Alyssa Edwards

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Alyssa Edwards
Alyssa Edwards at DragCon, April 2017.png
Alyssa Edwards in April 2017 during DragCon at the Los Angeles Convention Center
Born Justin Johnson
(1980-01-16) January 16, 1980 (age 37)
Residence Uptown, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Drag performer, dance teacher, fierce queen

Justin Johnson[1] (born January 16, 1980), known by his stage name Alyssa Edwards, is an American drag performer, dance teacher, and businessperson. Johnson was known for competing in drag pageantry and being dethroned from his title as Miss Gay America 2010, with the title being passed on to Coco Montrese, before gaining prominence and ultimately becoming a fan favorite on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race and the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars. Justin is also known for his award-winning dance company "Beyond Belief Dance Company" out of Mesquite, Texas.[2] The dance company is the centrepiece for a new web-series following Alyssa Edwards titled "Haus of Edwards" premiering in late 2017.[3]


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.[4] 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.[4] Johnson was one of the judges of the 2010 California Entertainer of the Year pageant, which Shangela won.[5]

Johnson appeared in the 2008 documentary Pageant.[6] The film focused on the 34th Miss Gay America pageant of 2006[7] On December 9, 2010, Johnson was stripped of his 2010 Miss Gay America title[8] 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.[9] That same year, Johnson was also stripped of his title as All American Goddess.[10]

Alyssa Edwards performing in Santiago de Chile, August 2016

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.[11] Performing as Alyssa Edwards throughout the season, Johnson won the ballet-themed main challenge in the "Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black? episode".[12] 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.[13] Johnson was eliminated in episode 9, following a lip sync against Coco Montrese, and finished in 6th place. Johnson has also been a special guest on the podcast series run by RuPaul and Michelle Visage called 'What's the Tee?'[14]

Johnson is also known for his web series titled "Alyssa's Secret".[15] 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.[16][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.[17] Johnson won the main challenge of the third episode titled "Herstory of the World". He was then eliminated in Episode 4 "Drag Movie Shequels", only to return in Episode 5 "Revenge of the Queens" by winning a chance to reenter the competition. Johnson was then eliminated a second time in Episode 7 "A Family that Drags Together".


Edwards competed in and won numerous pageant titles.[18] They include:

  • Miss Gay Texas 2003-2004, first alternate
  • Miss Gay Texas America 2004-2005, winner
  • Miss Gay America 2005, second alternate
  • Miss Northwest Regional Representative 2005, winner
  • Miss Gay America 2006, third alternate
  • Miss Gay USofA 2006, winner[7]
  • Miss Gay Mid East America 2008, first alternate
  • Miss Gay America 2009, first alternate
  • Miss Gay Heartland America 2009, third alternate[19]
  • Miss Gay Heartland America 2010, first alternate[19]
  • Miss Gay America 2010, winner (Dethroned)
  • All American Goddess 2010, winner



Year Title Role Notes
2008 Pageant Herself Documentary
2016 Hurricane Bianca Ambrosia Salad Comedy


Year Title Role Notes
2013 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Season 5 - 6th place
RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked Herself Companion show to RuPaul's Drag Race
NewNowNext Awards Herself
2015 Beyond Belief Himself post-production
2015-2016 Skin Wars Herself 2 episodes
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Herself Season 2 - 5th place

Web series[edit]

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


  1. ^ "Register of Suspended Contestants/Affiliates". Gay America Pageants. Archived from the original on February 24, 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ 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. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Addams, Calpernia. "California EOY 2010 – The Recap". Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Pageant (2008) - IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Higbee, Johnathan (3 November 2009). "A Pair of Queens". Instinct. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Suspended Contestant and Affiliate Registry". Miss Gay America. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Blanchard, Steve (3 March 2010). "Coco Montrese is crowned Miss Gay America 2010". Watermark. Retrieved 3 June 2016. 
  10. ^ Nelson, Maxine (30 January 2013). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 5 Premiere: A Fomenting Feud". Yahoo! Voices. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Coughlan, Maggie (19 November 2012). "RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5 Contestants Announced". People. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Framke, Caroline (19 February 2013). "Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black?". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  13. ^ Parker, Lyndsey (5 March 2013). "Great Musical Moments In Reality TV: RuPaul's "Can I Get An Amen"". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ World of Wonder (production company)
  17. ^ "Logo Announces Contestants For "RuPaul's All Star Drag Race" Season 2". 
  18. ^ "Alyssa Edwards". Miss Gay America. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  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]