Three touring vans decked out to the max – one covered in pink glitter, another shaped like a giant purse and… is that an actual elephant? – are travelling the backwater roads of the United States of America. They drive down the main street of a small town and when they stop, what emerges is eye-melting magnificence. Bob The Drag Queen, Shangela and Eureka (all familiar faces from RuPaul’s Drag Race) are here in full drag to transform faces and lives as they give three small-town LGBTQI+ people the makeover of a lifetime in each episode. Then they’ll spend a week training them intensively with the goal of helping them to put on a drag show with an open invitation for the whole town to attend.
Loud & proud
It’s a triumph of self-expression, fun and heartfelt conversations as the three drag queens talk their “clients” (called Drag Daughters on the show) through what drag has changed about their lives and helped them to realise and accept about themselves. Putting on the show will help the Drag Daughters connect with others in their towns who’re potential allies and supporters, or even just looking for a fun night out.
Recently, particularly in conservative small-town USA, the voices of hate have grown loud and proud, but those people are really the minority. Most people just aren’t terribly familiar with anyone different, and it’s time for an introduction that doesn’t start by insisting that different means wrong. Shangela says, “Sometimes you can change people’s minds and opinions just by them knowing a person from a different community than theirs. And a lot of the places we went to were not very diverse, they were not racially diverse, they sure as heck weren’t gender-identity and sexuality-wise diverse. So it’s important for us to be out there and do that, and I re-learned, it was a sobering reality and a re-introduction to what life is like in a lot of places in America, when we need to do better.”
Meet the queens
Even if you haven’t been an avid Drag Race fan, We’re Here has plenty to offer for the sheer entertainment value and deep human understanding that each of these queens brings to the show, having survived their own struggles to embrace their identities. “The confidence you have as a queen is a confidence that anyone can tap into. It is not always about being the most confident; it is about highlighting what you see about yourself as the most positive. Take what you love about yourself and highlight that,” says Bob. Eureka adds, “I’ve been through a lot in my life, which used to be to my detriment. But now with this I’m able to use the experiences I’ve been through and how I navigated through it to potentially help other people navigate things they’re going through that might be similar.”