Mane Entertainment hosted Silky Nutmeg Ganache for “Category is … Silky Nutmeg Ganache Realness” on Sept. 9 at St. Robert’s Auditorium. Her arrival marked Mane Entertainment’s first on-campus celebrity performance in three years. Ganache is an internationally-known drag queen, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumna, Ph.D. candidate and former college recruiter. Though she’s toured around the world, she prefers to perform on college campuses to engage with young students.
At 6 p.m., students evading the rain arrived an hour early to secure a spot in the meet and greet. Remi Feldman, junior political science and English double major, played 20 Questions with friends in line as she recalled seeing Ganache perform years prior to her time on television. “The drag space is influenced by really old drag — [the drag queens] are often very skinny and white, and [Silky] says ‘F— it. This is my drag and I’m here to show it off. If you don’t like it, I don’t care,’” said Feldman. “I love that energy [onstage]. You know she’s having fun.”
Mane Entertainment encouraged students to attend in drag, which prompted Andrew Simpson, a senior music and psychology double major and Mane Entertainment marketing manager, to debut his drag persona Mira Mira. “My face took two hours. And then it took another hour to get into all of my clothes,” said Simpson. “There’s no better time than tonight … It feels amazing. I was looking at myself in the mirror — I was like, ‘I don’t recognize myself.’ Besides that, it’s really uncomfortable, but it’s worth every moment of it.”
At 7:30 p.m., donning a bejeweled blue fringe jumpsuit, long dark hair and silver strappy heel sandals, Ganache greeted the audience to raucous applause, but the microphones weren’t working. “We’re going to get this microphone and this music right because y’all deserve that,” said Ganache. She scrimmaged with three microphones with humor and pageant class. Then, after reintroducing herself to the audience, she started her Whitney Houston setlist.
Following the set, Ganache shared life advice in a personal Q+A. “It just goes to show you — when you have talent, you have talent, and over the years, I’ve had talent doing a lot of different things,” explained Ganache. “I’ve had talent being a college recruiter; I’ve had talent back in the days when I used to have a lawn service. I had talent back in the day. I’m just a naturally gifted person.”
She spoke about her journey starting drag, and the aftermath of competing on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” twice.
Ganache punctuated her advice by recalling her experience in academics — she encouraged students to dig deeper with their talents. In college, Ganache first studied Pre-med, but during her sophomore year, she realized she didn’t want to be a doctor at 50 years old. And though the students in attendance had questions, Ganache asked questions of her own. “Do you have a narrow dream? Or do you explore? As college students, I want you to understand that you should be able to explore now,” she explained.
After the show, the winner of the makeup contest and the first nine students in line gathered to meet Ganache. Simpson did not win the contest, and had planned to leave and get out of drag, but was called to the stage. “Seeing her in person reminded me this is a real person; they started where everyone else started,” said Simpson. “Everyone has a different journey, but I feel like my journey is finally taking flight. Especially, finally meeting Silky in person, and in drag [myself], it was just so transformative.”