There is a whole universe of drag outside RuPaul’s Drag Race. It exists in badly lit bars and on red-curtained stages all over the world — and has for more than a century. But now it also exists online, and the internet has provided community connections and platforms for queens to make a name for themselves without appearing on TV.
BibleGirl has amassed a huge social media following by leaning into her persona as "internet reality trash," making sure that her audience is always laughing with her by making them laugh at her. If you put some lipstick on the phrase "I'm shook," it would be BibleGirl — less of a drag queen than a living meme, a Twitter presence with fake eyelashes.
But the persona stemmed from a place of authenticity. "I learned that criticism was something I could embrace," BibleGirl said. "You take this garbage that isn't necessarily true and integrate it into what I'm about. I took what people [said to] invalidate me as a drag queen and memeified that into the monster of a meme that the brand has become today."
"I learned from Twitter that if you're constantly making fun of yourself based on what other people are saying about you — embracing the material is really what it came down to."
BibleGirl used her public notoriety as a perfect platform to launch DragQueenMerch.com, which has unarguably cornered the market on drag queen merchandise. In the wake of Drag Race, merchandise has been one of the main ways queens earn income. But local queens without the RuPaul stamp of approval didn’t have access to a wider audience, and DragQueenMerch.com aimed to given them that accessibility.
"The website had created this sense of counter-culture to what Drag Race has created, having a mainstream seat at the table but breaking the precedent that you have to be on television to be a part of this conversation," she said.
We're able to build our own community and create our own venues of visibility rather than having to go through the one we've had for the past nine seasons. I really wanted to bring in this sense of community and help out my girlfriends capitalize on their shit because they should be, they shouldn't be having a TV culture nominate what they can and can't do with their own art and business.
DragQueenMerch snowballed quickly as queens recommended it to one another, and soon Hot Topic was interested in carrying the line in stores across America and online. But BibleGirl was adamant that Hot Topic would need to offer a comprehensive roster of merchandise from different queens.
"It cannot all be Drag Race queens; that is not the point of why we're doing this," she explained. "There are so many girls that aren't on the show that deserve so much more representation and they're doing all this hustle on their own."
BibleGirl's empire doesn’t stop with DragQueenMerch, she’s also the star of an app game, BibleGirl's Big Apple. The game is similar to Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and in fact the Kardashians are a huge influence to BibleGirl.
"I'm obsessed with how they have built this empire out of nothing but being really good at business," she explained. "I like to draw a lot of parallels to how they’ve marketed themselves and been very unapologetic, putting everything they do out there. They know how to hone social media as a second language. I was blown away that Kim could put out a game and make $54 million in the first few months."
Like the Kardashians, BibleGirl and drag as an industry have tapped into the cash cow of consumers: teenage girls. Both Drag Race and the internet have introduced teenage girls to outrageously heightened models of hyperfemininity. For teenage girls around the world, drag queens are the new pop stars, the new socialites, the new reality trash. And BibleGirl is happy to be glamorous garbage.
"[Teenage girls] and kids on the LGBTQ spectrum are told to suppress who they are in different facets, and to be able to see a drag queen hold their head high and be who they are, that takes a strong hold of someone. It becomes this passion and adoration for someone who represents everything they're told they shouldn't be."