Former ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ contestants slay the stage at UNiQUE event

LaLa Ri and Kornbread Jeté brought Sac State’s Pride Week to a close


Jenelle Lum

LaLa Ri speaks to the audience at the drag show hosted by UNiQUE in the University Ballroom Thursday, April 21, 2022. She opened the show with a lip–syncing performance to several Cardi B songs.

Jenelle Lum, staff writer

On a cold Thursday evening, students formed a line in the lobby of the Sacramento State University Union with tickets ready to be scanned. Attendees had smiles on their faces as they waited excitedly to see former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants LaLa Ri and Kornbread Jeté perform. Hundreds of chairs lined the room with tables located directly in front of the stage.

“Planning for this event has been super fun, super exciting, and I think the best part is to be able to celebrate and support Pride Week and the Pride Center,” UNiQUE volunteer and communications major Esperanza Gonzalez said. 

UNiQUE and the Pride Center co-hosted the drag show to conclude their Pride Week Celebration. 

The event was scheduled for 7 p.m. but was pushed back to 8:15 due to a delayed flight, according to UNiQUE programs advisor Ajamu Lamumba. UNiQUE sent out an email to attendees Thursday afternoon stating that the situation was outside of their control. 

“It was really great that we have events that are made for students, allies and the community,” Tuong Le, a second-year social work and photography major and program assistant at the Pride Center said. Le said she believes these events help individuals feel seen and embrace who they are among their peers. 

Video by Alexis Hunt

After being introduced by Pride Center Coordinator Tranh Pham and UNIQUE lead student assistant Elysse Fresquez, LaLa Ri strutted down the stage in a purple velvet bodysuit with shiny over-the-knee boots. She opened the show with a lip-syncing performance to several Cardi B songs. 

The audience screamed and cheered LaLa Ri on as they held dollar bills in the air for her to collect as she walked by, as it is customary in drag culture to tip the performers with cash.

Kornbread Jeté took the stage with a dress reveal that made the audience stand up from their seats. She started out in a pink robe that was eventually untied, revealing a neon green fitted dress with black faux leather boots.

Kornbread’s opening lip-sync song was Jennifer Hudson’s “Push Da Button.” She made her way down the stage to interact with the audience, collecting money and dancing.

LaLa Ri and Kornbread answer audience questions at the drag show hosted by UNiQUE Thursday, April 21, 2022. Kornbread announced at the show that she is going to release a visual album which will be available in the near future. (Jenelle Lum)

LaLa Ri and Kornbread sat at a table on stage for a Q&A with fans and opened up about their personal experiences with drag, upcoming music releases and secrets from filming their seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” 

Kornbread also announced that she is releasing a visual album soon.

“You’re not allowed to release until the season is done because technically it is property of ‘Drag Race,’” she said. “It will be songs based on the ingredients in cornbread.”

Speaking of things that belong to the producers of “Drag Race”, according to the drag queens, the set of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has plenty of supplies for each of its contestants, including makeup, snacks, shoes and fabric. 

“I stole a lot of stuff when I left,” LaLa Ri said.

“When they say a year’s supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills, everyone gets a container–like a rolling bag full of everything,” Kornbread said. “They get your foundation colors, but you get a lot of stuff on Drag Race. You can take whatever you want. They ain’t looking.” 

LaLa Ri and Kornbread pose with fans and sign posters at the end of the show hosted by UNiQUE Thursday, April 21, 2022. Less than half of the line had the opportunity to meet them before the doors were closed. (Jenelle Lum)

For some students, this was the first drag show they had ever attended. 

“I’ve never been to a drag show so I wanted to attend one,” Jessie Macias, a nutrition and food major said. “I like the makeup. I am into makeup and I just like how it looks.”

Jaiden Singh, a political science and journalism major, said the performance was the first drag show they had ever been to, and decided to dress in drag for the occasion. 

“That was very exciting and a lot of fun,” Singh said. “I am a huge Kornbread and LaLa Ri fan.”

When the Q&A was finished, LaLa Ri and Kornbread signed posters and took photos with their fans, but were cut short due to the limited time. Less than half of the line had the opportunity to meet them before the doors closed.