There's nothing more marvelous than getting dolled up and going to an event! Over the past years I've had the fortune to be part of one-of-a-kind and unique productions.
The experiences so far are all interconnected to life both in and out of drag. The result? Ortensia being more than just a performer but it is a professional drag event planning & social media marketing entrepreneur! (Apologies in advance for writing in first and third person.) From marketing for drag performers, to coordinating fashion shows, putting on a drag brunch, and putting up a fabulous display, my experiences have paved a unique path.
Funny, sassy, and a performer like no other, Miss Deelicious has a captivating personality. As one of Rochester's premiere drag performers, Deelicious is a well-known brand in the region.
Tasked with building her social media presence, and expanding her brand awareness outside the 18-24 age group, Miss Deelicious has since appeared at several events catered towards 30 and over. In 2016, she co-hosted the Twilight Couture: Inspiring Beauty Gala After-Party and Inspired Queens Drag Brunch, both held at the Memorial Art Gallery. That same year, along with four other local performers (including yours truly), she appeared in the August issue of Rochester Woman Magazine and their subsequent event Day of Empowering Women...Fashion Is a Drag! event.
Photography provided by Lush Light Photography .
For Sarah Jane McPike, a 'Bettie' is a strong, confident woman who overcomes all sorts of adversity. I was overcoming my own when I first met her. While my friend shopped at the store next door, I was entranced by the Mad Men-inspired gown on display. As I walked in I saw several people dancing to some old tunes. It was there I discovered the vintage culture and pin-up couture.
Over the coming months and years, I advised her on social media strategies, primarily focusing on the store's presence on Facebook. Whether it was announcing events or in-store deals, it was a relief to help a woman who was also overcoming personal obstacles. The biggest project was in October 2014. As creative director for her show during Fashion Week of Rochester, with just a few weeks - and a LOT of coffee (and donuts), Hot Rod Betties was a hit that year! Betties of different sizes, ages, colors and genders got the crowd applauding! It was an absolutely marvelous experience.
I watched her highs, her lows, and assisted in crisis management when her store caught fire in early 2015. Despite the obstacles, Rochester's original Bettie refuses to give up or give in.
Photo by Hot Rod Betties Pinup Photography
If you have never been to a drag brunch - WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! Drag brunches are spectacular, fabulous and (99.999% of the time) family friendly. This was not my first time attending one - but certainly my first producing one! Following the theme of the exhibit Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair, with the help of Toni Events - one of several proud sponsors - everything was setup to breakdown was in good order. In addition to rallying some of the best queens of Western New York, I was also responsible for the marketing and advertisement side of the project: from creating and posting weekly posts to drafting a press release.
The event was beyond successful. Even when we were SOLD OUT we made extra room for the Gallery Director and his guests. Inspired Queens was an absolutely fabulous event - and cannot wait for round two!
I will not - perhaps cannot - deny how important history is to me. Not just as an academic, but as a citizen of the world. Through the studies of peoples, princes and potentates, I have developed a global sense of the world and a cosmopolitan identity. There are no controversial topics, no contemporary issues, that are not too shy to debate. Civilly, of course. In addition to archival research and lecturing, I have also had the fortune to curate exhibitions at various sites.
What can I say? I'm a nerd at heart!