Today’s guest contributor is written by Rebecca, a huge Adore Delano fan and resides in the USA.
Many of us who live unconventional lives feel lost at times. Whether it’s sexual orientation or identity, chronic illnesses, life circumstances – if we’re not living the “ideal of perfect life” of being married with children with white picket fences surrounding our beautiful homes we’re outsiders. It’s no surprise that so many of us have found safety and strength in the art of drag. Though we all have our own different journeys that have led us to the drag fandom, and more specifically for this article to the Adore fandom, I think many of us can agree it’s one of the best things that has happened to us in our lifetimes.
I fell in love with Adore in the first two minutes of my first season of RPDR. Adore & Bianca specifically were a wonderful distraction from the hell that was 2014. Too much was happening that year for me to even consider actually going to a drag show to see any of my faves. I was going through so much, plus being straight, white, having no friends, plus being allergic to alcohol, I felt there was no way I could go to a gay bar! 2015 & 2016 weren’t much better, and still, I was too afraid. I wasn’t in any drag race groups, I didn’t follow the queens on social media until late in 2016 because I didn’t think I belonged.
Things began to change when my sister told me that a group of boys from Australia was going to be coming to our town to stay for 10 days and needed host families – one of which was a 17-year-old drag queen who loved RuPaul & Adore Delano. I told her TAKE HIM! A couple of weeks later she told me he was indeed going to be staying with her, so I was able to get to know him a bit in between his day trips around Northern California. It was because of him that I decided to ignore my family who didn’t think I should go to the dark, deserted parts of Modesto to see my first drag show, my first queen, my love, Adore, in January of 2017.
I didn’t buy m&g for the show – I was far too scared & worried I’d cry my eyes out & make Adore uncomfortable, but my hope to avoid that didn’t quite work out as planned! I mean I stumbled out of a stall in the bathroom, trying to pull my pants up, just to see Adore walk in and stop 2 feet away from me! I froze! I couldn’t see her face but she could see mine. Her staring at my eyes bugging out, me staring at the dark place where her features were hidden. I finally reached up, yanked twice on the other door and opened it for her and she thanked me in a sweet voice. After that, I made an ass out of myself in front of John as well…! But I mean, the bathroom was tiny and she was so incredibly beautiful & my mind went on the fritz!
Take Me There
After living through that crazy encounter I fully enjoyed the show. She was incredible, and it was everything I could have hoped for in an Adore show. I didn’t know it at the time, but that night was to be the catalyst to meeting some amazing people and finding a family I never knew I needed.
After that show, I was still a bit hesitant about going to shows, but I made a few choices for my life at that point. First as scary as my circumstances were I was not in dire straights. I could afford to work on studying for my big certification exam and have fun for a change without worrying about the struggle of my mid-career job search. I began using some of my previously cashed out retirement account money to do what I wanted – to have fun!
In February I started doing perler art. After being in the UCLA Rally Committee when I was in college and doing card shows at home football games (as well as the card show in the movie Forrest Gump), I figured I could use the grid format for the beads to create some cool pictures. I was making one for Take Me There as my first project – with Valentine’s candy heart held between Adore’s teeth & as I was almost finished with it suddenly Adore announced that she was almost at 1 million followers. How perfect was that? Take Me There and 1 million IG followers! So I had to make some changes of course & add that in! From there I’ve gone on to create a bunch of pieces, not just for Adore, but for other Ru girls, for John, and for some of my friends. Meet & Greets are awkward, so being able to create something artistic and unique has helped me to have something to say instead of just fumbling with words as I likely would otherwise.
After that first show in January, I went to see Mariah, Pandora, & Jasmine in Sacramento and felt a bit more comfortable going to shows. It’s not just the Ru girls who are fantastic though – there are some amazing local queens in the central valley of California and in just those two shows a few of them stole my heart! At the same time, I began making friends in the Adore fandom, joining a group on the #ProjectAdoreYourself movement and ultimately the gift project that was to be presented to Adore in Las Vegas. When I found out about the Vegas show I told my mother, who had been living with me since 2013. Shockingly she said she wanted to go too! She doesn’t leave the house except to go to the doctors but said she wanted to make the trip to watch Adore perform!! She has major anxiety and was recovering from a heart attack but she wanted to go! So hell yeah we were gonna’ do it!
