RuPaul maybe drag racebut she’s not the only mogul in the drag world.
A few years ago, listening for hours a golden girls podcast summary stuck in traffic at Burning Man, two former drag race participants—Alaska as well as William— decided to cross out on their own. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we do this about drag race“, – says Alaska. Soon the couple had a producer, Constellation Ursa Majorand a brand new show: racing chaser.
They began pitching the podcast to various studios, including an upstart comedy. Forever Dogwhere he eventually landed. “racing chaser was an immediate success,” says CEO Joe Cilio. “We have never seen anything like it. Forever Dog was a young company at the time and it was amazing to get a real hit in our hands.” Ursa Major says the podcast’s success was proof that he and racing chaserThe hosts already knew, “there is actually a market for drag queen fans who want to experience queens in a different, longer look, in a more personal style…and in a sound format.”
Fast forward about a year later and Chilio seeing racing chaserlarge and dedicated fan base, started pushing the idea of having Willam and Alaska create their own Forever Dog podcast, and here’s how Network of Media Moguls (MOM) was born. MOM launched during the first wave COVID-19 pandemic and was an immediate success. This is largely due to his programming, which included shows such as Chop with Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon, and Very It with Raja and Delta Work, and Sloppy Seconds with Ursa Major and Meatball. “Basically,” says Alaska, “we thought, ‘That was great. We want to share this with our sisters,” so we reached out to our very famous transvestite friends, and they said, “Sure, why not?”
Go to podcasts represents a significant shift in the world of resistance. It is traditionally an art form based on live performance and visual spectacle; podcasting is almost always strictly audio – the performers are rarely seen. So MOM is tapping into the innate talents of drag performers for charismatic storytelling and entertainment and channeling them into a new environment, which proved necessary during the pandemic when bars, nightclubs and theaters were often closed and queens needed to find other sources of income. “We were very lucky to have a podcast because we were able to stay in touch with people even after all of our normal ways of connecting with our community were completely shut down,” says Alaska. “It definitely helped me get through the pandemic and definitely helped make life a little easier for a lot of listeners.” The duo also used the power of the capsule to raise over $120,000 for queer-friendly charities such as For gworls.
Podcasting has also helped the MOM queens connect with their fans more closely. “We talk for a long period of time, every week,” says Alaska. “It’s a very intimate, personal way to get to know someone. At the beginning of my drag career and right after drag raceall [fans] got was what I said on stage or what I said in my music.”
Raja agrees. “There is a certain freedom and honesty in a podcast,” she says. “It’s just easier for me to talk about everything. Jinkx Monsoon sees the MOM podcast, Hello Jinx!as a place for frank conversation and a way, as she puts it, to “showcase things that aren’t talked about very much in our industry”, such as how trans artists redefined their careers after coming out, diversity (or lack thereof) of gender expressions in the mediaor what it’s like to be an adult movie star. “It seems like this fun duty,” she says, “or this fun thing that I do, might have an impact.”
According to the Big Dipper, it’s all by design. MOM is meant to be a place for queer talent as well as a place for drag artists to discuss ideas beyond drag queens. “We are pleased that Delta [Work] wants to complain about car service and talk about perfume,” he says. “We’re giving queens a platform they’re rarely given because it’s about their thoughts and opinions, not about their looks or their lip sync.” Recent additions to the MOM family include Famous this week With Drag Flight Canada winner priyanka, Hall and closet with Jaida Essence Hall and Heidi N. Closet and Shea Coulee’s I want to be on topabout her love for America’s Next Top Model.
The expansion has also worked, with the shows attracting more and more listeners each week, while also directing organic listeners to their sisters. “You don’t have to leave MOM,” Chilio says. “If you’re there for racing chaserYou will love Chop. If you love ChopYou will love Very It“.
While Ursa Major says she makes shows like racing chaser “may seem a bit flippant” with just three people idling around on a Zoom call, “getting feedback from people that it’s having such an impact on them is a really enlightening experience.” AT MOM Podcast Booth At RuPaul’s DragCon in Los Angeles last month, the postman approached Dipper and burst into tears while talking to him. “She said that we have been keeping her constantly in the company for several months, and it was such a support system,” he says. “We don’t even know her and she doesn’t really know us, but she felt such a connection with us. That was incredible.”
Of course, there is still a lot to be done from Team MOM. They recently launched MAMA Plusa Patreon-like service that gives subscribers access to exclusive bonus content, ad-free episodes, and pre-sale tickets to MOM live events such as upcoming Race Chaser UK tour. Subscribers also get access to video podcasts, which Alaska says is especially important because “we all sound great, but we still look great.”
For the MOM team, the continued success of the network is due to several things. First of all, Ursa Major says, queens need to be paid and they must retain ownership of their own content. Aside from that, Dipper says that his goals are a little more amorphous. “I want us, all our shows and our listeners to feel this famous podcast meme about a kid sitting next to a billboard with three people smiling and they neighing it’s like she’s inside a billboard with them,” he says. “This is how I feel when I listen to my favorite shows and I want all of our listeners to feel like they are listening to MOM.”
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