COM0012 – Blog #7 – Personal Reflection

“Stay Funky!” Sudbury Ontario, 2022

In this module, the focus has been communication – and by result, storytelling. In this course I have learnt just how important it is for digital content to be guided by stories. We live in an age where our attention spans are growing shorter and shorter. In order to attempt to consume as much content and information as we can, this has become almost essential. In order to make others feel like they should be spending their time enjoying the content we are creating, we must give them a good reason. Time is the most valued resource, it is far more important than money, and we have to be mindful of this when deciding how to address our target audiences. 

The stories I want to tell are engaging, fun, and to be totally honest, just worthy. I have worked in hospitality for many years and one of the things that is the most important to me is to remember that when people are choosing to dine in your venue, unless they are in a very remote area, they are choosing your space over multiple other areas. You have to prove to them why they’ve chosen you, and you have to show them that they’ve made the right decision. It’s the same with digital content. We are bombarded with all sorts of information through social media, and I always want to make sure that I am proving that the content I am creating is worthy of my target audience’s time. 

COM0012- Blog 5: A Travel Bug Named Sydney

Exploring the South Island of NZ, 2020

I am a highly energetic, incredibly adaptable, social individual, who absolutely loves meeting new people and going on adventures. This can be verified by essentially anyone who knows me. If you put me in a room filled with people I’ve never met, I’ll be just fine. The first time I boarded a flight on my own I was 12 years old – I flew from Ottawa to Toronto, to Vancouver, to Victoria. At the time I was extremely scared of flying, but that didn’t stop me. I wanted to go and visit family that lived in Victoria, and my parents saw it as a great opportunity for me to develop my independence, so they eagerly brought me to the airport and waved me off. 

I am very adaptable to new settings and enjoy being challenged. I love learning and believe that the best way to learn is by doing things. I care deeply about doing a good job, and the people around me see that. I am very creative, and have a wide skill set – I can edit videos, take beautiful photos, write video scripts, manage and host large events.. I love doing new things and growing my knowledge.

Farm Work Friends, Australia 2018

This desire to explore new places and experience new adventures has only grown stronger as I have gotten older. A few weeks after turning 20, I boarded a flight on my own to travel to the other side of the world, where I backpacked through South Korea, Bali, Australia and New Zealand. I have anxiety so I do have to battle with myself to put myself in these situations, however my desire to live out my dreams of traveling and connecting with new people always outweighs anything else. After over 2 years of traveling and living independently in Oceania I returned home, only to be welcomed by the lockdown less than a month later. During this time I found a new love for my hometown, Ottawa, where I was able to live in multiple different areas of the city, getting to explore new areas of a place I, incorrectly, thought I had known so well. When the restrictions eased from the pandemic I resumed traveling, exploring Coast to Coast in Canada, as well as Hawaii and San Francisco. My next adventure will be in 3 weeks when I travel to the UK and Spain.

Banff 2022 / New Zealand 2020

I am extremely lucky to have such supportive people in my life who see this desire and encourage it. Because of my privilege to travel so much, I have developed a deep love for life on this planet. I have always loved all this world’s critters and characters, but my experiences have created an appreciation I aim to show on a daily basis. I get along with people very easily and really enjoy the company of others, but also love spending time on my own.

My goal is always to make people feel safe and included, I realized that a few years ago. I can appreciate that many people are going through things that I cannot understand, nor relate to- but I can control how I react to it all. I love making people laugh or smile, or just listening to others share their stories.

Puppy snuggles, New Brunswick 2022

What makes me stand out is my resilience of doing whatever I set my mind to. If I have a goal, I will do everything I can to reach it. If I want to become better at something, I will do everything necessary to get to that point. I will spend the rest of my years traveling our beautiful planet and getting to meet incredible new people, and I will continue to put myself in uncomfortable situations where I have no choice but to adapt and grow from those experiences.

What makes you feel resilient? Let me know in the comments below!

COM0012 – Blog #6: Sydney’s Story

My sister smiling on the left, and me, making a face (typical), on the right

Ever since I started talking, I have been a chatterbox. I was actually very late to start speaking, as I was the youngest of three girls and I would happily let my older sisters speak for me. My family always jokes that I now am trying to make up for any lost time. I love telling stories, and my favourite thing to do is to make other people laugh. When comedians talk about the high feeling they get from receiving a roar of laughter from an audience, I completely understand! It’s a feeling like no other.  

