We absolutely adore the fabulous gender-fluid icon that is Sasha Velour and we know you all do too, so we’re very excited to be spilling some extra special tea for you.
Yes, our Drag Race season 9 winner has been hard at work (as always) and is ready to show the world once more why she’s so well known for her artistry and talent, as if they could forget.
So without further ado, let us share with you all, The Big Reveal!
Now we all know Sasha as the petal bending queen of lip syncs and the loveable winner of the Emmy-Award winning season of Drag Race, but there’s way more to her than just taking home that stunning crown and sceptre combo.
You may have heard the news recently but just to confirm, Sasha will be one of the new hosts for the fourth season of the wholesomely camp “We’re Here” on HBO. Oh and she was also casually commissioned by the Tony Award-winning Tectonic Theatre Project to star in and co-create (alongside legendary director Moises Kaufman) a new commercial theatrical work which will premiere in 2024 just to mention a couple of things.
More relevant to our current article however, in April she published her first book via Harper under the title of “The Big Reveal: An Illustrated Manifesto of Drag ” which was heralded as ”a rousing tribute to a revolutionary art form and its practitioners” (Publisher’s Weekly).
Always being an advocate for breaking rules and setting trends, this was a first-of-its-kind book, a uniquely woven combination of memoir, history, and theory into a living portrait of an artist and an art form, illuminating drag as a unique form of expression with a rich history. If you don’t already have a copy, let us just throw a few links below:
UK l Belgium l France l Germany l Netherlands l Poland l Sweden l Switzerland
Now let’s be honest, after the absolute success of the “Smoke and Mirrors” tour that graced more than 80 cities globally and was a mind-blowing hit with all audiences, we’ve all been itching to get another glimpse into the mind of Sasha Velour. With that said, it’s no surprise that Sasha has been back on the road with a wonderful new offering.
Oh yes, “The Big Reveal Live Show!” is a new stage work created in connection to the book and has already toured to sold-out houses in the US and Canada earlier this year and is now making it’s way across overseas to the UK and Europe!
An Interview with the Artist
It’s always been a dream of ours to interview Sasha, especially our lovely Velvet Snatch who took inspiration from her to start drag in the first place, so we’re super excited to share with you this little chat we had with her recently.
GURL: How has your 2023 been so far?
Sasha: It’s been a fantastically busy year! Started out January with the first post-pandemic return of Night Gowns, my monthly drag show in NYC! We sold out the entire year in just a few weeks, are are going to continue the show for another year at least! Night Gowns is really my drag home –my favourite place to meet new artists and to try new numbers, to experiment– so returning to that tradition has been really grounding! Also this April my first book “The Big Reveal” came out and I’ve been touring ever since, first a US and Canadian tour, then South America, and now on to Europe and the UK!
GURL: How does it feel having the means to achieve your art and finding such a receptive global audience?
Sasha: It’s surreal to have a big platform, especially so many years after appearing on TV! I’m very grateful for the audience that has invested in my real life after Drag Race, coming to see my stage shows, spreading the word, responding to my work with so much heart. I know they are the reason I have access to touring, to larger stages, to international media. I feel a responsibility to use my platform to give back to that audience, to speak up for everyone’s equality, and to spread the message of free thought and self determination that drag stands for.
GURL: As an artist who is known for precision and perfection in your work, what’s the most embarrassing accident that’s happened at a performance and how did you ride it out?
Sasha: I had a particularly iconic disaster in Brazil in 2018. The song was “Gotta Move” (Barbra Streisand) and I do a number where I change my costume several times while 2 “backup dancers” in the video (also me) reveal a story about why I’m on the run. I came out in several layers of costuming, sunglasses, 3 wigs, gloves, and then the track glitched, music turned off, and projector died. I teetered around on the mic for a good 5 minutes, sweating and vamping for time! Finally, they gave up on it entirely, so I got the audience to clap a beat and just did my costume reveals one by one to no music or video. To be honest, it still worked okay… a reminder that the most important factor in drag is stage presence, no perfection needed!
GURL: You have many skills and talents already but if you could add another to the list, what would you choose (or improve on)?
