The performer batted her inch-long lashes at a howling audience, fluffing her pompadour with one hand and pulling off a slick black trench coat with the other.
She strutted down the aisle in teetering heels and a taut bodysuit, blowing kisses and collecting $1 bills as she breezed by the DJs bobbing their heads to the bouncy tune.
The performer whirled back to the stage before thanking the audience in a deep tenor.
Drag shows aren’t the usual fare for IU’s Whittenberger Auditorium, though the applause might suggest otherwise.
Once a year, Sigma Phi Beta fraternity hosts “Drag for a Cause,” a philanthropy and drag competition that benefits a local LGBTQ charity. The show raised nearly $600 last Tuesday for Prism Youth Community, a Bloomington organization that supports LGBTQ teens.
“I love giving back to the community through my art form,” said drag queen Envy Debeaute, as she adjusted her immense jeweled earrings.
Debeaute, whose given name is Billy Vorgias, was the show’s winning contestant. The drag queen’s rainbow sash popped against her leopard print gown as she took pictures with the fans and judges from the audience.
“This is my first live drag show that I’ve seen,” contestant judge Caroline Hewitt said. “I was blown away, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how fun it was.”
For each number, the drag queens stormed into the auditorium in a haze of sequins and hairspray. They lip-synched a song and danced into the crowd, locking eyes with particular audience members and stroking their hands as they collected tips from cheering fans.
Five drag queens were enlisted for the event by philanthropy chair James Keys. He said this is the first year the fraternity has attempted to make the drag show mainstream, “in order to open a dialogue about gender.”
The fraternity marketed to the entire campus and snared drag queen Mrs. Kasha Davis from reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as their headliner. Blair St. Clair, last year’s Miss Gay Indiana, also strutted her stuff for the philanthropy.
“I was excited to finally have a tangible way to give back to (Prism),” said Bryant Hayes, Sigma Phi Beta president. “The drag show is the fraternity’s way of saying, ‘hey we are here, this is a part of our culture, look at us.’”