I have spent many years focusing on traveling and making it a priority to spend time living in different cities. I believe one of my favourite reasons to do it, and the reason I have put so much effort into it, is because I am able to meet so many people and exchange stories. I am fascinated by other humans and love to sit down with an individual or group and ask questions. I have worked in hospitality for many years, so one of the biggest parts of my job is being able to have a conversation with literally anyone, and I absolutely love it! I am just starting off my career working in event consultancy, and one of my favourite parts about it is all the cool people you get to meet. 

By putting myself in these social situations, I am able to learn more about other people, who otherwise I would never know. I love learning and find that by meeting others and listening to their stories I am constantly expanding my knowledge. It’s always a plus if along the way there is a lot of laughter. I feel incredibly lucky to live in the city that I do, but I also acknowledge that we live in a society that puts so much pressure on constantly being busy and working as hard as we can, and there is less of an acceptance of taking time to recharge and allowing yourself have fun. I make an active effort in my life to try to slow down and enjoy things, otherwise I think it would all go by too fast. I enjoy sharing stories because it reminds me that I am not alone in my feelings or many of my experiences, and that there are plenty of incredibly interesting people out there who have accomplished things bigger than I could ever imagine – and not just in the sense of working. I will always love sharing stories, and sharing laughs with the people that I come across. It will make my life more positive, and I can only hope it does the same for others.

What is your favourite part of storytelling? Let me know in the comments below!

COM0012 Blog #4: How Much Is That Doggy On The Gram?

The Ottawa Humane Society Logo

I’ve been following The Ottawa Humane Society on Instagram for years. I have no desire to adopt an animal any time soon, as I have the company of a sweet senior dog named Trixie who has been my best pal for nearly 12 years now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need any cute animal content – and the Ottawa Humane Society Instagram page has all I could want! Their page is filled with animals who are looking for their forever homes, as well as the shelter’s previous four legged residents who have already found families. Underneath adorable animal photos, they include funny and sweet captions, often making sure to note if the animal is still in their company. By showing photos of past and present furballs, it offers frequent variety of sweet faces being shown on their platform, while still encouraging people who are thinking of adopting to visit their website. 

Having an open profile where the animals are being showcased gives people the ability to view a potential future furry best friend much more easily. As Ottawa is unfortunately not known for having good public transportation, actually going to visit the Humane Society without frequent access to a car can be quite difficult. Even with the luxury of a car, visiting the shelter on a regular basis can be very time consuming. By frequently posting on their socials, future owners are able to see and share these cute critters through their mobile devices. With their photos and personal information being easily accessible, it allows adopters a much more attainable way of keeping an eye out for their future best friend. 

Sweet Hikaru Looking For A Forever Home / Ottawa Humane Society Instagram

The Ottawa Humane Society also puts a strong focus in showing happy, successful testimonials of people who have adopted through their shelter. They will post a photo of the animal alongside a happy new owner, who is often gleefully smiling at the fact their family has just grown. This is a great post as it encourages the adoption of animals, showing how happy it can make you. Just the other week, a photo of my stepbrothers friend popped up on my feed through a post on their social media page, with he and his girlfriend smiling ear to ear as they held their newly adopted cat. A few mutual friends shared this post, as a sign of encouragement for the adoption. We hold personal recommendations at an incredibly high standard, so seeing a friend post about a newly adopted pet through a local animal shelter encourages the conversation about adopting.

I believe the Ottawa Humane Society is doing a fantastic job with their social media, showcasing their current and previous tenants, and making sure their resident cuties have the best possible chance of finding a new home, with all the love they could ever want.

Have you ever adopted a pet? Let me know in the comments below!

COM004 – Blog # 3: “We Eat First With Our Eyes.”

Creamy Eggplant Pasta

I absolutely love cooking. I prefer to do it with others, as cooking is a great social activity, but I still enjoy trying out great new recipes on my own. I am a dairy free vegetarian, so most of the food I eat falls under the “Vegan” category. I find I’m often encountered with curiosity when telling people my diet, with the most frequent remark being, “I could never do that, my diet is mostly dairy and meat!” When we rely heavily on those food groups it can definitely be tricky to navigate the world of veganism, as it can seem quite daunting. I have been dairy free for two years now and a vegetarian for just under ten, so I do have the luck of being quite experienced. That said, I am constantly looking for new recipes to change it up.

