The North Texas native drag superstar is coming to town with Werq the World
TAMMYE NASH | Managing Editor
Dallas’ own Asia O’Hara has definitely hit the big time. She is the full-time host of the wildly successful Las Vegas stage show RuPaul’s Drag Race Live, and she is currently on tour with the Werq the World 2023, which stops here in North Texas July 7. Despite her hectic schedule, Asia took time this week to answer a few questions for Dallas Voice about touring, the residency and the enduring appeal of drag.
DALLAS VOICE: First of all, are you still living in Las Vegas full time? Or do you split your time between Vegas and Dallas? And how much time do you usually spend on the road, touring? ASIA O’HARA: Yes, I am still in Las Vegas! Brett and I packed up the dogs and moved two years ago. I am normally touring during the summer, so luckily I miss the hottest time of the year. We are still uncertain if we stay in Vegas or move back to Texas.
Werq the World 2023 in the U.S. started June 17 in Atlantic City and winds up Aug. 26 in Washington D.C. But there is also a Canadian tour, an Asian tour, an Australian tour, a UK/Ireland tour, a European tour, a Mexico tour … I think that’s all of them. Are you going on any of the tours outside the U.S. this year, too? If so, which stops are you looking forward to the most? I will be doing all of the U.S. and Canada dates but none of the others. I still host RuPaul’s Drag Race Live in Vegas, so I have to split my time between touring and the residency.
You play a big role in the ongoing RuPaul stage show in Las Vegas, right? So how do you balance the stage show with being on tour? Do each of you, as performers, have a rotating schedule, or how does that work? So much goes into the scheduling of that show. Derrick Barry and I are there full time for the most part. The other four tracks in the show rotate throughout the year. Obviously, the host role is a little difficult to fill as there aren’t a ton of queens that host. So we have to start months in advance to find someone with the availability and skillset to do that part when we know I’m going to be out.
Which do you enjoy more? Staying in one place to do a show night after night or being on tour and in a new city all the time? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? I definitely love to stay in one place. I like to stay on a routine. Touring is fun because you get to see a different place every day, but nothing beats finishing a show, not having to pack all your stuff up, then getting in YOUR car, listening to YOUR music, driving to YOUR home, eating YOUR food, and getting into YOUR bed.
I looked up the ticket site for the stage show, and those tickets are a really hot commodity. And tickets for the tour shows look to be selling very well, too. So it is obvious that despite all the hoopla in places like Tennessee and Florida and here in Texas where the right-wingers are trying to “ban” drag, that drag — especially high-end drag like Werq the World — remains very popular with audiences. What is it, do you think, that draws people to drag and drag shows? And why do you think some folks are attacking drag the way they are? People are loving drag more than ever because they need an escape more than ever. Drag is counter-culture. So people who look out into the world and struggle to see things that they can relate to are naturally drawn to drag because it gives everything that has been labeled “different” power.
And I think people are attacking drag because it is so bold and “in your face.” It’s easy to blame drag for problems in this country because it seemingly came out of nowhere and turned everything upside down. Honestly, people called electricity “witchcraft” when it was first brought into the home. So … .
Speaking of all the “drag ban’ legislation, what kind of effect has all this hateful rhetoric had on you, personally, and on the other performers you work with? Do you worry about the possibility of violence, or that some over-zealous law enforcement officer or agency might try to stop your show? Honestly, I dont worry about any of that. Drag was so underground for so long, and no one paid it any attention. Now that it has become a movement and an inspiration for people worldwide, people think it is a problem.
They can yell and scream all they want. They will soon learn that the resilience of the southern queer community is unmatched. We have been fighting our entire lives.
Back to a lighter subject: You’ll be back home in Dallas in a week when Werq the World comes to the Texas Trust CU Theatre. Will you have time to visit with any friends or family while you are here? And what are you looking forward to the most when you are in Dallas? Yes! I have plans to see friends and family while in town.
And the thing I’m probably looking forward to the most is Ojedas!
Last question: Is there something I haven’t asked about that you want to mention? You know the Dallas Voice is nosey! You guys have asked me everything I can think of! And thank you.