend of mine. While most of the folks coming to the booth were Phi Phi fans, I did have a number of people who knew me from seeing my TEDxVancouver talk on YouTube. One young woman from England told me she featured my TEDx talk in her masters dissertation for her gender studies class. I’m so honored and humbled at how this work is being received.I also moderated a panel on branding, with queens from Drag Race — Laganja Estranja and Manila Luzon — as well as singer/performance artist AB Soto. What a terrific group of smart marketers who are so good at branding themselves! But perhaps the most impactful thing that happened was when RuPaul stopped by our booth to talk to us. He was visiting some of the booths on the Preview night the first evening of the event, and I’m told he specifically wanted to chat with us. He had previously endorsed Fiercely You, giving us a quote to use on the cover. He told my coauthor Shelly and I that he was so proud of us for writing the book and for showing the world the power of drag. He even mentioned watching my TEDx talk and saying how terrific he thought it was. I can’t begin to tell you how hearing those words from someone you have admired for so long made me feel. This is someone who has changed the world in so many ways, and given this amazing art form new life and a worldwide audience. More importantly, he has taught all of us that “we are born naked and the rest is drag;” that is, the world is a stage and we get to craft whomever we want to be. This idea has made me realize how fierce and powerful I can be, and I know, it has impacted millions of others the same way. Twenty-two thousand of them were in the building with me.
MORE: See the rest of photos from our adventures at RuPaul’s DragCon here.