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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Hanna Santanna crowned Draggieland 2024 Queen

LGBTQ+ community celebrates another year of Draggieland
Drag+queen+Hanna+Santanna+smiling+at+the+crowd+after+being+crowned+Queen+of+Draggieland+at+the+Draggieland+show+in+Rudder+Theater%2C+Thursday+March+28%2C+2024.+%28Ashely+Bautista%2FThe+Battalion%29
Ashely Bautista
Drag queen Hanna Santanna smiling at the crowd after being crowned Queen of Draggieland at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024. (Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

Dressed in sparkling dresses and detailed makeup, Draggieland’s five contests strutted through Rudder Auditorium at the 5th annual drag competition hosted by Texas A&M’s Queer Empowerment Council, or QEC, a student organization that serves the LGBTQ+ community.

The pageant-style drag competition took place on Thursday, March 28 where five drag queens competed to be crowned this year’s Queen of Draggieland. 

Emcee Nirvana Piranha opened the show, explained the competition’s layout to the audience, welcomed the judges and introduced the competition’s drag queens. The show was broken down into two categories, performance and talent, and two drag queens were selected by first-year judges Sasha Frost, Chloe Knox and Lucy Paradisco to compete in a final fan-voted lip sync battle to determine the winner of Draggieland. 

Chloe Knox said she and the other judges were looking for polished looks with attention to detail. 

“A lot of the drag competitions that we’ve judged have been amateur competitions, and often they’re week to week, so it’s stuff people can put together in a week’s time, but since this is yearly, even though a lot of the drag queens have only been doing drag for a short amount of time, they’re really, really polished in the looks we have seen so far,” Knox said.  

Competitors incorporated the Alice in Wonderland theme into their performance category stages with Bella Donna Fables performing to “Pink Pony Club” by Chappell Roan, Shelby Fine performing to a rendition of Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are Forever,” Deaven Lee performing to Ariana Grande’s “Yes, And,” Lily Adonis Kline performing to “Closer” by Lemaitre featuring Jennie A and Hanna Santanna performing to “Greedy” by Tate McRae. 

In the performance category, Hanna Santanna placed first and Bella Donna Fables was named runner-up. Hanna Santanna also placed first in the Talent category and Lily Adonis Kline was named runner-up. 

Hanna Santanna and Lily Adonis Kline competed in a lip sync battle to Katy Perry’s “Roar,” and after audience voting, Hanna Santanna was named Queen of Draggieland and won $500, a bouquet and a sash. She reigns as queen of Draggieland until next year’s winner is determined. 

Santanna said she already had the garment for her Queen of Heart performance and added the blonde hair and Queen of Heart accessories to fit the theme. 

“For the Queen of hearts runway … it’s actually a recreation of an old dress of my mom’s, she passed away last year and I wanted to get an iconic outfit of hers remade and there’s this old picture of her from like the 90s and I dragged it up,” Santanna said. “When I got it made, everyone told me, ‘Oh, this is giving such like Victorian, Alice in Wonderland’ and when I got the theme, I was like ‘let me just get some accessories to make it like the queen of hearts.’” 

Santanna said she loves the performance aspect of drag, especially after transitioning from being a YouTuber, where audience interaction is limited. 

“My favorite part of performing is getting to experience human interactions, it’s the applause, coming from the YouTube background, I don’t really get to feel it, it’s all words, its comments,” Santanna said. “Doing drag is so much more fulfilling because I get to hear it, I get to feel it, there’s like an energy that you literally feel in drag, and that’s what I love about drag, is that nothing beats in real life.” 

Santanna said she hopes to return to Draggieland next year as a host. 

“I’m a show host first and foremost, coming from a YouTube space, I’m a personality, so … I would love to come back and emcee and just give people a great show,” Santanna said. 

Draggieland judge Sasha Frost said Aggieland was a lot different when she graduated in 2011 and is happy to see a drag show being held on campus. 

“I was a student here 13 years ago, and so for me its really incredible to see how drag has been incorporated into A&M, back when I came to school, we were listed as one of the top 10 anti-LGBT,” Frost said. “So to see a production like this held in school, on campus, it’s just really incredible and it shows just how far A&M has come as a school, and how far we’ve come maybe as a nation, too.” 

While judges were tallying up scores to announce the two finalists, material science Ph.D. student and QEC President Sophia Ahmed spoke to audience members about the effects of Texas State Bill 17, or SB 17, and how they can support QEC. 

