UNC is the first stop for drag queens Naomi Dix and Stormie Daie’s “Sister Sister” inaugural college drag tour. The queens want the UNC community to know they’re bringing the hit ‘90s sitcom theme into their performance to make it an experience unique from any drag show the UNC community has seen before.
The show will take place in the Student Union on Tuesday from 8 to 10 p.m. and will be co-hosted by the queens and the UNC LGBTQ Center. Other stops on the college tour include Duke University, North Carolina State University and North Carolina Central University.
When asked the origin of the show’s theme, Dix said a fan came up to the queens after a show and said "Look at you! "Sister, Sister," just like the show," and the theme resonated with the queens. Daie and Dix said audience members often confuse them for one another, so they decided to embrace their likeness and emphasize their individuality at the same time by doing a show together.
"We know each other, so we know what to expect, but we don't read each other's minds because we're not actually twins unfortunately,” Daie said. “We can't wait to see what we'll bring out in each other, and that's always really fun."
Dix said the show will differ from a normal drag show, and the queens have created a theatrical event instead. Props, scripts, duets, dancing, improvisation, audience inclusion and a Q&A session will all be included in the performance.Daie said nothing about the show will be predictable, though.
"I call my fans 'Stormie Chasers' because when you come to see me at my shows, it's like going to chase after a tornado,” Daie said. “You might lose a garment, you might gain something, something might be thrown at you, but I promise it will be entertaining, and you will be mesmerized."
While the themed show is new territory for the queens, both Dix and Daie emphasized creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all audience members, regardless of their comfort level concerning participation.
"We're trying to appeal to people who may not feel so comfortable coming to a drag show or may not feel as comfortable leaving campus,” Dix said. “Campus can be a very safe space for some people, and so instead of having people come out to us, we wanted to come out to them."
Mariel Eaves, an administrative support specialist at the UNC LGBTQ Center, said the center chose to co-host the event with Dix and Daie because they knew the queens would uphold the ideals of the center, which include respect, consent, exploration and acceptance of one another
.“They are really big on consent and respect for themselves and for audience members in terms of making their shows accessible to people,” Eaves said. “We just want people to be able to experience the space that is drag and it's fun, exciting and interesting, and also lives up to the goals of the LGBTQ Center of being a welcoming space for people of all sexual orientations.”
Eaves said the show is a great opportunity for people under 21 or those uncomfortable around alcohol to see a drag performance, as most drag venues are bars or clubs that serve alcohol. They are excited about the center giving the UNC community an opportunity to see an alternative to how drag is presented.
Dix said doing drag is how he expresses creativity and releases his emotions and frustrations related to his personal life, as well as larger national issues.
"We do drag to create spaces in this horrible political climate that we're in right now,” Dix said. “We create spaces for people to feel safe and for people to feel that not all is bad. When I go out to a show or when the show is brought to me, I can feel like myself, and I can feel like there is a little bit of hope."
Dix and Daie said they have faced multiple challenges in their drag careers, including competing for gigs at venues, getting respect as performers and artists, being challenged by people who oppose their performances and promotion of the LGBTQ+ community and facing discrepancies in fair compensation.
“I've seen musical acts that get paid more for performing less time than I do, and they're not shoving what the lord gave them into Lycra and spandex," Daie said.
Despite facing multiple challenges in their drag careers, the queens said they continue to perform for their fans. Both queens said they urge the UNC community to come together and see drag not only as a means of entertainment, but also a safe space for self-exploration and personal acceptance.
"Drag is using my feminine qualities that we all have on some level as the strengths that society tells me they're not,” Daie said.
She said not to see drag for its superficiality, but for all the things it connects, such as social structures, beauty, vanity, power and sexuality.
"It connects all of these things together, and it does so by the most superficial things — like foundation, mascara, a girdle here, a sparkle there — such superficial things that we can manipulate to express all of these preconceived notions that we have, and it can all be wiped away with makeup remover.”