Thanks to the rise of vegan food bloggers on social media, I have an endless amount of inspiration! 

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai and a Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

The target audience for these bloggers are either people who are already eating plant based, or those who are looking to incorporate more whole foods into their diet, without compromising taste. In order to attract this group, vegan food bloggers make their foods look aesthetically pleasing to the eye, often disguising their food to look more “meaty.” As the Greek philosopher Apicus said, “We eat first with our eyes.”

As the online community of vegan food bloggers is quite large, in order to attract a following to a specific page, the recipes have to be attainable. I cannot tell you how many times a post has popped up on my feed with food that looks absolutely delicious, but the recipe itself is just simply too extreme. These bloggers have to remember that while their following is looking for inspiration to eat plant based, they have to offer realistic recipes. 

A great way for these bloggers to attract their target audience is by posting videos of them actually making the food, instead of just the finished product. Watching someone create a recipe from the whole ingredients all the way through to the final product gives us the feeling that if they can do it, we can too. A lot of people are visual learners so watching instead of reading is a great way to encourage more people to cook.

Ginger Soy Tofu

All that said, I believe the very best way vegan food bloggers can communicate with their audience is by creating an emotional connection to the food being made. This may sound like; “this is my grandma’s favourite recipe.” “This is the meal I make when I want something delicious but only have x amount of money.” “Make this meal for your partner to really impress them!”

Cooking can be an overwhelming task, but it is a skill everyone is kind of assumed to have. Cooking plant based can be even more overwhelming, as most of the traditional cooking we are taught incorporates a lot of animal bi-products. With the use of social media, vegan food bloggers are able to showcase their delicious plant based foods, encouraging others to try out something they maybe never would have before.

Have you ever found a recipe online that you can’t live without now? Let me know in the comments below!

All photos shared in this blog post have been taken by me.

COM0014 – Blog #2: The Art of Storytelling

Story time, South Australia

Since the beginning of civilization, storytelling has been a key aspect of our social lives. We have proof of this from cave drawings, showing our ancestors craved the social connection that we develop through sharing experiences. Social media is no exception to our love of storytelling. Whether it’s a post describing the current political climate in a country, or a reel of someone sharing their grandma’s favourite recipes, we are easily able to connect to others by posting online. We share stories for many reasons, but at the core it is always to connect with one another. 

In today’s day and age, our attention spans are much shorter than they once were. This is due to the fact that we are constantly taking in so much information, absorbing so many stories – sometimes multiple at once! I can honestly say I now have to actively move my phone away from myself while I am watching a show or movie in my home, otherwise I find myself scrolling through Instagram watching reels. This creates a difficult situation, as it is nearly impossible to fully engross yourself in one story while paying attention to others. 

Sharing stories with the trees, South Australia

In order to capture someones attention while storytelling, you must begin with the most engaging part of the story. As you may not have a lot of time with the audience, assuring the most important information is displayed or spoken right away is critical. I have never used the inverted pyramid writing method per se, however I do feel like it is the format I have always strived to use while storytelling. Coming across this method is new to me, but as I have been using a similar structure I am very grateful to now have this tool. I know it will benefit me greatly as it will allow me to tell stories more efficiently.

Inverted pyramid writing method, shared through Algonquin College Social Media Certificate Program

When we share stories, we are doing so to connect with others. We are doing it so we are able to find a common ground, either with the people we know or complete strangers. There is an art to storytelling that comes naturally to some, and can be more difficult for others, but I believe it is important to strive for as it is something that connects all of us. Humans are social beings that want to share moments and experiences with others, and this can be done through the art of storytelling. 

So many stories, so little time, New Brunswick

What moments come to mind when you think of great storytelling? Let me know in the comments below!

All photos shared in this blog post have been taken by me unless stated otherwise

COM0014 – Blog #:1 A Two Month Long Dream

A sunshine kayak in Beautiful British Columbia

My last vacation was absolutely incredible. It spanned over the course of two months, where I traveled to Vancouver, Banff, Calgary, San Francisco and Montreal. These two months were spent visiting and reuniting with many people that I absolutely adore, some who I hadn’t seen in years.

