Laganja Estranja admits coronavirus has ‘greatly impacted her career’ – but she won’t be defeated by lockdown
Drag Race star Laganja Estranja is one of countless queer performers who’ve taken a financial hit due to coronavirus.
With queer venues closed and Pride events cancelled across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on drag queens and other queer creatives who depend on performing to make a living.
“Coronavirus has greatly impacted my career,” Laganja told PinkNews.
“Since the beginning of March I’ve seen gigs cancelled one after the other. With Pride Month around the corner this has left me really nervous.
“Unfortunately, I do not have a ton of savings to fall back on. I have a little cushion but [it won’t last] for very long.”
Coronavirus takes its toll on the drag scene.
Many of Laganja Estranja’s Drag Race sisters have shared similar experiences.
Sasha Velour and Nina West are among those who have been forced to cancel tours due to the pandemic, with both queens telling EW that they’d amassed six-figure losses as a result.
Even RuPaul’s DragCon – a highlight of the drag calendar – has been cancelled, which season 11 queen Soju said represents a personal loss of about $20,000.
But the impact on queer performers isn’t just financial.
Nicky Monet, a California-based queen and self-described “burlesque super star”, told PinkNews that coronavirus has also had a huge effect on her emotional wellbeing.
Drag is my gateway out of depression and into creativity and overall happiness, so staying at home has really affected me emotionally.
Stuck at home without her usual creative outlets, Nicky has found her “soul dampened” by reports of fatalities across the globe.
“I really feel for the world. However I try to stay positive as much possible.”
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For many queens, the only streams of income available to them for the foreseeable future are selling merchandise, collaborating with brands and taking part in virtual drag shows.
Laganja Estranja wants you to ‘tip these dolls honey’.
Laganja said she considers herself incredibly fortunate in this respect.
“I am so lucky that I have an online platform, and that I am able to translate my artwork from the stage to the digital world.”
With Prides being cancelled around the world, she underlined the importance of celebrating each other, and said she hopes the internet can help people to connect.
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For those who want to support their favourite queens, Laganja has a few suggestions.
“Fans can support queens watching their Instagram Lives, by tuning into things like #DigitalDrag, and by tipping these dolls honey!”
We all have Venmos and PayPals that will gladly accept coins.
Nicky added that although many queens are more reliant on being tipped digitally, fans who are struggling themselves shouldn’t feel any obligation.
“Nobody has a job right now, so we understand if you can’t tip. But come and join us and make us feel happy. Let’s spread the love and joy.”