On Wednesday, May 10th, UCLA was graced with the presence of Katya Zamolodchikova, RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7 contestant (and one of my absolute favorites, tbh).
The 35 year-old glamazon gave a very entertaining and at times very serious talk, covering everything from racism to drug addiction to witchcraft, followed by a hilarious Q&A session.
Starting by talking about her encounters with the ‘Hillpeople’ (a term Katya used repeatedly to describe people who are less understanding of things like basic racial inequality and gender). One particular encounter was an Uber driver, who, after hearing Katya discuss the concept of gender identity, replied “hmm. I never thought of it like that.” This simple anecdote shows how powerful a small discussion can be in changing how someone see the world – even Hillpeople.
Later on, Katya discussed her struggle with drug addiction. Using the metaphor of standing on the edge of oblivion, she explained that her use of drugs in attempts to numb her anxiety eventually led to using methamphetamines- something which could have very quickly ended her life. Katya still supports the use of recreational drugs, but warns against using drugs to solve personal problems.
She went on to say that her escape from the foul clutches of addiction was only made possible through helping others. She found that helping others made her feel something she hadn’t felt before. Katya even went as far as amending Mama Ru’s famous “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love someone else?” by saying “If you can’t help somebody else, how in the hell are you gonna help yourself?”
Daemon, a first-year MIMG transfer and Drag Race enthusiast, said that he enjoyed the event because “Katya’s speech was less of a scripted monologue and more of a candid dialogue… [and] although her dialogue was raw (pun intended), it was refreshing.”
Thank you to the Campus Events Commission for putting on this event, and hopefully we will see more queer events from CEC in the future.