My oldest sister lives in Vancouver. It was my first time visiting the city as an adult, and to put it simply, it had me absolutely mesmerized. My sister is one of the bubbliest and most friendly people that I know, so it’s no surprise the people she surrounds herself with are nothing short of amazing. Everyone welcomed me with open arms, taking me on hikes while she was working or giving me recommendations of areas in the city I had to explore.

Enjoying the view, British Columbia

In Banff, I stayed with my best friend, allowing me to experience the life she had created while living in the mountains for 2 years. We spent our days exploring different towns and mountain ranges in Alberta and British Columbia, and spent our nights dancing on bar tops until 3 in the morning. There is a reason the “shaft” is their drink of choice – the combination of alcohol and coffee keeps you going for any occasion!

When I arrived in Calgary, I stayed with another one of my best friend’s who had been proposed to the weekend before I arrived. This meant many celebrations, many happy tears, and many hugs. I felt honoured to be able to celebrate such a huge milestone with her. She has lived there for 5 years and it was my first time being able to visit her. Talk about good timing!

Through the trees and over the mountains, Alberta

In San Francisco I met up with my old flatmate from Australia and another close friend from the UK. The three of us stayed in the Lower Haight district, in the coolest art deco home I have ever seen. We spent countless hours exploring the hilly city, taking in the seemingly endless beautiful sights while swapping stories of what our lives have become since we’d last seen each other nearly 4 years prior. 

When our time in San Fransisco came to an end, my old Aussie flatmate and I welled up as we said our goodbyes and hugged for a final time. My friend from the UK came back to Canada with me (well not exactly with me, as he had not gotten a visa to enter the country and had to take a different flight – but that’s another story!) for a week. It was his first time visiting Canada, so I showed him around my hometown, Ottawa, and afterwards we headed to Montreal. Montreal is one of my favourite cities in the world, with the easy going attitudes of the locals, incredible art scene and countless spots to go out dancing. He absolutely loved the city, and had a wonderful experience exploring it for his first time.

The Painted Sisters in all their glory, San Francisco

On the final Sunday, he hopped in a cab to the airport, and headed back to the UK. It was difficult saying goodbye, just as it had been difficult saying goodbye to every person I had encountered during my 2 months of traveling. On my way back home I felt sad that the journey was over, but more than that I felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude. I spent 2 months with people who mean the absolute world to me. I got to see the lives they’ve created, explore new areas by their sides, and share moments that will stay with me forever. It really was a dream come true.

Fantastic coffee shared with even better company, Montreal

What are some of your favourite moments of traveling with loved ones? Please share them with me in the comments below! 

All photos shared in this blog post have been taken by me.

“When I grow up, I Want to Look Like a Snapchat Filter!”

There’s no denying social media has changed the way that we see ourselves- but does it have such a high influence that it’s causing people to go under the knife in order to achieve their dream appearance?

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Not too long ago if photos were taken of us they had to be developed and printed- we didn’t have access to the content immediately. Photos of ourselves would be shared around the coffee table, not the Internet. If we looked goofy in a few, we could brush it off as being something as simple as a bad hair day and not think about it too much. However, as cameras became more accessible, and camera phones raged in popularity, it seemed as if everyone had the ability to record themselves at any moment. As social media platforms began connecting people from all over the world, suddenly everyone had a stage to showcase themselves on, with one of the main focuses being on physical appearance. This constant awareness has caused a shift in how we have come to view ourselves- and plastic surgeons have noticed this trend.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The “Selfie” has taken the world by storm. When I checked how many posts are currently using the hashtag #Selfie on Instagram, the number was over 428 million- and that’s just people that are actually using that hashtag for their photo. It should also be acknowledged that that number is increasing by the second. As a selfie is simply the act of taking a photo of yourself, it makes sense that it has dramatically increased self-awareness. The problem with this method of taking photos however is that what we’re seeing isn’t entirely accurate. No matter what, camera angles are constantly manipulating the way we look. When taking a selfie, the shot is typically only being taken from a few feet away from your face. This can dramatically alter your entire appearance, and even has the ability to make your nose look up to 33% larger.

