Drag Race stars stream live performances online, cheering up isolated fans with ‘digital drag’

Drag race Latrice Royale

As clubs, bar and theatres have been closing their doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, drag queens, including some RuPaul’s Drag Race stars, have been taking their performances online.

On Sunday, March 15, New York and Los Angeles, home to some of the world’s largest drag communities, ordered performance spaces to close in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Latrice Royale, who first appeared on season four of RuPaul’s Drag Race, told Reuters: “It’s really scary because I’m a small business as well as an entertainer.”

Royale said she was considering hosting an online drag performance with her husband, a musician, as she still has business costs to pay, including the salaries of eight employees.

A group of around 30 other drag kings and queens, including Drag Race stars Alaska Thunderf**k and Rock M Sakura, are going to stage “the world’s first ever digital drag show” on the live streaming site Twitch on Friday, March 20.

The show, hosted by drag queen Biqtch Puddiń, winner of the second season of Dragula, will request a $10 (£8.50) suggested donation and will have a mechanism allowing viewers to tip individual kings and queens.

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#DIGITALDRAGSHOW ? Join us live Friday March 20th at 7pm PST/10pm EST only at twitch.tv/biqtchpuddin for the world’s first Digital Drag Show! Presented by @biqtchpuddin and @videodisease. Featuring the talents of @theonlyalaska5000, @harajukubk, @junobirch, @vandervonodd, @tenderoni88, @kat.sass & more! DJ sėt by @djmateosegade ?? Hope y’all join įn on the fun but know when it comes to dåy øf shøw we do ask for a 10$ donation (anything you can give) to help us run this show and pay for this incredible lineup of talent. Info on how to pay will be provided dåy of shøw. Tips will also be on screen for each performer via their PayPal/Venmo links. Spread the word and see ya on the 20th!

A post shared by Biqtch Puddiń (@biqtchpuddin) on

Another way that drag performers are giving their fans what they want and still bringing in some money is through Cameo, where users can pay for personalised video messages from their favourite queens.

A spokesperson for the website said told Reuters that at least 11 RuPaul’s Drag Race stars have signed up for the service or reactivated their accounts. Drag queens made up four out of the top six celebrities that users paid for messages from this weekend.

Royale, who describes herself as “chunky yet funky” on her Cameo account and charges $125 per message, added: “I will get up in drag and knock ’em out.”

Another queen of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, Gia Gunn is continuing to provide content for fans through her YouTube channel.

She said: “I don’t want the community to forget about life.”