Hunty, you can stop practicing your dream Drag Race entrance every time you pass through the automatic doors at Target, because RuPaul’s DragCon is bringing the fantasy of the Werk Room to life for your sashaying pleasure.
EW can exclusively reveal that the upcoming convention’s West Coast edition will feature an interactive installation of the RuPaul’s Drag Race Werk Room, which fans can stomp through to their heart’s desire.
“It’s the set, it’s not a replica,” Fenton Bailey, who co-created the Emmy-winning reality series and produces DragCon alongside his World of Wonder partner, Randy Barbato, tells EW. Barbato adds: “It will be to scale, and it will feel fully immersive. So, when you step inside, you’re going to think, ‘Where’s my wig!?'”
As part of the Werk Room installation, fans can even get a close-up look RuPaul’s stairway and the iconic entrance doors every Drag Race contestant stomps through upon entering the competition.
For the 2018 installment, DragCon is welcoming more queens than ever before, including 85 already-confirmed queens — RuPaul herself, All Stars 2 champion Alaska, and All Stars 3 fan-favorite Trixie Mattel, among others — who will appear throughout the three-day event. More special guest announcements will be made in the weeks ahead.
Barbato and Bailey say they’re proud of this year’s growing roster of panel discussions, too. One, hosted by Phi Phi O’Hara, will spotlight the resilience of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and Barbato explains that another might touch on issues related to cyberbullying many of the Drag Race contestants face after going on the show.
“What’s unique about this community is that it is a tribe and people who feel connected to each other, and often others’ reactions are unfiltered and inappropriate,” he observes. “Fortunately, so many of the contestants and the queens have formed a sorority, and they support one another. [But] we take all of that seriously, and there will probably be a panel [addressing it].”
DragCon Los Angeles’ 2017 edition was attended by more than 40,000 people, and the event’s growing popularity spawned a companion convention in New York last fall. Returning in 2018 is the popular Kids Zone attraction, which brought family-focused activities like coloring stations, a bounce house, and a live version of Michelle Tea’s Drag Queen Story Hour to the floor last year. Characters from World of Wonder’s Drag Tots series are expected to appear at DragCon, too.
“It’s like Teletubbies in drag,” Barbato says of the animated program. Bailey adds: “But [they’re] a lot gayer than Tinky Winky!”
RuPaul’s DragCon Los Angeles takes over the L.A. Convention Center May 11-13. For tickets, click here. The third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars currently airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on VH1.