Many people choosing to undergo surgeries or alter their appearance have decided to do so in order to look better in photos. A survey conducted by facial plastic surgeons in 2017 found an increase of 55% of people wanting to get work done in order to look better in selfies. This rise can be widely credited to the fact that we now have the ability to easily change our appearance with different platforms. By using filters on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook, users can now instantaneously alter their looks, softening any imperfections and creating a more “desirable” image. With easy to use apps such as Facetune, users can quickly change their physical appearance drastically, once again creating a more “desirable” image of themselves.

A new term called “Snapchat Dysmorphia” has been coined by a British cosmetic doctor named Tijion Esho. This new phenomenon came about when the doctor noticed an increase of patients bringing in selfies of themselves that had been altered by filters. They would show a photo of themselves with airbrushed skin, big, bright eyes and big lips. This was unrealistic as the photos they were hoping to look like had been digitally manipulated, causing simply unattainable results. This can be seen as dangerous as it has led many users to believing their self-worth is based on their appearance. For years, marketing companies have been using similar techniques to edit their models, which is believed to have significantly increased the rate of eating disorders in people, especially young women.

Photo by Tim Savage from Pexels

Another big factor that has caused a rise in plastic surgery is the societal acceptance of having these procedures done. Many celebrities and influencers will use their platforms to embrace their own personal surgeries and share their positive experiences with their audience. This brings more awareness to specific treatments, and could help persuade a user to receive a similar treatment. Kylie Jenner is a great example of this, as when she admitted in an interview that she gets lip fillers, a clinic in the UK saw the procedure increase by 70%.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

This brings the ultimate question: are people choosing plastic surgery because they genuinely want to, or because they’re comparing themselves to what they’re seeing online? A recent study found that 42% of people reported feeling less confident about their body image because of social media- while being constantly surrounded by “picture perfect people,” it has led many users to believing their self-worth is based on their appearance.  

As we continue to use social media as such a big part of our lives, it is without a doubt many people will continue to base their worth on their appearance. In order to combat this ideology, we must constantly be reminding ourselves that often what we are seeing on social media is not entirely real.

Photo by Aline Viana from Pexels

How do you think social media has impacted the plastic surgery industry? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Promotional Posts

Facebook: “When I Grow up, I Want to Look Like a Snapchat Filter!” –

Twitter: “When I Grow up, I Want to Look Like a Snapchat Filter!” #PhotoshopMyLife –


Akbareian, Emma. (2015, May 7). Kylie Jenner Lip Filler Confession Leads to a 70% Increase in Enquiries for the Procedure. Independent.

Chiu, Allison. (2018, August 6). Patients are Desperate to Resemble Their Doctored Selfies. Plastic Surgeons Alarmed by ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia.’ The Washington Post.

Nuñez, Alanna. (n.d). Could Social Media Drive you to have Plastic Surgery? Shape.

Parsa, Keon and Reilly, Michael. (2019, September 17).  Social Media and the Rising Trend of Cosmetic Surgery. Psychology Today.

Social Media has Caught the Travel Bug

A few weeks after my 20th birthday, I filled a backpack with personal belongings and hopped on a plane headed for the other side of the planet. Although the physical distance from my family and friends back home in Canada was very daunting at times, I often felt safe as I always had a way of staying connected; using social media.

Photo taken by me, Australia 2018

I was active on social media my entire time away. It was a fantastic way to upload photos, find beautiful spots, join groups and share moments. Even though I was doing a solo trip, I was always connected and I had continuous virtual support from others wishing me well and engaging with my posts. It also allowed me to easily keep up with the important news from back home, despite the time difference that made actual phone calls few and far between. By using different social platforms I had the ability to share experiences with my friends more easily than ever before.

Photo taken by me, Indonesia 2018

Social media is filled with beautiful spots, many of which are now recorded and being geographically tagged. Whether it’s a lavender farm or a bungee jump, all of these experiences are being broadcast online. This gives people the opportunity to discover places they may have never come across otherwise. I have definitely chosen to go somewhere based off a post I’ve seen on social media. It is such a convenient and easy way to find new things to do.