SB 17 took effect on Jan. 1 and prohibits Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and offices like the recently-closed Pride Center

With the dissolution of the Pride Center, many of the events initially organized by them have been taken over by the QEC, including Draggieland. This means funding and staffing is entirely up to QEC to host these events. 

Ahmed asked members of the audience to participate in advocating by calling their representatives about the effects of SB17 and supporting LGBTQ+ events like Draggieland and other events hosted by QEC such as Lavender Graduation and Coming Out Monologues. 

Ahmed said Draggieland is a celebration and showcase of LGBTQ+ talent. 

“It’s really just a celebration of queer life because drag is such an integral part of queer culture,” Ahmed said. “It’s also a show of resilience and like beating adversity given how there’s so many attacks against the gay community and drag community … it’s a big show of resilience and pride. And also it’s nice because when you pay for Draggieland it helps support local drag queens and like future queer events as well.”

Political science junior Erik McLaughlin attended Draggieland for the first time this year and said he wanted to attend the show for entertainment and to support minority groups. 

“It’s a great representation of freedom of speech on campus,” McLaughlin said. “Especially since A&M is such a conservative environment, freedom of speech means something very different to a lot of people so I think it’s a good way to support a … smaller voice in the community.”

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  • Drag queen Bella Adonis Fine performing to ‘Pink Pony Girl’ by Chappell Roan at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Hanna Santanna performing to ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry during their head-to-head lip-sing battle with drag queen Lily Adonis Kline at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Judge Lucy Paradisco answering host Nirvana Piranha question on stage at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Bella Adonis Fine during her opening introduction at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Lily Adonis Kline performing to ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry during their head-to-head lip-sing battle with drag queen Hanna Santanna at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • All the contestant drag queens and members from Queer Empowerment Council on stage after to show at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ahsely Bautista
  • Drag queen Deaven Lee performing to ‘Yes And’ by Ariana Grande up close at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Shelby Fine performing to a rendition ‘Diamonds are Forever’ by Shirley Bassey at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Host Nirvana Piranha performing to ‘Alice’ by Lady Gaga at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • (Left to right) Drag queens Hanna Santanna and Lily Adonis Kline bowing and thanking the crowd after their head-to-head lip-sing battle at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Shelby Fine during her perfoamce to a rendition of Shirley Bassey’s ‘Diamonds are Forever’ at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ahsely Bautista
  • (Left to right) Hanna Santanna, and Lily Adonis Kline answering host, Nirvana Piranha questions at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Lily Adonis Kline waving to the crowd during her opening introduction at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Lily Adonis Kline performing to ‘Closer’ by Lemaitre featuring Jennie A at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Host Nirvana Piranha interacting with the crowd during her performance to ‘Alice’ by Lady Gaga at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Judge Chloe Knox walking to the center of the stage at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Deaven Lee in front of her ‘STOP BULLYING’ message during her performance to ‘Yes And’ by Ariana Grande at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ahsely Bautista
  • Drag queen Hanna Santanna performing to ‘Greedy’ by Tate McRae at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Judge Sasha Frost walking to her seat at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Shelby Fine doing a split during her performing to a rendition ‘Diaamonds are Forever’ by Shirley Bassey at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Hanna Santanna performing to ‘Greedy’ by Tate McRae while interacting with the crowd at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • (Left to right) Judges Lucy Paradisco, Chloe Knox and Sasha Frost watching drag queen Bella Adonis Fine performance at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Rudder Theater packed with people at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ahsely Bautista
  • Drag queen Deaven Lee performing to ‘Yes And’ by Ariana Grande at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Hanna Santanna bowing to. the crowd during her opening introduction at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Bella Adonis Fine performing to ‘Pink Pony Girl’ by Chappell Roan at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Lily Adonis Kline performing to ‘Closer’ by Lemaitre featuring Jennie A at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Deaven Lee during her opening introduction at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
  • Drag queen Shelby Fine during their opening introduction at the Draggieland show in Rudder Theater, Thursday March 28, 2024.(Ashely Bautista/The Battalion)

    Ashely Bautista
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Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article listed Lily Adonis Kline’s performance song as “Closer” by Tegan and Sara. This has since been updated to the correct song, “Closer” by Lemaitre featuring Jennie A.

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Nadia Abusaid
Nadia Abusaid, Life & Arts Writer
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Comments (2)

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  • E

    ErichApr 2, 2024 at 7:54 pm

    Unfortunately, A&M has become a “me, too” university.

    Reply
  • L

    Lily Adonis KlineMar 30, 2024 at 5:54 pm

    The song I performed was Closer by Lemaitre featuring Jennie A

    Reply