Drag queen Grace Towers with CE artist Nubia Ortega practicing poses on the runway
In the Studio

Drag queen Grace Towers hosts runway workshop for CE artists

Posted on September 17, 2018

In preparation for the Fabulate! fashion show, legendary drag queen and performer Grace Towers visited the Sixteenth Street studio to host a runway walking workshop for the CE artists and staff. Our artists and instructors were able to get a feel for how to walk a runway and hit marks, with a lot of laughter along the way.

The workshop began with a short warm-up exercise as Grace instructed the participants to move through the studio space and practice being mindful of their motion. The artists and staff practiced walking slowly as a group while staying balanced.

After warming up, Grace turned on some upbeat tunes to get the energy flowing. The participants were instructed to get in a single file line at one end of the studio. Each artist then walked down the “runway” with Grace, trying out an “everyday walk,” like one would use when on the street. The group moved on to a faster pace as Grace enlivened each artist to add a little more sass and personality to their walk, testing out new modes of movement.

With an eye for the camera, Grace had each participant strike a pose at the end of the runway. Samedi Djeimguero and Katherine Finn-Gamino, both fashionistas in their own right, held their signature poses for the perfect snapshot! Vincent Jackson, who has been heard around the studio saying, “I’m going to light up that runway,” strutted the runway with confidence and heart. Ade Lewis, who recently joined the studio program and has several 2-D artworks featured in Fabulate!, got into the groove, hitting his pose with crossed-arms and a stern model-esque expression. Each of the participants was able to infuse the movement and poses with their own unique personalities.

Following all the excitement, Grace had all of the participants practice walking as a group to show the full collection, just like at the end of a designer fashion show. Studio artists who wanted to watch the workshop dealt out high-fives and cheered on their fellow artists. Teachers and staff watching turned into a raucous crowd of fans, clapping and whistling.

Finally, Grace had the artists put on garments and headpieces from the Fabulate! collection and began instructing the group on how to model and showcase the pieces. Mixing dance and the previously practiced walks and poses, each artist began strutting the runway with extra sass and exuberance.

Speaking of the workshop, Kelley Kerslake, one of the Fabulate! curators, stated “It was amazing to watch people take up space, get moving, and let inhibitions down. People who you think are reticent were all dancing at the end with the group.” The workshop proved to be a joyous day in the studio. Grace Towers inspired the artists, curators, and staff to get on beat and bring their sassiness and confidence to the runway. Thanks to Grace, we’re sure the Fabulate! fashion show will prove to be a night to remember!

Grace Towers is a world-renowned drag performer, dancer, and self-described “butch queen.” Defying gender norms in and out of drag, Grace brings a playful, sexy, and political edge to her performances and community advocacy. 

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