Sasha: I’m trying to get better at the business side of art. Learning how to manage teams, balance budgets, and set up a plan. It’s not glamorous but it’s important. I started doing drag as my hobby, so learning to do it as a job has come with big lessons. Thankfully I do everything with my partner Johnny, and even though he didn’t have a business background either, he has a very goal-oriented mind, so is a perfect collaborator.
GURL: What would you say was the biggest threat facing the queer community currently and what advice would you give to those struggling because of it?
Sasha: The biggest threat is the increase of anti-trans, anti-gay, and anti-drag legislation around the world. Although the details are all different, they share the same result. Queer and Trans people are being silenced, losing legal anti-discrimination protections, and are being blocked from gender affirming healthcare and from community space. This backlash is nothing new, but I believe it has increased recently because acceptance for queer people has grown so much. People are more supportive than ever, it’s just a vocal minority that wants to get rid of us. The advice I give is that we HAVE to be bold. Unfortunately we cannot always count on our allies, our government, or even our own community to have our back (even if they are on our side), but no one can stop us from being ourselves, from loving who we love, from transitioning, from doing drag. Only by resisting ourselves can we can help others.
GURL: If you could change one within the queer community itself, what would that be?
Sasha: I want to see queer people stand up for the entire community, not just on the issues that affect them personally. All kinds of people are queer, and that’s what makes us very strong and progressive. But we have to be better listeners, and find ways to make our spaces and our activism more welcoming and accessible.
GURL: Following the success of “Smoke and Mirrors”, what was the artistic journey like for your upcoming “The Big Reveal” tour?
Sasha: My first international show was all about illusion and theatrics! So when I was writing my book last year, I wanted to go more radically honest, and political. In each chapter, I wove together personal stories with the history of drag and the realities of gender that affect us all. Writing was so difficult, and I found myself dreaming up ways I could tell this story even more stylishly onstage through drag numbers, choreographing reveals and gestures to illuminate each point. I’ve found that drag–with its signature mix of glamour, camp, and heart–is the perfect tool to tie together contrasting elements, and to find the BEAUTY in life’s imperfection and in-betweenness. So that’s how “The Big Reveal Live Show!” was born, alongside the release of my first book!
GURL: Spill some tea, what can audiences expect from the live shows?
Sasha: There will be lip-syncs, gags, tears, comedy, philosophy, and the dumbest reveal I’ve ever come up with! I can’t wait for you to see it.
GURL: What are you most looking forward to with the tour?
Sasha: I’m excited to work with a special guest performer in each city! Last tour, I invited local drag legends to the best seats audience. This time I have invited one in each show to come do a featured section onstage with me. I think this is a time for queer performers to stand together, and for us all to celebrate collaboration, and the things that unite us across differences!
GURL: Do you have any plans in motion for after the tour?
Sasha: I’m so excited for 2024. Night Gowns picks up monthly in NYC in January. Then I’ll be one of the hosts of HBO’s “We’re Here”, an Emmy and Peabody-award winning documentary series about queer life in small towns and cities, that airs in the spring. Plus my third theatre show, co-created with Tectonic Theater Project and Moisés Kaufman, will premiere in August in California.
Now we don’t know about you, but we’re very hyped and so happy to see Sasha thriving as a queer artist, it’s exactly what the world needs right now.
“The Big Reveal Live Show!” will present an immersive evening of drag, storytelling, and live art, featuring iconic new performances from Velour herself, a special guest star, and post-show book signings. The show will run for 90 minutes with no intermission, so make sure you’ve done a tinkle, washed your hands and grabbed a beverage in advance!
Tickets are available now via www.sashavelour.com
VIP tickets include an exclusive art print from the book and a meet-and-greet/photo-op with Velour before the show (how can you resist?).
Books are not included with ticket purchase; however, purchase of the book is not required. Copies of The Big Reveal: An Illustrated Manifesto of Drag will be available for sale in the lobby at all show, as well as online.
We’ll be at the Newcastle UK show, we hope to see you there!
Facebook l Instagram l Twitter