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‘Drag Race’ Star Shuga Cain Answers Congresswoman's SOS


Written by Jazmine A. Ortiz

As if Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t already a national treasure advocating for minorities, immigrants and the LGBTQ community, she’s a loud and proud Drag Race fan. She recently gave fans of RuPaul’s hit show where viewers watch a Drag Queens compete for the crown with a series of challenges like Snatch Game, weekly runway walks and lip sync battles, something to gush over other than her policies after she sent out an SOS for help with her “glow up” and got a response from a Drag Race favorite.

Shuga Cain, a Season 11 contender and proud Latinx queen (El Salvadoran, Spanish, Apache) vocal about the current political climate, offered the congresswoman a “glam session” after seeing her Tweet to which she ecstatically replied, “I’d love that!” Shuga, whose birth name is Jesus Martinez, wasn’t going to let the opportunity to give the coolest woman in congress a makeover pass her by and replied “YAASS!! Let’s do it! Messaging you!” The idea of a congresswoman and a politically conscious Drag Queen bonding over beauty tips and bureaucracy garnered reactions like this.

BET had the opportunity to catch up with Shuga Cain at RuPaul’s DragCon in New York City over the weekend to find out more about her much anticipated meetup with Ocasio-Cortez. Shuga, whose booth setup was “the monastery of Miss Cain” and modeled her look accordingly, said she had no idea her reply to the congresswoman would actually get a response.

“So I tweeted it and I’m the worst at Twitter cause I’m so old. She responded and I had no idea. And all of a sudden I saw all these notifications and my friends were freaking out. I was like, ‘what the hell?’ I could not believe it. She’s amazing. She’s a warrior. The work that she’s doing for [minority and immigrant communities] is so incredible. And so I was like, ‘this’ll be fun.’ You know, never thinking she would respond. And she responded. So fingers crossed that we get a chance to like hook up and do this but also raise awareness about some important issues.”

Our fingers are crossed tightly! And while she didin’t dish on the makeup look she’d be suggesting for Ocasio-Cortez, she did dish on the policies she’d like to bring awareness to.

“I think the one issue that breaks my heart and is one that I find that I’m so passionate about and I’m trying to figure out how to better help in that situation is the whole immigrant issue with border security. It’s splitting up families and young kids. I mean it’s insane what they’re doing to these families and the way they just like leave the kids. They have like no access to anything basic like no water, no bathroom.”

Shuga continued, “That’s one thing that I’m really trying to figure out and I’m hoping that with AOC, there’s something that we can do and there’s something that I should be able to shed some light on how to better get this to the forefront cause it’s happening every day and it’s starting to get lost in the news. Like I don’t give two shits about what the Kardashians are doing. Girl, I want to know what happened to your children and these families. You know what I mean?”

Among the diverse group of queens at this year’s DragCon, everyone from Filipino-American queen and season three runner-up, Manila Luzon to the first Black All Stars winner Monét X Change, Shuga reminisced about her earlier years at DragCon before her Drag Race fame.

“When I first started, I came into it like all the girls do and come up with a sickening look and I walk around. I think I did that like for months. And then I went to LA DragCon cause I found out I was going to be on Drag Race so I had to buy hair [laughs]. And then I did DragCon when I came back from the show, but no one knew yet [because it hadn’t aired]. I worked at Jiggly Caliente’s booth though. And she had me like pedaling all of her products. Then I did LA again. So I’ve come here in varying degrees of this journey and it’s been amazing. It’s literally the best weekend of the entire year.”

From pedaling Jiggly Caliente products to plugging immigration reform into talks of beauty tutorial with a congresswoman—it’s a real-life Cinder…we mean, Drag Queen story.  

(Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images; Samantha Burkardt/Getty Images for SXSW)


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