VERA! A Drag King You Should Know
Meet Vera Hannush, an Oakland-based drag king. With a massive collection of fanny packs and a heart full of acceptance and love they are winning the hearts of the Bay Area. VERA! is a queer Armenian drag king, dancer and community activist. They performed at Heklina’s memorial as the Mx. Starsearch 2022 winner. VERA! Brings infectious laughter with them and the work they do to foster a strong community is inspiring. I am a fan forevermore, and luckily for us they will be performing all this Pride month.
What is your day job?
I’m the Associate Director of Development at the Alameda Health System Foundation, which supports the safety net hospital system providing accessible care to all, a Mobile Health Clinic, and amazing community programs like a black-led perinatal care program and training program for BIPOC youth to pursue healthcare careers.
How did your drag story begin?
I moved to the Bay Area in 2005 and began attending the Rebel Kings show at the White Horse in Oakland. I fell in love! I started as a tip collector, then backup dancer, then duet partner, and then joined troupe and now I’m a cohost of the Rebel Kings show (1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesdays), and perform all around the Bay Area and beyond, from Golden Hour on Baker Beach to the Austin International Drag Festival!
My drag family is both my Rebel Kings brothers, my own drag family, the House of Pack – I have 25 wonderful drag children and a dozen grandchildren, and the broader Bay Area drag community! I love supporting my brothers and children and grandchildren, going to their shows, sharing all their social content, and more. I’m called the Bay Area Drag Grandpa and Biggest Fan 🙂
Tell me about Star Search?
I was honored to be asked to compete in what would become the last Star Search pageant. I won and am now Mx. Starsearch in perpetuity! I was the first drag king to win in the over-25-year history of the pageant, and I’m honored to uplift the king community in this way.
How do drag and activism intersect for you?
They are inseparable; our art and expression in and of itself is an act of advocacy for our different identities, expressions, and how we walk in the world. Additionally, through drag I fundraise for different causes, from trans/gnc healthcare to communities experiencing homelessness to BIPOC artists to disability justice to environmental justice. I’m proud to be on the board of Oaklash, uplifting black and brown performers; the Lead Volunteer Trainer on the LGBT National Hotline; and the Co-Director of Drag Story Hour – Bay Area.
What is the future of drag?
The future of drag is the future; it’s greater inclusivity and expression, it’s leaving behind any obstacles we place in front of ourselves, it’s delving deeper into our expression and creativities and fighting for our comfort and safety as we do so! The future of drag is anyone who wants to do drag being able to do so and have an incredible journey.
Anything else that is important to include about your experience.
I am a proud queer and trans Armenian American drag king. I love bringing all of those elements to my drag. Drag helped me explore my gender and celebrate my culture and I am so grateful for drag as a space and as a family and community!
Any big shows coming up?
I will be at the Trans Futures Stage 6/24, Juanita More’s Pride Party (bringing some Armenian dance!) and ENVY at El Rio on 6/25. After being part of the grand marshal contingent as Co-Director of Drag Story Hour, and I will be cohosting the Drag King Takeover of Princess at Oasis with headliner Tenderoni on 7/8. I’m also in a YouTube miniseries with my drag brother Jota Mercury called “City Folx” and we’re shooting Season 2 this summer – catch up on Season 1!
Watch “City Folx”- youtube.com/c/CityFolxWebseries