Alyssa Edwards

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Alyssa Edwards
AlyssaEdwards20160806 034925.jpg
Alyssa Edwards performing in Santiago de Chile, August 2016
BornJustin Dwayne Lee Johnson
ResidenceMesquite, Texas, U.S.
Occupation
  • Drag performer
  • dance teacher
  • comedian

Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson,[1] known by his stage name Alyssa Edwards, is an American drag performer, choreographer, and businessperson. Johnson was known for competing in drag pageantry (notably Miss Gay America 2010) before rising to national prominence on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, becoming a fan favorite during and after his time on the show. Johnson lives in Mesquite, Texas, where he owns and runs an award-winning studio, Beyond Belief Dance Company. Johnson and his dance studio are the centerpieces of a docuseries, "Dancing Queen", produced by RuPaul and World of Wonder that premiered on October 5th 2018 on Netflix.[2]

Career[edit]

Alyssa Edwards in April 2017 during DragCon at the Los Angeles Convention Center

Johnson performs under the stage name Alyssa Edwards. He chose his name in homage to Alyssa Milano and to his drag mother Laken Edwards, a former drag queen.[3] Johnson is part of the drag family "the Haus of Edwards" and serves as drag mother to fellow RuPaul's Drag Race contestants Shangela Laquifa Wadley, Laganja Estranja, and Gia Gunn.[3] Johnson was one of the judges of the 2010 California Entertainer of the Year pageant, which Shangela won.[4]

Johnson appeared in the 2008 documentary Pageant.[5] The film focused on the 34th Miss Gay America pageant of 2006.[6] On December 9, 2010, Johnson was stripped of his 2010 Miss Gay America title[7] for having business dealings in conflict with obligations to the Miss Gay America organization. First alternate Coco Montrese replaced Johnson as the winner of Miss Gay America.[8] That same year, Johnson was also stripped of his title as All American Goddess.[9]

In November 2012, Logo announced that Johnson was among 14 drag queens who would be competing on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Also performing on the show was pageant friend and rival Coco Montrese.[10] Performing as Alyssa Edwards throughout the season, Johnson won the ballet-themed main challenge in the "Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black? episode".[11] As part of the show, Johnson sang on the "We Are the World"-inspired song "Can I Get an Amen?" The song's proceeds helped benefit the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.[12] Johnson was eliminated in episode nine, following a lip sync against Coco Montrese, and finished in sixth place. Johnson has also been a special guest on the podcast series run by RuPaul and Michelle Visage called 'What's the Tee?'[13]

Johnson is also known for his web series titled "Alyssa's Secret".[14] The series stars Johnson performing as Alyssa Edwards speaking on a multitude of subjects and often features guests including other members of the Haus of Edwards. The webseries is produced and premieres through World of Wonder Productions.[15][better source needed]

In 2016, Johnson returned as one of 10 contestants in Season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars, ending in fifth place.[16] Johnson won the main challenge of the third episode titled "Herstory of the World", playing Annie Oakley in a performance featuring other famous women throughout history. He was then eliminated in episode four "Drag Movie Shequels", after playing Bland in "Wha' Ha' Happened to Baby JJ", a parody of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?", with Alaska as Baby JJ. He returned in episode five "Revenge of the Queens" by winning a chance to reenter the competition, winning a comedy challenge with Alaska followed by a lip sync of Rihanna's 'Shut Up and Drive', in which both Edwards and Tatianna won. Johnson was then eliminated a second time in episode seven "A Family that Drags Together", coming in fifth place overall.

Titles[edit]

Edwards competed in and won numerous pageant titles. They include:

  • Miss Gay Texas America 2004, first alternate[17]
  • Miss Gay Texas America 2005, winner[17]
  • Miss Gay America 2005, second alternate[18]
  • Miss Northwest Regional Representative 2005, winner[citation needed]
  • Miss Gay America 2006, third alternate[citation needed]
  • Miss Texas FFI 2006, winner[17]
  • Miss Gay USofA 2006, winner[17]
  • Miss Texas Continental 2007, winner[17]
  • Miss Shining Star Continental 2009, winner[17]
  • Miss Gay Mid East America 2008, first alternate[citation needed]
  • Miss Gay America 2009, third alternate[18]
  • Miss Gay Heartland America 2009, first alternate[19]
  • Miss Gay Heartland America 2010, first alternate[19]
  • Miss Gay America 2010, winner[18]
  • Southern Elegance All American Goddess 2010, winner[17]
  • All American Goddess 2010, winner[17]
  • National Entertainer of the Year, FI 2014, first alternate[17]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2008 Pageant Self Documentary
2016 Hurricane Bianca Ambrosia Salad Comedy
2018 Hurricane Bianca 2 Ambrosia Salad Comedy

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2010 My Life as Liz Self Episode: "Liz's Got Talent? (Part 1)"
2013 RuPaul's Drag Race Self Season 5 - 6th place
RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked Self Companion show to RuPaul's Drag Race
NewNowNext Awards Self
2015-2016 Skin Wars Self 2 episodes
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Self Season 2 - 5th place
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race Self, choreographer Season 10, Episode 2
2018 Dancing Queen Self Docuseries, 8 episodes

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013–2017 Alyssa's Secret[20] Self Produced by World of Wonder

References[edit]

  1. ^ "TAZO® Announces Launch of Camp TAZO Under New "Brew the Unexpected" Campaign". PR Newswire. Cision Ltd. October 24, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Desk, TV News. "Drag Superstar Alyssa Edwards to Star in Docu-Series DANCING QUEEN on Netflix".
  3. ^ a b Duren, Rand (21 November 2012). "Meet Alyssa Edwards, the fabulous drag queen from Mesquite who will appear on 'RuPaul's Drag Race'". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2013-03-26. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  4. ^ Addams, Calpernia. "California EOY 2010 – The Recap". Calpernia.com. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Pageant (2008) - IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  6. ^ Higbee, Johnathan (3 November 2009). "A Pair of Queens". Instinct. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Suspended Contestant and Affiliate Registry". Miss Gay America. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  8. ^ Blanchard, Steve (3 March 2010). "Coco Montrese is crowned Miss Gay America 2010". Watermark. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  9. ^ Nelson, Maxine (30 January 2013). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 5 Premiere: A Fomenting Feud". Yahoo! Voices. Archived from the original on 2013-06-12. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  10. ^ Coughlan, Maggie (19 November 2012). "RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5 Contestants Announced". People. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  11. ^ Framke, Caroline (19 February 2013). "Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black?". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  12. ^ Parker, Lyndsey (5 March 2013). "Great Musical Moments In Reality TV: RuPaul's "Can I Get An Amen"". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Episodes". RuPaul: What's The Tee?.
  14. ^ "Alyssa's Secret". worldofwonder.net.
  15. ^ World of Wonder (production company)
  16. ^ "Logo Announces Contestants For "RuPaul's All Star Drag Race" Season 2".
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Alyssa Edwards". Our Community Roots. 15 June 2018.
  18. ^ a b c [hhttp://ourcommunityroots.com/?p=23209 "Miss Gay America"]. Our Community Roots. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  19. ^ a b Jones, Arnold (2 November 2009). "Dallas' Alyssa Edwards wins Miss Gay America". Dallas Voice. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  20. ^ Horbelt, Stephan (24 May 2013). "Always & Forever, Alyssa Edwards". Frontiers. Retrieved 7 December 2013.

External links[edit]