Queen Of The Month: Sasha Velour
Sunday November 1 2020, 12:00am until November 30 2020, 11:59pm
Queen Of The Month: Sasha Velour
Sasha Velour is a drag queen, director, visual artist, and more! She first came to national attention in 2017, when she won season 9 of the Emmy-winning reality TV competition RuPaul's Drag Race, which was nominated for an additional 8 Emmys that same year. Her rose-petal-filled finale lip-sync to “So Emotional” by Whitney Houston was called “the performance of the year” by the AV Club and named one of “TV’s Best Musical Moments on Television” by Entertainment Weekly, and it contributed to an increase in streaming plays of the song by 500% that summer.
"Sasha Velour, The true fabric to help mankind." ~ PrideParade.net
Her live performances have been called “an entirely new level of performance art” (Yahoo) and “heart-wrenching” (Billboard). She pioneered the use of video projection in lip-synch drag performances and is known for combining emotional pathos with theatrical stunts and reveals. Her first solo show, Sasha Velour: Smoke and Mirrors, toured all over the world in 2019 and early 2020 to great acclaim.
Velour’s studio and illustration work has been the subject of 2 solo gallery shows in New York (2014 and 2016). In 2017, she drew the Google Doodle of Marlene Dietrich. She broke into the New York drag scene in 2015 as the creative director (and graphic designer) behind the art magazine “Velour” (now released in hardcover Collector’s Edition), which celebrates the art of drag through visual art, poetry, photography, and essay.
In September 2018, Velour collaborated with Opening Ceremony to produce, direct, and host their Fall Fashion showing, better known as “The Gift of Showz," a piece of drag theater in which Christina Aguilera appeared as the special guest star. TIME raved that it "won't soon be forgotten,” and the New York Times called it “the brand’s…most radical [presentation] yet…a celebration of personality, camp, and performance.”
Velour frequently uses her platform to discuss politics, queer history, and LGBTQ+ issues. She was billed as a keynote speaker at the 2018 Teen Vogue Summit in New York City. In December 2018, she took the stage at The Smithsonian for “The Long Conversation,” an event with thought leaders from around the world.
Velour invested her Drag Race prize money back into “NightGowns,” the monthly drag show she had been producing since 2015 in Brooklyn. Serving as its host, director, and in-house lighting designer, Velour has turned NightGowns into one of the most esteemed and oft-imitated live drag shows in the world, dubbed “[the] thinking queens drag show” by Time Out NY and “eclectic, wild and highly personal” by Billboard Magazine. NightGowns has been produced in New York, London, and Los Angeles. The monthly appearances in Brooklyn continued to sell out within minutes, exposing thousands of fans to underrepresented forms of drag. In 2020, the show was adapted into a series for Quibi. The New York Times said it was “among the most life-affirming shows you could find on any platform.” Sasha Velour served as executive producer and director, alongside Grammy-winner Sophie Muller and producers at the Oscar-Nominated Documentary Group.
Velour is the only child of Mark D. Steinberg, a professor of Russian History at the University of Illinois (aka “Papa Velour”) and Jane T. Hedges, an editor, who died of cancer in 2015. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her partner Johnny and their Italian Greyhound Vanya.