Sharon Needles, Phoenix Place Hotel and Suites, 7/21/12

Page 2 of 2

On the stage in the hotel conference room, he's all made-up, with several layers of foundations, eye shadows, and blushes to give his face the perfect corpse-like contour. He belts an impassioned speech about keeping the Bible, a book he just tore up on stage during a dynamic rendition of Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People," out of the law.

He then announces his bid for president in 2012 and the room full of extraordinarily devoted fans roars in approval.

That's the moment the "Sharon Needles for President" campaign began, and, a few hours later, back in his hotel room, he begins strategizing campaign merchandise with his tour manager. It seems immediately that this is going to be national news, at least in the drag community.

Before the show, Sharon was late. How late was he? Sharon was so late he missed the first show. With one hour to get ready due to travel delays from the "ha-boobs", Sharon gladly speaks his mind about anything and everything, even when it's not nice to hear. It's obvious, without the aid of costuming, when he's Aaron and when he's Sharon. Aaron smiles, Sharon tries not to as much as possible, though every fan he met put a smile to his face.

After winning Drag Race, a show he thought no one watched because it was on the Logo network, he found himself with a voice that held weight to thousands of adoring fans and constant overwhelming comparisons.

"It's daunting. I'm not like anyone else really," he says, while applying a generous coat of lip liner pre-show. "I think my fans see in me whatever they needed."

In front of the audience, Sharon explains the character is a vehicle for freedom, self-expression, and pride--the power and the eventual win came from the fact that everyone felt a stake in Sharon Needles.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch