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The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The art of local drag queen, Shabloop Ms. Gaggy

Shabloop+Ms.+Gaggy+uses+a+water+steamer+to+help+detangle+her+wig%2C+before+securing+it+on+her+top-bun+with+bobby+pins+on+Sunday%2C+April+7%2C+2024%2C+at+LIPS.+Doing+drag+puts+your+body+through+so+much+pain%2C+Shabloop+said.+The+constriction+from+your+tights%2C+to+your+wig+being+on+too+tight%2C+the+headaches%2C+to+your+eyes+drying+out+because+your+lashes+are+too+heavy+--+they+have+been+on+for+so+long.
Grace Logan
Shabloop Ms. Gaggy uses a water steamer to help detangle her wig, before securing it on her top-bun with bobby pins on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at LIPS. “Doing drag puts your body through so much pain,” Shabloop said. “The constriction from your tights, to your wig being on too tight, the headaches, to your eyes drying out because your lashes are too heavy — they have been on for so long.”

Feb. 11, 2013: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 5, Episode 2 rerun – Thirteen queens remain competing for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” and a grand prize of $200,000. After completing this episode’s challenges, Monica Beverly Hillz and Serena ChaCha were up for elimination. The two lip-synched “Only Girl (In the World)” by Rihanna. Serena ChaCha was eliminated and the episode ended, quickly fading to commercial.   

Local Chicago drag queen Shabloop Ms. Gaggy was in seventh grade then. She sat in front of her television screen, eyes wide, trying to make sure she remembered it all: the makeup, the theatrics, the gaudiness of the garments and the queens — especially the queens.  

Shabloop said there were aspects of herself that she always wanted to explore growing up.

In elementary school, Shabloop wore lip gloss; a teacher’s aide wiped it off. She wore a clear coat of nail polish; other students asked her why her nails were shiny. Shabloop hoped she could openly express this part of herself, but she was immediately shot down again and again. 

Shabloop vividly remembers the day she first saw Season 5, Episode 2. It was a Monday morning with all the makings of a typical Chicago winter’s day. She stayed home from school and haphazardly scrolled the channels to pass the time. 

But that day, when she saw the episode rerun, something changed. Jinkx Monsoon, Detox, Roxxxy Andrews, Alaska, Alyssa Edwards and other cast members of season five of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” led by example and permitted her to explore. 

That same day, Shabloop made a promise to herself. 

“I always would tell myself, ‘I’m going to do this,’ ‘this is what I want to do,’ ‘that’s going to be my calling,” Shabloop said.

It’s been years since she first discovered drag. Shabloop, now 23, works as a resident house queen at LIPS, Chicago Drag Show Palace nightspot in the South Loop. 

Shabloop Ms. Gaggy gets ready in the communal dressing room on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at LIPS. That evening she performed “insert song title” by Doja Cat for LIPS’ dinner show. (Grace Logan)

Rhinestones, diamonds, feathers. A head-to-toe sewn gown isn’t complete without a big headpiece to top it off and, for Shabloop, more can always be more. Sunday, April 7 she took to the stage in a neon green rhinestone encrusted bodysuit and white stiletto thigh-high boots — never will Ms. Gaggy be caught in a little one-two church heel.  

Head held high, she twirls around the LIPS dining room and puts on a show for each and every table. She’s tipped a dollar here, a dollar there. She does a cartwheel here and a cartwheel there. 

“Shabloop is high energy, dancing-diva-down,” fellow resident LIPS queen Princess Janelza said. “Without a doubt, she’s going to turn the party every single time she’s on stage.” 

Before exiting the stage, she presses both hands to her lips, blows a kiss to her audience and flashes them her thousand-watt smile. 

A pageant-inspired queen through and through, Shabloop practiced each performance to perfection. 

“Shabloop is the type that has never met a stranger because when she meets you, she’s going to talk your ear off,” fellow resident LIPS queen Kenya J. Sanchez said. 

Shabloop performs about seven shows a week at different bars throughout the city: LIPS every Wednesday night, Charlie’s every other Thursday night and, again, LIPS every Saturday brunch, Saturday night, Sunday brunch and Sunday night. 

“She’s probably one of the hardest working people I know, genuinely, and I can say that,” Janelza said. “Knowing her and seeing her work ethic, what she strives to do, it’s inspiring honestly. I really appreciate her as a friend, more than she knows.”

Shabloop Ms. Gaggy lifts her leg during her performance for a dinner crowd at LIPS on Sunday, April 7, 2024. When asked about who Shabloop is, she said that “She is rambunctious, she is chaotic good — chaotic good for sure. She’s definitely, she’s like disorganized, organized if that makes sense. She’s such an experience that it’s not something you can put into words, but when you hang out with her for one night, that will be a night you remember for years and years and years.” (Grace Logan)

And with each performance, she carries that young girl from years ago. 

The same girl who spent all her Christmas money on makeup from Walgreens, hiding it from her parents in a drawstring bag under her bed. The same girl who spent most of her afternoons in the public library, not wanting to be home. The same girl who dropped out of high school and spent her days studying black and white photos, trying to learn to contour. 

And, especially, the same girl who was the cousin of the late Veronica Lopez. 

Back in 2016, Veronica was on the corner of North Shore Drive near Fullerton Avenue. She was a freshman at North-Grand High School. She was 15, and on May 28, 2016, she was fatally shot. 

Shabloop and her cousin were the same age back then. They grew up together.  

Shabloop remembers: It was a Saturday and her parents woke her up at 5 a.m. to tell her the news. She went to debate club that morning anyways because she told herself she would be fine. She thought she would be fine. 

Instead, she spent the next few hours in the bathroom of her school, trying to calm herself down.

Veronica was popular, so the funeral was big. It lasted three days: two for the wake and one for the burial. There, they played “Dreaming of You” by Selena on repeat. 

For a long while, Shabloop couldn’t hear that song without breaking down. 

Late at night when all the world is sleeping, 

I stay up and think of you 

and I wish on a star that somewhere

you are thinking of me too,’ the song goes. 

Later on, Shabloop did a memorial performance for her cousin in drag. She wore a big, dramatic quinceañera dress and held a candle, lip-syncing Selena’s lyrics to a crowd in Milwaukee. This performance, which honored her cousin and provided her with closure — that is her proudest moment in drag. 

Every time Shabloop travels along North Shore Drive, passing Fullerton Avenue, she thinks of Veronica. 

“I feel like I’m always going to a show with her with me,” Shabloop said. “That’s what’s really important to me. The one thing I’d love to do — I can only imagine getting on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ — is to have this big platform and be able to shed light on Chicago gun violence.” 

The purpose drag provided Shabloop has changed. When she first began to explore it, Shabloop felt displaced within herself, with who she was and what she was. Drag helped her find a path and focus her energy. 

“Now, drag is not only living for me, but it’s also…” she takes a long pause and a deep breath. “They say, when you do work, it isn’t work if you enjoy it. That’s very much how I feel drag is for me.”

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