Finding your stride as a queer person in South Dakota can come with challenges, but for Pollie Esther, it happened by accident.
Since stumbling across RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2019, Pollie Esther has been developing herself and her identity in her parents’ basement.
“When I found [RuPaul’s] Drag Race, I got inspired and wanted to give it a try. I started in my room, exploring makeup and sewing clothes,” Esther said.
Fast forward, and now Pollie Esther is a junior at USD studying Art and Graphic Design. She credits her success’ as a student, and as a person to the drag community.
“To quote RuPaul, that power that you have in drag is accessible all of the time,” Esther said.
The confidence Esther found within herself through drag was also shared with those around her. Since coming to USD, Esther has taken part in many drag shows both on and off campus.
“When I get to see peoples’ faces, I see the shy freshman who might not be so confident let go … drag shows are a place where people can let loose because they aren’t judged there,” Esther said.
Finding expression through drag reigns true for Senior Isabel Young too.
“Drag has always been really pivotal in understanding queer liberation, it’s magical to be around people who support you, validate you, and are one thousand percent in your corner, in the audience, you feel like you’re part of something bigger,” Young said.
Esther feels that drag performances in South Dakota communities are pivotal, especially for those who have yet to see for themselves.
“Rural South Dakota offers a limiting lifestyle, but I was introduced to drag randomly, others come into these shows blind and leave excited to find another,” Esther said.
USD’s Spectrum intends to host a drag show in the Spring semester with details and information to come at a later date.