“Ru Paul’s Drag Race” star Morgan McMichaels hosts WSU Drag Show

Contributed+by+Kerra+Hendricson+of+the+Warrior+Entertainment+Network%2C+McMichaels+%28left%29+with+WSU+student+Jinnett+Lynne+%28right%29+on+the+main+stage+of+the+drag+show.

Contributed by Kerra Hendricson of the Warrior Entertainment Network, McMichaels (left) with WSU student Jinnett Lynne (right) on the main stage of the drag show.

McKenna Scherer, editor in chief

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” season two contestant, Thomas White, stage name Morgan McMichaels, hosted a drag show this past week on Friday, Oct. 1 on Winona State University’s campus.
Held in the newly remodeled East Room in Kryzsko Commons at the university’s main campus, McMichaels both hosted and performed in a drag show during Kryzsko After Dark, a monthly program put together by the Warrior Entertainment Network with different activities offered throughout Kryzsko Commons for Winona State students to enjoy.
This past Friday, the highlight of Kryzsko After Dark was the WSU Drag Show event held from 10 to roughly 11:30 p.m. featuring six drag queens and kings in addition to McMichaels.
Two of those six were also students at Winona State, performing under stage names Bud Weezer and Miss Deminor.
McMichaels became a reality TV personality after appearing on season two of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as well as on the show’s spin-off series, “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” and “RuPaul’s Drag U.” Now, McMichaels has more than 350,000 Instagram followers, nearly 200,000 Facebook followers and 130,000 Twitter followers, has released several singles and continues to perform in drag shows, living in California. She was also featured in Rihanna’s music video for the hit single “S&M.”
While it was the first time Winona State has had such a popular drag queen host a show at the school, it is not the first drag show to occur on campus. In 2019, Full Spectrum: WSU’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance club, hosted the first on-campus drag show and has held several shows at local Island City Brewing Co. brewery.
McMichaels kept the hour-and-a-half-long show upbeat, making the audience members laugh at nearly every turn with sarcasm and biting humor. She also shared that the WSU Drag Show was her first out-of-state college performance since COVID-19 began nearly two years ago.
Kryzsko After Dark is not open to the public, so the 100+ attendees of the drag show were Winona State students. Several students got the chance to get up onto the stage, invited by McMichaels to walk down the catwalk-style stage, including student Jinnett Lynne, who McMichaels followed on Instagram at the end of the show.
McMichaels spoke to several people in the audience, but highlighted Lynne, who is a transgender student at the university. McMichaels invited Lynne up to the stage more than once and towards the end of the show, Lynne was invited up to walk down the stage one more time.

The WSU Drag Show event ran from 10 p.m. to roughly 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1 during Winona State University’s monthly program, Kryzsko After Dark. More than one hundred students were in attendance, many excited to see Morgan McMichaels, the host of the event. McMichaels has appeared on “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” and its various spin-off shows performing in drag. As host, McMichaels performed two songs, with several Minneapolis-area guest drag queens and kings also performing. (Mohammed Islam)

“I’m so proud of you for living your truth,” McMichaels said to Lynne.
The WSU Drag Show event was co-sponsored by Full Spectrum as well as Student Senate, which Warrior Entertainment Network’s Kryzsko After Dark Director, Nicole Feiner, said was a great partnership.
“Our executive board has thrown around the idea of doing another drag show for a while now since the one a couple of years ago put on by Full Spectrum went well,” Feiner said. “We got the chance to partner with Full Spectrum and Student Senate to sponsor amateur performers from the cities [which] was great because we got to bring more drag queens and kings, extending our show and having a variety for attendees.

Priscilla Es Yuicy, one of the drag queens who performed at the Oct. 1 drag show. Yuicy, along with three other queens and kings, were invited from the Minneapolis area to be part of the show hosted by Morgan McMichaels. Two more drag performers, stage names Bud Weezer and Miss Deminor, joined the stage as well, both of whom are Winona State students.

“Our executive board has thrown around the idea of doing another drag show for a while now since the one a couple of years ago put on by Full Spectrum went well,” Feiner said. “We got the chance to partner with Full Spectrum and Student Senate to sponsor amateur performers from the cities [which] was great because we got to bring more drag queens and kings, extending our show and having a variety for attendees.”
The show featured Pedro Pablo, stage name Doña Pepa, a Venezuelan queer, nonbinary performing and teaching artist from Minneapolis; Priscilla Es Yuicy, a queen from the Minneapolis area who is also a performer in New Black City, a group of Black hip hop dancers; Ty Torres, a Puerto Rican, transgender drag king living in Minnesota; and Cariño, a Spanish drag queen also from Minneapolis.
Feiner explained how the Network was able to contact each performer through their agencies, the communication often facilitated by one of the Network’s advisors, including Director of Student Union and Activities, George Micalone. To have McMichaels host the show, they paid her about $5,000, according to Feiner.

McMichaels with Kryzsko After Dark student staff member on the main stage during the WSU Drag Show.

The Network’s Main Stage Director, Ahlea Wright, also said they have had contact with McMichaels’ agent in the past and confirmed the near-five-thousand-dollar price to have her at the university.
The Network debated whether to
have the drag show as a standalone event or not, ultimately deciding to place the show during a Kryzsko After Dark (KAD) event.
“Our thought process was including it in a KAD where we already have an audience and can also offer other activities for those who are not as interested,” Feiner said.
Feiner, alongside Warrior Entertainment Network Public Relations Director, Roberta Kennedy, stressed the importance the Network is putting into creating a diverse and fun Kryzsko After Dark program, with the WSU Drag Show being one big-ticket example.
“There’s a lot of work, time and money that is put into this event for our student body,” Kennedy said. “It’s important for me to let everyone know how amazing Kryzsko After Dark is and encourage them to come.”
Feiner agreed, also explaining how lighter COVID-19 restrictions compared to last school year has allowed for expanded options for activities at KAD.
“We have been grateful for the supportive community here on campus that supports our events,” Feiner said. “We are trying to diversify [KAD activities] for the students we serve. There is something for everybody to enjoy.”
Feiner said KAD will continue to offer the “fun staples” that many have come to associate with the program, including free Panda Express and crafts, but will also switch up their Main Stage Acts – like the WSU Drag Show – to keep things exciting.
To end the show, McMichaels performed one last time before thanking the Entertainment Network and its sponsors as well as the university for inviting her to host the event.
“Thank you for being allies to our community,” McMichaels said. “You don’t have to be gay, lesbian or trans to support our community. It does not matter who you love or how you love, just that you love.”