Changing The World One Outfit At A Time
“A lot of queens don’t want to mix politics into their shows, but I think it’s important and if you’re not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.”
If The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams had sex with Patti LaBelle their offspring would be a lot like Bob The Drag Queen. First name ‘Bob’, last name ‘The Drag Queen’, Bob is the comic creation of Christopher Caldwell and if she wins this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race it will be an extra sweet victory, because she’ll be the only other black person to have won since Tyra Sanchez back in Season Two.
A native of New York, Christopher’s first appearance as Bob was on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and since then she’s blossomed into the nation’s most irreverent queen. Her character is especially ironic considering how it came to be. “I was watching Season One and I thought I can do that!”, she says. “I’m a comedian not a drag perfectionist. A lot of people might not go on stage until everything is perfect, but I just don’t care because it’s not at all what I’m trying to do. My point in doing what I do is to be unique”, she explains. These days, creating a point of difference as a drag performer is imperative, especially if you are going heel-to-heel with renowned drag legends. “I’m learning what it means to be a part of the international drag scene. It’s one thing to be a local big deal, and even in New York that’s pretty big, but you’re still just a local girl”, she mentions.
Almost overnight, Bob’s schedule has exploded with performances in major cities around the globe, including Chicago, Seattle, South Beach, London, Glasgow and yes, oh yes even a few visits to our beloved Toronto, where she recently took stage at Fly 2.0 as part of Pride Toronto’s #TeamBob campaign. Despite her globetrotting lifestyle Bob is keeping it humble and remains true to her original intentions of becoming a drag queen for the people, and says “I’m just trying to do two small things – have fun and change the world.”
On the latter point she continues to use her celebrity status to provoke change. Her performances generally infuse politics as a way of directing the community’s attention to issues that matter to her, like LGBT homeless youth, women, and the lived experiences of the trans community.
“A lot of queens don’t want to mix politics into their shows, but I think it’s important and if you’re not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. I know that sounds black and white. but the queer community can benefit by actively taking a closer look at ourselves. There’s a lot that we can do, and as drag queens for example. we can start by looking at women’s issues, what a trans woman has to go through, or a cis-gender woman for that matter. There is just so much we can change for the better, and it starts with understanding one another. Especially for the guys; if you’re not going to use your male privilege to stand up for somebody else, then you shouldn’t even have it”, she explains with only a hint of humour in her voice.
In keeping with Bob’s mission to have fun, she’s on the bill for the two day DragCon at the Los Angeles Convention Centre in May. The explosive success of last year’s event attracted over 10,000 attendees. and this year will be bigger; with over 100 exhibitors, screenings/workshops and drag herstory discussion groups. “I’m really excited to be among all those fans. This is huge for me”, she remarks. Bob will also be in among the dozens of notorious celebrity boundary pushers at the show like Jeffree Star, Acid Betty, Big Dipper, Henry Rollins, James St. James and Trixie Mattel.
Bob’s latest pet project is her Charity 4 The People Tour, which are charitable shows in cities where she’s touring, and it’s complemented by an online auction selling her outfits and memorabilia she’s created and worn on RuPaul’s Drag Race. With all proceeds benefitting local organizations, Bob has aggressive plans to raise at least $40,000 by this coming DragCon, and another $100,000 every year after that. Having only started a few weeks ago, she is well on her way to changing the world, one outfit at a time.
Photos courtesy LogoTV
Originally published in theBUZZ Magazine, April 2016