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Author: Malinn Loeung
May 14, 2024

UCR’s ‘Dragalicious Drag Ball XX’ features iconic gender-bending celebrities

Student drag royalty sass the runway w/ Shakina Nayfack and Mayhem Miller

Over 250 LGBTQ+ supporters filled UC Riverside’s HUB 302 on the evening of April 12 to watch 11 student drag performers work the Dragalicious Ball runway. Leading the pack of student performers was RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar and native Riversider Mayhem Miller.

Sponsored by two student organizations, Queer Alliance and Drag Club, and the LGBT Resource Center, the 2024 show marked Dragalicious Ball’s 20-year run and welcomed back to campus UCR alum, Queer Alliance O.G., ball cofounder, and now Hollywood writer, actor, and director Shakina Nayfack as the night’s empowering, witty, and refreshingly vulgar host.

Shakina, who is known by her first name Shakina, started the night by sharing some historical observations about how much UCR’s gender expressiveness has changed since her time as a graduate student in the early 2000s.

“When I was a grad student 20 years ago, UCR was a lonely place to be trans. Now just look at all the incredible gender diversity on campus! This is the legacy of queer liberation we are celebrating tonight!”


And with that inspiring intro, the performers set out to prove Shakina’s words true through lip-synching, dance, and artistic performances.

Miller, the night’s celebrity guest performer, kicked off performances by lip-synching Kim Cooper’s “I Look Good,” while draped in a black velvet gown and triple-stacked top knot hairdo. Miller then closed the night with Club 69’s “I Look Good,” dressed in a sparkly bodysuit topped off with long, straight blond hair.

“I have called Riverside home all my life," Mayhem said. "I have pride when I claim where I’m from. It’s a blessing to represent on a global scale the talents that my town has to offer. Weekly, I perform for my local crowd at VIP Nightclub here in Riverside. But I always look forward to when UCR calls to ask me to participate in their events. It’s nice to be recognized in your community for the hard work you’ve done for decades.”

Press Play > Watch Dragalicious Drag Ball XX

Student performances:

  • Bear Béringer & Reina Rey w/ Nelly Furtado and Timbaland’s “Promiscuous” & Elton John’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
  • Just Robin w/ Lady Gaga’s “Americano”
  • Melodrama w/ a mix of 2000’s hits & The Showman’s “Never Enough”
  • Oddeng Lee w/ Pussycat Dolls’ “Buttons” & Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”
  • Azealia Shanks
  • Hunter w/ Michael Bublé's “Feeling Good” & Britney Spears “Gimme More”
  • Alice Ace w/ Emilíana Torrini’s “White Rabbit”
  • Nirvana Mind w/ Romantic Homicide’s “D4vd” and “Tyler the Creator’s “Are We Still Friends?”
  • Brujó Paraíso w/ High School Musical’s “High School Musical”
  • Wright Wicked w/ Dorian Electra’s “Gentleman”

Memorable moments:

  • Pre-show, the dressing room vibe was mashed with jitters, chit-chat, wigs, and lots of makeup.
  • Although Toi Thibodeaux, LGBT Resource Center’s assistant director, was unable to attend the show, they did have a representative sitting in the front row, showering the performers with one-dollar bills. Tips are a sign of praise and appreciation in the drag show scene and over $700 was scattered around the room as performers strutted down the runway and through the crowds – $400 of that coming from Thibodeaux’s rep.
  • Midway through the show, host Shakina asked the crowd to stand up and repeat this mantra, “I’m beautiful. I’m sexy. My body is my body – you want it? Get in line!”
  • The night ended with show producer and Queer Alliance co-president Tempest Won taking the stage for a cast photo with all the performers.