I just spent two days flying around RuPaul's Drag Con NYC 2017, the inaugural East Coast version of the popular West Coast dress-up confab, and boy are my charms tired — it takes a lotta energy to approach dozens of lovely ladies and laddies and ask them to pose, even when it's written all over their faces (in MAC) that they'd be more than happy to do so.
It was a balls-to-the-wall-of-your-thighs blast, though. World of Wonder once again struck wonder into the hearts of its legions of fans, I saw things I'll never forget and I got to meet the one and only RuPaul. Luckily, I already love myself, so there was no question how in the hell I was gonna love that particular someone else.
Keep reading for the full run-down and nearly 200 pics ...
I showed around 11:15 a.m Saturday, and the event was already in full swing. Only part of the Javits Center was in use for the convention, so it was significantly smaller and more do-able (like certain queens) than, say, Comic Con, yet it did not feel slight and it was always (fudge-) packed.
My plan was to mostly just roam and take pics of all the girls with tables and as many interesting attendees as possible, though I originally thought I might pop into a few panels, too. That never really happened, as I was busy-busy-busy gorging on the people-watching.
I'm gonna separate my photos so you can check out the Queens (anyone from RuPaul's Drag Race), the Court (non-RDR fabulosities), the Boys (I fell in love a number of times) and the Celebs (anyone else famous-ish).
Enjoy, and please, please chime in with names in the places where I am unsure!
Because I had a very visible press pass, I was — for the most part — able to jump from booth to booth grabbing a few shots with each queen. This meant politely asking their handlers and also making sure the people in line would not riot over having to wait 20 extra seconds.
Everyone was totally great. Well, almost everyone. TBH, Shea Coulée's booth was an issue. Shea was the most expensive queen there, pricier than RuPaul! In order to get your pic with her, you either had to buy $50 in merch or pay $60 cash. Even RuPaul only charged $50 — and for that price, you could get a photo with up to two people in it and an autograph. Shea was also one of only a couple of queens whose booth was completely enclosed to make walk-by photos impossible.
Most of the queens were charging $10-$20 for pics.
This all should've been a clue, because when I asked to take a few press pics, Shea's handler said no, then said it wouldn't be fair to the fans in line (apples, oranges) and even though it would have taken me literally 20 seconds, told me I'd just have to wait like everyone else.
Refresher: Shea is an awesome queen, but did not win her season. No serious harm done, but a bummer.
Michelle Visage, I had met and stood talking to (along with her hubby) the evening before at an exclusive cocktail party kickoff for the weekend, at which a group of us were coaxing her to do a freestyle solo album. I mentioned owning a Seduction promo store mobile, which she said she remembers seeing. When I found her in her booth Saturday, I expected her to recognize me and never dreamed she'd be tough to get, but because she had a giant line always, she told me no posed pics in her booth, and that I should instead shoot her in the press room at 4 p.m. (I went at 4, but she was in a rush so skipped it.)
She did tell me it was cool to shoot her as she did her thing, which led to this, probably my favorite pic of the whole damn weekend:
Sunday, when I returned and asked her one more time, reminding her about missing the press room, Michelle gave me a radiant pose. She was never rude; she is actually extremely outgoing with fans. Rather, Michelle is just firm about what she's gonna do and when. So I was happy this worked out, because when it comes to taking a good picture, it takes two, it takes two — me and her.
The only other queen I couldn't shoot was RuPaul, and it was not for lacking of trying. I pulled every string and everyone was very nice, but they did enforce the rules of no personal pics inside Ru's enclosure. It did no harm asking, his assistant Joelle was faultlessly polite (and thanked me for not trying to bully her), and while I was not able to take a pic of RuPaul, my experience meeting RuPaul was ideal. I stood in line for an hour in the morning to get a ticket for 1:30 p.m., came back at the anointed time, and spent another hour or so waiting to get in to see him. Easy!
Inside, Ru was at a table (I hate when the star is behind a table and you're not ... it's impossible to look good in a pic!), and he had a giant smile always and was unbelievably perky no matter how long he'd been there — and he was putting in eight-hour days of doing nothing but meeting and posing with fans. I made him laugh by saying the show was family-friendly as requested ... on the outside ... and I told him how happy I was for his success in the mainstream; just typical fan stuff. But he was 100% engaged, clasped each person's hand for the photos and was laughing gaily and enjoying everything. He had to be exhausted, but I saw no sign of it.
He was even howling with glee when a vendor — an almost-nude woman with Ru's face painted on her front and Michelle's on her back — went in just before me.
He was a treat, and I was so glad that when I'd met him Friday at that cocktail party I had not tried to get a pic when he wasn't werking. My only complaint is that the lighting was shitty and there was no flash (or if there was, it clearly did not help — all the pics are shadowy, and because he's behind a table and the guests are in front, one or the other is out of focus).
And now for the other queens:
The show was not dripping with non-RDR celebs, but there were quite a few, if you kept your eyes open. Some had tables, some were on panels. One, Isaac Mizrahi, turned me down for a photo, which was unfashionably rude.
Now, eyeball some of the con's best, most beautiful and — in some cases! — most disturbing looks from the show:
And finally, check out some of the hot guys I spotted at Drag Con. To be honest, there were countless others:
And with that, I'll C - U - Next - Year.