Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Pride culture proudly expressed at FAU’s annual drag show

Students gather to enjoy the “Owl Manor” drag show following recent restrictive state laws.
Jason Steinfeld
Volunteers handing out merchandise such as pride fans and glow sticks for drag show.

Florida Atlantic pride culture expressed itself on Friday by Student Government (SG) Multicultural Programming. The show, held in celebration of homecoming week, sported a Barbie theme to compliment the recent movie.

The doors opened at seven in the evening at Barry Kaye Auditorium, and the event kicked off with a miraculous dance from Pulse Dance Troupe ten minutes before the drag show.

Kenya Milfort, a nursing student and part of the Pulse Dance Troupe opening performance, was highly honored to be opening up a drag show.

“It feels great, being here this far. I feel like they are very welcoming. The other people I’m performing with make it a family,” Milfort explained.

Several of the homecoming week directors also attended, including Kyla Flannery. 

“We’re organizing the homecoming week, so this is one of the events we planned with Multicultural Programming. I met the drag queens earlier, and they’re all amazing, and it feels so good to be here,” Flannery explained.

The drag show was hosted and narrated by Ariel Rimm, a drag queen, hostess, actress and singer. She opened the show herself with a dance to the Barbie theme song by Aqua and Barbie World by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice before giving her opening speech. 

“I wanna make some noise for Florida Atlantic University for facing adversity and going on with tonight’s program. You go to a university that loves, cares and supports you; not every university is like that,” Rimm proudly cheered.

The performance was hyped up by roughly a dozen volunteers for the main performance, one of whom was student Priscilla Buono, speaker pro-tempore of the SG House of Representatives.

“I want this to be such an incredible night for everybody. This is our time within the LGBTQIA+ community. This is our event to showcase the uniqueness of all of us. So bringing this to FAU is such an amazing event,” Buono commented.

Numerous students, such as Jenna Athas, a biology major, came in around 7 p.m. excited to see the show.

“I went last year, and it was entertaining. FAU is accepting of it. They have events like this all the time,” Athas said.

The show began slightly after 8 p.m. and was in an order of performances from different drag queens. In order from Rianna Petrone, TP Lords, Velvet Lenore, who had two assistant dancers, Tommy and Jacob, then went to Kat Wilderness before a 15-minute intermission. Afterward, the show continued with the same dancers for a second performance in the same order.

As unproblematic as the show was, it didn’t go without political purpose. According to Will Larkins, an undecided major, the drag show was also a protest of House Bill 999 passed on July 1 and the state government’s attempt to undermine transgender and other minority academic events.

Larkins explained that they had a hard time getting one of their friends in since they were from a different school, and due to the new legislation in the state, they couldn’t.

“We couldn’t get our friend in due to the new legislation. The fact that the event was gated to only students was unbelievable. However, I feel FAU is doing a great job creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ students given the circumstances FAU is under,” Larkins commented.

Rimm also expressed her anger while announcing on stage.

“My entertainment livelihood was taken away at the beginning of this year. Thousands of other individuals who are part of the LGBTQ+ community have had their right taken away to be entertainers, artists and creatives. You are the next generation to use your voice to vote. If drag makes you happy, then let them know that,” Rimm stated in her opening speech. 

It used to be called FAU Drag, but since the new Florida law, it was required to change the name to Owl Manor. Maria Burgos, a student and employee of the Student Union, has witnessed the change firsthand.

“The first two years I went, it was called FAU Drag, but due to the political changes in Florida, it is now Owl Manor. I think the reason is just a lot of personal issues. Many people who pass these laws don’t feel comfortable, and if that’s the case, then just don’t go,” Burgos explained.

After the intermission, Rimm also pushed for political empowerment for the LGBTQ+ community to vote and hear the message globally.

“Vote, vote, vote. I cannot stress that enough. There is a lot of malice going on in the world today. We don’t need to spread hate anymore; we must spread love worldwide,” Rimm announced.

Jason Steinfeld is a contributing writer for University Press. For more information about this article or others, you can reach him via Instagram @jasonsteinfeld221 or email him at [email protected].

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