'RuPaul’s Drag Race' alumni Dusty Ray Bottoms, real name Dustin Rayburn, is in South Africa on tour and is performing in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The New York City-based drag performer - who is known for the signature dots on her face and an alternative approach to drag - has been travelling the world, and is now bringing her unique approach to the art of drag to South Africa.
Ever since the popular reality show has taken the world by storm. South African fans of the show have been yearning for their favourite queens to perform in the country. In the early days of the show, All-Stars 3 alumni Shangela and All-Stars 4 contestant Latrice Royale have visited the country in 2013 and 2012, respectively.
2018 was the first year that queens from the show started performing in the country since the show received mainstream recognition.
Season six winner Bianca Del Rio and All-Stars 4 alumni Phi Phi Ora both performed in the country last year. Now Bottoms is in the country and ready why she made it onto the show in the first place.
We chatted to the Drag Race superstar before her first performance at Babylon in Johannesburg on Friday and Zer021 Social Club in Cape Town on Saturday.
Taking part on the 10th season of the Emmy award-winning show, Bottoms says following the airing of the show she received an outpouring of love from the vibrant Drag Race fan community. And one of the best things for her was “being able to share my story” on such a huge platform. Adding that seeing all the fan art is something she really treasures.
Going into the reality TV competition show, Bottoms went into the show very excited and while it was a cool experience the “Neva Lavd Yah” singer did feel intimated on the first day walking into the workroom. But after a few days, she did settle in.
One of the most emotional moments from the show actually came from Bottoms as she shared her coming out story which included her being sent to gay conversion therapy.
Bottoms said the reason she shared her story was that she thought it was the right time to shine a light on the issue. Furthermore, the response she received from other gay men who went through a similar experience was very therapeutic and showed them that they're not alone.
Durning season ten, the most memorable Lipsync For Your Life was between Bottoms and All-Stars 4 contestant Monet X Change - lipsyncing to "Pound The Alarm" by Nicki Minaj. Going into the lipsync Bottoms' heart dropped knowing she would have to face off against her New York City sister.
And once Bottoms knew the song they would be lipsyncing to, she knew the cards were is X Change’s favour. Being that Minaj's songs are right in X Change’s wheelhouse. Her fear was proven right as she had to sashay away.
However, she bounced make after the show and is very glad she went on the show.
Bottoms said that fans can expect live singing and a dark musical theatre experience at her shows. Bottom said she never thought as a gay boy from Louisville, Kentucky, she would travel the world as a drag queen, eventually performing in a country in Africa.
'RuPaul’s Drag Race' has been a huge vehicle with regards to queer acceptance in media, and the show has been a pioneer in turning gay culture into pop culture.
And since the show moved from the queer-centric network Logo to VH1, it has become an even bigger mainstream success.
Bottoms said the move to a bigger platform gave the show an opportunity to reach a wider and younger demographic. Using Desmond "Desi" Napoles, the 11-year-old, drag performer as an example of someone who was able to be exposed to drag and at her young age.
"RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 4" is currently airing, with SA viewers being able to watch the following day after the US airdate on Netflix.
Bottoms revealed that she’s rooting for her season 10 sister, Monique Heart, adding that Heart has the drive and has been turning both the main challenges and the "lewks" this season. Bottoms top four predictions include Heart, Trinity The Tuck, Manila Luzon and Naomi Smalls.
Dusty Ray Bottoms is performing at Babylon - The Joburg Bar on Friday, 18 January.
Tickets are R150 pre-sale at Nutickets and R200 at the door.
Then Saturday, 19 January at Zer021 Social Club in Cape Town.
Tickets are R130 pre-sale at Computicket and R180 at the door.
Doors open at 8pm with the show starting in Johannesburg at 11pm and Cape Town at 10pm.