Enjoy a front-row seat at Diné Pride’s Christmas drag show

More than 200 people attended the event to raise money for scholarships.

  • Nova Martini, Jade Martini and Tomahawk Martini, all members of Blackout ABQ, get ready for the Diné Pride Christmas Drag Show Benefit. The eight girl group traveled from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Window Rock, Arizona, to headline the event.

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  • Chanel Ticey wraps her hair in duct tape before putting on a wig.

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  • Backstage, Nova Martini steam-straightens a long blond wig.

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  • Té Diamond, Miss Apache Diva 2018-2019, poses before the show.

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  • Emcee Mattee Jim dabs the sweat from her face as she wraps her moccasins. It takes time to wrap the deer hide tightly so that it doesn’t unravel on stage.

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  • Chanel Ticey and Paige Smith prepare for the show. Smith has been performing in drag shows for almost three decades.

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  • Paige Smith poses in a dim light on a closed-curtain stage. Smith, the oldest performer here, identifies as Two Spirit.

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  • Leslie Lewinsky lip-synchs on stage.

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  • Jade Martini lies on the stage after a dramatic drop during her performance.

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  • Performers help each other prepare for their sets.

    Jolene Yazzie/High Country News
  • Leslie Lewinsky puts on an open-toe heel between her performances.

    Jolene Yazzie/High Country News
  • Chanel Ticey dances into the crowd during her performance.

    Jolene Yazzie/High Country News
  • Chanel Ticey models her jewelry and makeup backstage.

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  • Blackout, Tomahawk Martini, Avery Taureaux, Nova Martini and Jade Martini close the show with a dance to “Spice Up Your Life” by the Spice Girls.

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  • Paige Smith applauds at the end of the Diné Pride Christmas Drag Show Benefit.

    Jolene Yazzie/High Country News

 

Navajo drag queens from across Dinetah came together in Window Rock, Arizona, on Dec. 14 to celebrate Christmas and raise money for scholarships. Drag shows have become more popular on the Navajo Nation over the years, and since 2018, Diné Pride has hosted LGBTQ+ events in Indian Country with the goal of “honoring & celebrating our LGBTQ+ relatives.” More than 200 people attended the Diné Pride Christmas Drag Show Benefit. This year’s theme was “Red and Turquoise.” For 53-year-old Paige Smith, the show had special significance: It marked the first time her mother and sister had ever seen her perform. All proceeds went to the Diné Pride LGBTQ+ Youth Scholarship Fund.

Jolene Yazzie is an editorial intern at High Country News. Email us at [email protected]