Carolina Productions and BGLSA teamed up once again to perform an evening of drop-dead gorgeous talent for Birdcage, USC’s own drag show. This year USC hosted a special guest — Alyssa Edwards of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Rachel Scola, president of CP, recognizes the importance of the event. She also encourages everyone to come out to Birdcage at least once in their college career.
“It’s a whole community and atmosphere that I don’t think a lot of people know exist on the USC campus,” Scola said. “Every year I learn something different and every year there’s something new to experience.”
After introductions by CP and BGLSA, Edwards, the hostess of the evening, got the party started with a mash-up of many pop numbers including “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea, “Glamorous” Fergie and “Partition” by Beyonce.
Edwards strutted back and forth across the runway, her strawberry blonde curls bouncing in the red glow of the spotlights. Her blonde tresses could easily be featured in a volumizing shampoo commercial.
Edwards is happy to be in 'cock country.
“Is this the land of the 'cocks?” she asked the audience. “Hi and hello and howdy to all of you!”
Edwards’ career in drag could be a novel. She got started at “the most fascinating performance [she’d] ever seen to date” — a simple open mic night. Awestruck seeing men perform in fabulous wigs, Edwards decided to get her own piece of the drag pie.
“My friends said ‘you don’t know how to do that,’ and about four weeks later, I went up there on talent night and I had my wig on and a little bit of mom’s Maybelline,” Edwards said. Week after week, Edwards returned — victorious.
While many drag queens are from the local Columbia drag scene, there is definitely a large student presence this year. One student drag queen, Ebony Would, gets her name from her experience playing viola and violin. Ebony is the name of the black wood that embellishes the instruments, and her last name is just a homophone for the wood of the instrument.
Would became involved in drag because she liked the leadership qualities that drag queens commanded of their audience.
“I noticed that they were a leader in the community,” Would said. “If they told you to go somewhere that night, you went. Whatever they said happened. I thought it was kind of magical.”
Drag queens weren’t the only performers — Birdcage saw its fair share of drag kings. One king, Oliver Clothesoff, donned a Peter Pan costume and pretended to smoke on wooden pipe synchronized to “Because I Got High.”
At the end of it all, Birdcage is more than the sequins and chiffon that embellish the homemade costumes and gowns of the kings and queens. Scola couldn’t have said it better herself.
“I know it’s easy to throw around the word diversity," she said, "but it’s a really cool and diverse event.”