Almost everyone at ETSU boasts proudly of our famous alum Kenny Chesney, but a new superstar with ties to the university is about to be born.
On March 24 the new season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will premiere and in it will be one of ETSU’s own: Eureka O’Hara.
O’Hara, who got her start locally at New Beginnings, was asleep when she received a life changing phone call from the producers of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“I was actually asleep when they called me the first time, so I thought I had dreamed it,” O’Hara said. “But then when I finally realized I was going to be on the show I dropped my phone right in the toilet. Girl, I scooped that phone up, drove to my momma’s house and cried for three hours I was so excited.”
This season marked O’Hara’s fourth time auditioning for the show, so for her, it represented accomplishing a longtime goal.
O’Hara has been doing drag for seven years and got her start in Johnson City.
“When I was younger I wanted to be a dancer, but I wanted to be a female dancer,” O’Hara said. “So when I saw drag for this first time I thought it was the perfect fit for me.”
For O’Hara, the New Beginnings drag community has been irreplaceable and instrumental in her professional development as a drag queen.
“The more I got involved in pageantry, the drag family at Newbies took me under their wing and I even did several of my audition scenes at that bar,” O’Hara said.
In addition to the Johnson City community, O’Hara gained much of her inspiration and motivation from both her biological mother as well as her drag mother.
“My two mothers are both very strong Amazonian women and they have always taught me to look inside myself, look at what I have to offer, and work hard and be accepting of everyone no matter the size, color or orientation,” O’Hara said.
According to O’Hara, the competition on the show was fierce but friendly.
“When I first met the girls I was just trying to figure out who I needed to beat, but everyone was really nice after the intimidation wore off,” O’Hara said.
While O’Hara withdrew from the university for the semester to participate in the show, she plans to return to ETSU in the fall to continue her studies in theater, mass communication and dance.
For O’Hara the show was a great way to challenge herself and to learn about her area of academic study firsthand.
“I was exposed to both the television culture that I had studied so long and a whole new professional side to drag that was validating and made me feel I was on the right path,” O’Hara said. “This competition challenges your mind and creativity and it pushes you to be a strong competitor.”
In describing her personality, O’Hara cited her positive and exuberant spirit.
“Eureka is big, over the top, loud, really fun, positive and always trying to show people how to let loose,” O’Hara said.
In addition to this, O’Hara is very passionate about portraying body positivity and encouraging people to feel comfortable in their bodies.
“As a plus sized individual I like to pay homage to my plus sized people not only as a drag queen but also for men who feel mistreated in society,” O’Hara said.
According to O’Hara, being plus sized requires her to work extra hard, but it’s worth it to spread her message of self love.
“I have to prove myself times 10 to the public as an entertainer because the smaller girls fit a type and it’s usual for people to automatically love them, but I am constantly working hard to show you can’t discount the big girl and to push how confident I am and how comfortable I am with my body,” O’Hara said.
O’Hara is happy to be living her dream and excited for her future endeavors. She has many things in the works for her professional career and is more motivated than ever.
“I am working on my one woman show which is an accumulation of rap, spoken word, dancing, acting, and monologues as a part of a variety show that I will be traveling with,” O’Hara said. “I am also working on an album about equality where different tracks will focus on different aspects of the LGBT spectrum, and I’m talking to some agencies for possible TV gigs.”
As a parting message, O’Hara wanted to include a thank you to her supporters.
“I love you for your support. We are much more than fans we are a #fambase.”