I was honestly so scared for Vegas…until I had a conversation with a fan after one of Adore’s tweets…and he liked our conversation…and responded to me! I brought gifts for John & Adore. John was so happy and smiley and my heart melts thinking about it. Then Adore – I still hear his voice in my ear telling me he loves me so much and knows I always have his back. The whole encounter was amazing, but then the performance! The acoustic versions of well-known songs, the first time Pretty Boys Cry was performed live, and then Adore becoming Danny right before our eyes! Prompted me to create this masterpiece which now hangs on my wall.
‘Cause I Like Wearing Stories…’
OC Pride was the first group gift project I created on my own, and it was…big. Huge. As long as my bed as it turns out! I’m not sure exactly where it came from, but the concept for Adore’s Stories hit me one day and I was so proud of the concept at inception and the final result was more than I could have imagined!
The initial plan was based on how Adore always talks about “wearing stories.” He likes thrifting, thinking about the stories of the people who owned items before he did. So I wanted to give that to him in a different way. I asked fans to send me pieces of clothing, something that meant something to them, and to write a story about the item. The items and stories didn’t have to be about Adore or drag. Just something that had meaning so he could learn a little more about his fans. Some of the stories were funny, some were sweet, some heartbreaking and inspiring, but all were beautiful and perfect and were sure to touch his heart when he read them. When he talks about how he has to drink wine when he reads his letters I get it. Man do I get it.
There were over 50 people involved in this project, but not all could send me fabric. There were people from other countries who wanted to participate but it was impractical to ship to me, so I spent a couple days researching and found the answer – printable fabric! I collected pictures of their items, as well as artwork, pictures of people who’d met each other because of Adore, and selfies of people with Adore or Danny. When I was explaining the scarf during the meet and greet he ran away from me cause he got too emotional. When I explained the stories he said, “You’re trying to make me cry!” I told him I’d been crying all week and that I make the kids on twitter cry – he laughed and then hugged me tightly. He’s such a good sport that he wore the scarf when he met with most of our group and beyond even though the room was really hot.
The anticipation of Whatever was strong over the summer and when I found out the first show after the break he took from performing (later to be supplanted by the shows in Idaho) was going to happen in Vegas I was determined to go back! The show at Piranha the first time was amazing and I knew this was going to be just as epic! In terms of group projects, I went from one extreme in size of gifts to another! I collected charms from fans for both Adore and John and made bracelets for them. There were a couple of necklaces as well and I made scrapbooks for each of them, which included explanations of the charms each person chose and artwork for both of them as well. John is always so kind and appreciative when we give him gifts & he said he was going to sit in his hotel room and read through the book.
I gave Adore another scrapbook for a second group gift – the Whatever World Tour Scrapbook. This one had an instruction page and a couple pages for Negative Nancy. This gift project is meant to show him just how connected so many of us are because of his creation – Adore. I told him as Adore tours the world my friends would be giving him additional pages for the scrapbook for other songs. Since the album wasn’t out yet and DragWorld was going to be the following weekend we didn’t start the delivery of pages until the birthday tour. Thanks to two of my friends I was able to see one of the pages, “Whole 9 Yards” delivered to Adore in Liverpool and it was a beautiful thing to see!
My last gifts were from me. Before I unloaded all of these gifts on him I apologized for having so much, but he said it was fine. I asked if we could pose with my Negative Nancy and Whatever pieces and he said, “let’s get our gigs.” He said he liked the black roses I used to secure the cord on Whatever & asked how long it takes me to make these pieces. I said Whatever took about a full day and Negative Nancy took two. Some I can put together pretty quickly, but some have taken as long as four days.
Next month I’m flying to North Carolina with my mother to see Adore for the next tour, and to meet a group of mutuals, most for the first time! Watching the birthday tour so far has been amazing. Seeing the freedom, the joy, the pure love that he emits as Adore is meeting fans and performing is such a beautiful thing. Seeing her perform with a live band, oh man I cannot wait!
The Whatever World Tour scrapbook project is ongoing and we’re still collecting submissions for most songs. Inquiries can be sent to me on twitter @RebUCLAWriter. You can also look up the same name on Youtube to see all my videos of Adore and others performing. To see my artwork check me out on IG – Beca9718Cava