Arts

Peppermint performed at the U of O on Feb. 1. Photo: Parker Townes.

RuPaul’s Drag Race star talks groundbreaking Broadway role, Black History Month

Popular drag performer Peppermint, the first trans woman on RuPaul’s Drag Race and the first to hold a principal position on Broadway, performed at the University of Ottawa’s Alumni Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 1. She performed for half an hour, followed by a discussion and Q&A session.

The event, free of charge, was hosted by the U of O’s Community Life Service, and the first of the university’s many Black History Month events.  

“I’m an African American woman and I believe that Black History Month should be celebrated to its fullest,” said Peppermint. “I was invited to come, so of course I’m going to say yes to that.”

Peppermint, the first openly trans contestant on RuPaul, appeared on the ninth season of the show, and finished as the first runner up. It was the shows most watched season in its history.

“(RuPaul’s Drag Race) was fantastic. Ever since then, I’ve had a lot of big opportunities, and things have opened up. I’ve had a chance to travel a bit, do some music, do a little TV appearances, and it’s been fantastic,” Peppermint said, who also shared how her trans identity has given her a unique position of visibility.

One of these big opportunities is the recent announcement that she has been cast in the Broadway musical Head Over Heels, a comedy featuring music from The Go-Go’s, opening in San Francisco in April, before moving to New York City in June.

“Broadway is a drag queen’s dream,” said the New York born and based Peppermint.

After going to college to study musical theatre, she got slightly side-tracked, and that dream was put on the backburner. That was when she got into drag and nightlife, and focused all her energy into those performances. However, after her season of RuPaul’s Drag Race aired, she began to discover new opportunities.

“The opportunity came for me to audition for the Broadway show, and it kind of lined up with everything I’ve been working towards over the past few years, and I think it couldn’t be a better fit,” she said. “This show, this production, these producers, this role, of course I would have been very happy in any role on Broadway, but I’m really excited about this project.”

As for her lasting words of wisdom to anyone in the LGBTQ+ community, she put it quite simply.

“My message is to not be afraid of being proud of who you are.”