“It really has profoundly affected me. Learning to think about yourself as a person who can actually say no or demand things, you can’t undo that,” said Miz Cracker, a drag queen from Harlem, NY., who spoke Tuesday in Kresge. “That has probably saved my life.”

Miz Cracker covered her daily life and the complexities of gender and sexuality in her talk titled, “I Still Hate Your Personality, But I Like Your Hair.”

Miz Cracker began performing in 2011 when a new acquaintance suggested that she try drag. Though she had never considered it before, Miz Cracker fell in love with her work and found herself becoming more self confident.

Since her start in the drag world, she has quit her day job to focus on drag full time and to write for the Outward section of Slate.com. In her talk, she emphasized how much time and money is needed to be successful in drag.

“It takes a lot of time; it takes a lot of dedication,” Miz Cracker said. “Even a drag queen who does not care about her looks at all is pouring an immense amount of time and money into the business of drag.”

This dedication—manifested in Miz Cracker’s three to four hours per day of hair, makeup and outfit preparation—shows that there is more to drag than amusement and comedy.

“If you think it’s just a game or if you think it’s just for entertainment, you have to bear in mind that it is a huge commitment,” she said.

Christina Knight, a CFD postdoctoral fellow in the theater and dance department, said that the talk shed a different light on the lives of drag queens. 

“If the only idea of drag you have comes from ‘Ru Paul’s Drag Race,’ then you’re probably missing a great deal about what it actually means to gay folks, queer folks, trans folks who go to those shows,” said Knight in a phone interview with the Orient.

Knight shares a mutual friend with Miz Cracker and it was her idea to bring her to campus. Knight was originally interested in having Miz Cracker speak to her class, American Queen: Drag in Contemporary Art Performance.

“I wanted her to come talk to my class because I wanted them to get a sense of what it’s like to actually perform drag, instead of just thinking about it theoretically,” said Knight.

Knight also hoped that Miz Cracker’s talk would create campus dialogue.

“I think it’s important and powerful and a conversation a lot of people on this campus are afraid of,” said Xanthe Demas ’15. “It’s really important to bring it here in such a good environment.”

“This is a way to get people talking about these issues [in a way] that’s more inviting than a lecture from an academic,” said Knight.

Others agreed that the setting allowed students to feel comfortable discussing complex issues.
“There’s nothing better around a tough topic than having someone who says ‘Ask me anything, it won’t offend me.’ She totally owned the whole thing,” said Emma Patterson ’16.

“I would not be alive without [drag]—what a profound difference it made,” Miz Cracker said. “Anything that you love to do can save you.”