A great advantage of using social platforms while traveling is the ability to join groups full of like-minded people. When my sister and I were living in a van in New Zealand, we joined a bunch of NZ Backpacker groups on Facebook. The groups all contained thousands of members, with many active users sharing their own photos, personal experiences and advice. With an endless pool of information, any of our questions were easily answered. These groups are wonderful as well for people looking to meet up with others while on the road, as many people make posts about rideshares, jobs, or simply meeting up for a coffee.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

But is all this knowledge doing more harm than good? As convenient as it seems to be for the individual person, it is thought social media is helping play a big role in over tourism. Because many hidden gems that were once known only by locals are now being geotagged, anyone in the world can have access to their specific coordinates. For areas equipped to deal with a high volume of people this isn’t a major concern, however many natural wonders have been struggling.

Horseshoe Bend in Arizona is just one example of a once hidden gem that has fallen victim to this. What was once a place that got at most a few thousand visitors a year, now sees about 2.2 million– and this number is continuously growing. This was caused by the location being geotagged on Instagram, which led it to going viral. The landscape was not able to handle that amount of tourism, and so an extensive redesign had to be undertaken to protect the land and visitors. This trend of locations going viral does not seem to be slowing down – a recent study found over 40% of consumers under the age of 30 decide where to travel based on how “Instagrammable” the destination is.

As social media becomes more popular, so do targeted places, resulting in many locations having to adapt. The city of Vienna took an interesting approach to getting people to put down their phones. When they started to see an increase of social media posts in 2018, the Tourism Board started a marketing campaign called “Unhastag Vienna.” The point of this movement is to encourage people to put down their phones and to actually live in the moment, by really experiencing the city behind their posts.

An organization called “Leave No Trace” originated in 1999 with the principals of being conscious of how you are treating the environment while you enjoy the outdoors. In recent years, they have been trying to persuade people away from geotagging specific locations, and instead doing more broad areas if you are to do it at all. They gently remind people that although tagging a specific location can seem innocent, it can significantly impair some areas.

Photo taken by me, New Zealand 2020

As we continue to see social media grow, it is without a doubt travel will continue to evolve with it. Being more conscious about what we post in order to keep areas pristine will be a measure we all need to take in the future so that these places can continue to thrive.  

Has social media ever affected your own travel destinations? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Promotional Posts

Facebook: Social Media Has Caught the Travel Bug:

Twitter: Social Media’s Effect on Travel: #CaughtTheTravelBug


Fuller, Melynda. (2019, May 20). Vienna Tourist Board’s ‘Unhashtag Vienna’ Campaign Challenges Visitors to Explore Offline. Media Post.

Gingles, Natasha. (2019, February 7). #TravelInspo: Social Media’s Rising Impact in Travel Marketing and E-Commerce. We Are Marketing.

Haubursin, Christophe. (2018, October 31). What happens when nature goes viral? Vox.

Lake, Zoe and Rulli, Maggie. (2019, July 30). National Parks Officials Grappling With High Volume as Instagram Tourism Booms. Abc News.

Walsh, Ailsa. (2018, June 8). New Social Media Guidance. Leave No Trace.

Queens of the Social Age

My sisters and I don’t watch sports on TV- we’re too busy cheering for our favorite queens. Drag Race is our choice for entertainment. A reality competition TV series that revolves around fashion, acting, dancing, and features a range of incredibly creative people all fighting for the title of their country’s “Next Drag Superstar.” While watching the show just recently, one of the contestants labeled themselves as a “Bedroom Queen,” – a newer term, meaning a queen who emerged in the privacy of their home instead of on a stage. This got me thinking: how exactly has social media impacted drag queens?

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Who or What Exactly are Drag Queens?

Drag queens are people, predominantly gay men (however drag does not discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation), who embody a different persona. Typically they are dressed up in “feminine” clothing with heavy, exaggerated makeup. Although there are many theories about its origin, the term “drag” is most notoriously believed to have come from the British theater in the 19th century, where the word was used to describe men who were performing as women on stage. They called this “drag” because of the way their long skirts dragged on the floor.

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

The History of Drag Queens

The earliest recording of the first official “Drag Queen” dates back to the beginning of the 1880’s- and is attributed to an American by the name of William Dorsey Swann. He was the first self-proclaimed drag queen, and was known to all his friends as “The Queen.” Over the course of his life, Swann hosted many secret drag balls that led him to being arrested on several occasions. He was constantly fighting for justice against slavery, racism, the Civil War, just to name a few! He was also the first American activist to lead a queer resistance.

