Edna Allan Hoe sets her handmade crown on Club One’s bar and orders a Bacardi and Sprite with a splash of sour mix, pineapple and grenadine from Savannah’s Best Bartender 2018, Dawn Dupree.
It’s an appropriate headpiece for her photo shoot as Savannah’s Best Local Drag Queen: a resin-encased halo of real cigarette butts with a base resembling volcanic ash, all sparkling with glitter.
After all, if Edna were to describe her aesthetic in three words, it would be Trash, Glitter, and Hoe.
“Those are my three favorite things,” she laughs. “Bein’ a hoe, being trashy, and lots of glitter.”
The young drag queen, a SCAD Fashion Design alum, got her start with The House of Gunt four years ago after attending the collective’s “Blessed” show at The Jinx.
Having finally turned 21, the Kentucky native donned full drag and headed to the club to get her first taste of C-Port drag.
“After seeing that, I started hounding [House of Gunt co-founder] Influenza [Mueller], saying, ‘I want to perform with you all!’” she remembers.
Edna had some prior drag experience, having attended and performed at SCAD’s Queers & Allies’ annual Gender Blender Ball.
“I just absolutely loved it, everything about it,” she recalls of her early performances. “Being a really beautiful, powerful creature is super-fun.”
Queers and Allies faculty sponsor Krista Harberson, a known punster, came up with the Edna Allan Hoe name.
“I have an Edgar Allan Poe tattoo,” Edna explains. “She suggested ‘Edna Allan Hoe’...I didn’t even consider any other options, I said, ‘Stop everything, that’s it.’”
Initially, Enda planned on being a creepy queen and finding inspiration in her namesake—at her first House of Gunt show at Hang Fire, she spat blood to the tune of Diplo’s “Freaky”—but her aesthetic has evolved since those early days.
“I still do that on occasion—and I love me some Halloween—but I also just like making people laugh,” she says. “Besides, I can spit blood much better now!”
These days, she’s inspired by fine artists like Yayoi Kusama and Keith Haring, designers like Alexander McQueen, performance-driven femme musicians like Sia, and, of course, Frida Kahlo.
“She’s a strong woman with a unibrow,” Enda says with a smile, raising the heavy brow that’s become her signature.
House of Gunt’s raw, artistic, and often high-concept style suits Edna’s aesthetic. When it’s time to create a new act, she’ll pick her poison, put on some music, and see where her thoughts take her.
“It comes to me in different ways,” she says. “Sometimes, I think of a costume first; sometimes, I really want to do an act to a certain song. Some moments, like House of Gunt’s Mario-themed show, I had an idea, then on Tuesday we had a rehearsal and I hated everything I was doing. The show was Thursday, and I changed it by Wednesday!”
Folks can catch Edna the second Thursday of every month at The House of Gunt’s Club One residency. That venue and its 18-and-up policy is particularly important to the performer.
“I wish it was like that when I was in school,” she shares. “I wish that before I was 21 I got to go to a drag show! It’s a really great opportunity, and we’ve been seeing a lot more SCAD students coming. I’ve heard a couple students who aren’t 21 say, ‘We go there for every show, it’s our only time to go to Club One.’ That’s really good to hear.”
As the very first winner of Best Local Drag Queen, Edna plans to wear her ashen glitter crown proudly for the town she loves.
“I hope to represent Savannah well!” she says. — Anna Chandler
Runner-Up: Lazanya Ontre