Blair Williams has been performing in drag for over 30 years and has won Miss Gay America, but she’s proudest of the times she gets to connect with her audience.
“When you have an experience where you come off stage and know that you did the best you could do, and someone out there related to what you did,” she raves. “There’s always someone that appreciates that, and when they come and say, ‘I love your performance, that spoke to me,’ it means the world to me.”
As a kid, Blair loved music and dancing, but wasn’t always comfortable on stage.
“I was very shy; I was a heavy kid, very insecure in my body,” she recalls. “Before I had terminology for being gay, I knew that I was different somehow.”
But after seeing her first drag show at the age of 18, Blair was hooked, though she notes it took her years to gain the confidence to get on stage.
Now, she’s a regular performer at Club One and uses her platform to speak out.
“I think sometimes drag is political. Sometimes it’s a social message, and sometimes it’s just a fun escape,” she says. “Our times are crazy right now, so sometimes people want that escape. We try to cater to everyone—we try not to be offensive, but we also try not to censor ourselves where we can’t express our own viewpoints.”
Even through the pandemic, Club One attracts a wide range of visitors, and not everyone is keen on the politicization of drag. Blair notes that sometimes, audience members may be slightly offended by a performer’s message.
“And we’re slightly sorry that you didn’t get what we were doing,” she says with a sugary-sweet smile.
Regardless, drag is inclusive, and Blair wants everyone to come see the show.
“This is kind of a dying breed,” she says of drag shows. “Drag is so readily available; you can sit at home Friday night and turn on VH1 and watch [RuPaul’s] Drag Race. I don’t think that gives you a real taste of seeing it live.”
Runner-up: Treylor Trash