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RuPaul’s Drag Race champion Sasha Velour is staying true to her word.
Just under two weeks after nabbing the crown on the VH1 reality competition series, the avant-garde art queen is following through on her promise to promote alternate styles of drag during her reign, as evidenced by EW’s exclusive first look at the latest issue of her publication Velour: The Drag Magazine, which includes 116 pages of artwork, editorial shoots, and boundary-pushing fashions from over 50 artists.
The new edition features a collage — curated by Velour in collaboration with photographer Patrick Arias — featuring some of Drag Race‘s most memorable season 9 contestants, including controversial contestant Valentina, who rubbed audiences (and her fellow contestants) the wrong way during a fiery reunion episode that saw her sisters criticizing her for failing to stand up to online bullies who targeted the cast following her shocking elimination.
Velour also poses with fellow season 9 finalist Shea Couleé — her friend and two-time challenge co-winner she sent home during the final episode’s intense sudden death lip-sync performance — in a multi-page editorial titled “Bon Nuit,” shot by Adam Ouahmane.
“I believe drag is a form of activism. It centers queer people and queer ways of being beautiful, especially in a political context where beauty is narrowly defined or what’s considered important or valuable is narrowly defined,” Velour previously told EW of her focus on expanding perceptions of the art form. “Drag always offers a different option or a variety of different options.”
She continued: “Drag resists conservatism in the most basic way possible, and also in the most effective way possible because it’s improper when it comes to looks, which is everything in conservative systems. Conservatism is all about surfaces and labels and presentation, and drag says, no, we refuse to follow any rules about that. It’s also fun and freeing, and that, in itself, is oppositional to cultures of fear and hate.”
Created by Velour and her partner, Johnny, Velour: The Drag Magazine celebrates “the breadth of drag, not just today, but across history (even imagining drag in the future)” through “comics, photography, collage, conversation, and experimental design,” according to a press statement.
The new issue of Velour: The Drag Magazine launches Wednesday at Velour’s ongoing show Nightgowns, which seats guests at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET at 80 North 6th Street in Brooklyn. For more updates on Velour’s post-Drag Race activities, visit her website here.