Although Swann is the first recorded drag queen, and should definitely be credited for opening the door for many queens to come afterwards, it is often believed drag was first accepted into American culture in the 19th century, when it was introduced into vaudeville shows. However, as homosexuality was illegal, many people in the LGBTQ+ community were still forced to practice their art form behind closed doors.

When the prohibition occurred in the 1920’s, there were suddenly plenty of underground places where people felt liberated enough to perform in drag and explore their sexuality. Drag balls kicked off around this time, as they were the hub spot for Black queer people to congregate in their “houses.” As drag became more tied with the LGBTQ+ community, it was no longer accepted in mainstream entertainment, like vaudeville shows. This meant performers were forced to perform primarily in nightclubs and bars in bigger cities such as NYC, LA, and San Francisco.

After the 1961 Stonewall riots in NYC, and continuing into the 1990s, gay culture was seeing a growth in support, bringing drag along with it. Documentaries like “Paris is Burning,” and festivals like “Wigstock” all helped make drag even more visible to the public eye.

RuPaul, arguably the world’s most famous drag queen, took the world by storm in the 1990’s and has since been highly credited for bringing drag into pop culture. He went on to create the reality competition TV Show “Rupaul’s Drag Race” in 2009, which has had a massive influence in making drag much more mainstream today.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

How has Social Media Impacted Drag?

Social media has helped open doors for many people in the drag community. What was once required in order to enter the drag scene is no longer. Since shows are typically held in big cities, using online platforms gives people from any neck of the woods the opportunity to become a well-known success. It also allows queens who are too young to perform in standard shows the chance to begin their drag career early, as well as helps many people gain the confidence required when first entering the world of show business.

As a video-sharing platform, Youtube has had a huge impact on this industry. Because of it, the drag community was no longer confined to being solely in nightclubs. William Belli, a popular American drag performer, credits Youtube for kickstarting his entire career – “The videos I put on Youtube have expanded my audience beyond what I could have just done at Hamburger Mary’s. People saw the video, started booking me, and literally 40-plus countries and a thousand gigs later I can basically say that Youtube has bought me a house.”

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Another big advantage of social media is that now instead of having to learn all the tricks of the trade by attending live shows, queens are now able to benefit from tutorials all across social media. Plastique Tiara, a star from RuPauls Drag Race, says social media taught her almost everything as she entered the world of drag.

Instagram is another platform that has benefited drag queens greatly. As a mainly visual platform, queens can use their accounts to serve as a portfolio, giving them the opportunity to brand themselves. It’s also a great way for queens to build relationships with their fans, and for their communities to stay connected.

Jane Smoker, a drag queen based in Vancouver, appreciates the opportunities social media has given her. “Social media is definitely a big tool for any artist, whether you’re a drag queen, an actor or a singer. To find recognition online from people who just love drag, not for the TV show, but because they love the art and the concept we’re throwing out- this girl-gang vibe- it’s really nice.”

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Social media has been a lifesaver for many entertainers during COVID-19. As many queens rely heavily on their shows as a way of making an income, many have been turning to online spaces to perform. By using social media platforms they are able to promote their own and fellow Queens’ online shows to a wide community.

However, with all the positives of social media, there are of course negatives as well. Some people argue that social media has damaged the drag community, as it has put all drag queens in the same kind of box- making it seem as if the only way of doing drag is by being a “looks” or “fashion” queen. The tradition of drag is much more than that- it is centered on being a performer, being an activist, building a strong community, and so much more.

Pixie Aventura, one of the top NYC queens, expressed her concerns in a way that sums it up perfectly. She said, “I feel that people are trying to make rules about what drag is suppose to be, but drag defies definition.”

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

Queens who have found their rise to fame through the nightlife scene worry the rise of Social Media queens will cause people to have a narrow view on what it means to be a drag queen.

As social media continues to grow, it’s without a doubt the drag queen community will continue to be affected- for better and for worse. Although the drag experience has moved from the underground scene to the sitting room, making it more accessible for everyone, the core of drag should always be remembered as being full of love, art and self-expression.

How do you think social media will continue to change the drag world? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

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