Pickle is West Hollywood’s first drag laureate

Pickle is scheduled to be officially installed Sunday, International Drag Day, as West Hollywood’s first Drag Laureate.

The public event will take place at 3 p.m. at West Hollywood Park.

“West Hollywood has been one of the centers of drag culture for decades,” Councilmember Lauren Meister said in a statement. “Drag performers are often a thrilling attraction at many of our restaurants and bars and West Hollywood’s drag performers take center stage in a wide range of our city’s arts and culture events.

“This year, we’ve witnessed conservative attacks on drag performers by those who seek to ban culture and expression. Plain and simple, this is a proxy for homophobia and such ‘drag bans’ attack LGBTQ people,” Meister said. “I’m thrilled that West Hollywood’s Drag Laureate program will raise awareness about drag culture.”

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The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved Pickle as the city’s Drag Laureate during its regular meeting on June 26.

Pickle was selected through an application process with a selection committee composed of members from the city’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission.

Pickle is a host, performer, singer, comedienne, and community activist. She has performed in drag professionally for eight years. A Los Angeles native, she received her bachelor of arts in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College, according to her website.

Pickle has blended education initiatives into her drag work and runs the Los Angeles chapter of Drag Story Hour. 

Pickle has appeared on television on NBC’s “The Weakest Link,” the Discovery Channel’s “Dodgeball Thunderdome,” and Tyler Perry’s “Sistas.”

As West Hollywood Drag Laureate, Pickle will serve a two-year term, from July 1 to June 30, 2025. During the term, the Drag Laureate is expected to enhance the presence and appreciation of drag culture and arts in West Hollywood, promote partnerships with West Hollywood business and community organizations, celebrate the spirit and special qualities of the city and its residents, and inspire an emerging generation of drag artists by celebrating and promoting drag history.

The Drag Laureate will work with city staff to serve as an ambassador for West Hollywood.

Pickle will attend approximately 15 events during the year, including WeHo Pride and West Hollywood Day.

The city will also organize a yearly public event to celebrate drag history and promote West Hollywood drag culture.

Recently, San Francisco announced its inaugural San Francisco Drag Laureate, D’Arcy Drollinger. It’s anticipated that West Hollywood and San Francisco will work together to share best practices and ideas to enhance Drag Laureate programs, according to the city.

The West Hollywood Drag Laureate program provides a $12,500 honorarium each year, and a $2,500 stipend for the annual city drag event, totaling $15,000 per year.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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