Yvie Oddly

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Yvie Oddly
Dragcon-25 (47937194866).jpg
Born
Jovan Bridges

(1993-08-22) August 22, 1993 (age 25)
ResidenceDenver, Colorado, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
OccupationDrag queen
Years active2012–present
Known forRuPaul's Drag Race (season 11) winner
PredecessorAquaria
Websiteoddlyyvie.com

Yvie Oddly, the stage name of Jovan Bridges,[1] is an American drag queen, performer, fashion designer, and singer from Denver, Colorado, who came to international attention in 2019 when she competed on and won the eleventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race. New York magazine named Oddly one of the top 100 Most Powerful RuPaul Drag Race Queens in America in June 2019.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Bridges was born on August 22, 1993, in Denver.[3] As a child, he played with his mother's makeup and dressed in his sister's clothes.[4] He participated in gymnastics and other strenuous extracurricular activities until he was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome at age 15.[5] He began musical theatre as an alternative.[5]

Bridges describes her first exposure to drag as taking place in middle school, when a classmate dressed up as a hooker for Halloween and attracted significant attention. The following Halloween, Bridges dressed as a hooker and enjoyed both her peers' shock and admiration.[6] She attended college at Auraria Campus.[7]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Oddly committed to drag after seeing Sharon Needles on RuPaul’s Drag Race, “She was spooky. Her makeup was terrible. She was more dedicated to art and wit than being a glamorous female impersonator.”[4] Before that Oddly didn’t embrace all the opportunities being a drag artist offered as she was just a “skinny, black, gay guy,” Oddly said.[4]

Oddly started doing drag during college in 2012 when Venus D'lite from RuPaul's Drag Race hosted a workshop on the college campus for Valentine's Day.[8] “I attempted some drag (or ghost) makeup, put on a super-cheap red wig and dress, and backflipped my way through “Scheiße” by Lady Gaga.[8] Her first performances were at Denver’s gay bar Tracks.[9] Yvie Oddly came from her pun to express “being even odder than anybody else”.[8] She soon developed a reputation for having “outrageous and unconventional looks on stage”.[10] Her ingenuity came from financial necessity as making the "most glamorous or the most expensive” looks weren’t an option, “I’ve just always liked to work with the materials that I have around me."[11] In 2014 she was an extra in the music video for Sharon Needles's "Dressed to Kill."[12]

Oddly was the winner of the Ultimate Queen of Denver pageant in 2015.[13][14] Later that summer Oddly became a cast member of Drag Nation, opened for pop star Mya on the Main Stage for PrideFest, and performed in Bohemia's The Prohibition of Lust.[8] She was also in the music video for Adore Delano's "Negative Nancy" in 2017.[15]

In 2017 Oddly said she uses drag to confront gender roles.[16] In 2018 when asked about her drag aesthetics Oddly said she likes to shock and surprise with something the audience hasn’t seen before, including dramatic looks, even employing unconventional and found materials.[7] In 2019 she stated she’s a drag queen who blends “artistry, fashion, performance and concept”.[16] She draws inspiration from French fashion designer Thierry Mugler, and ‘terrorist’ drag queen Christeene.[17]

RuPaul’s Drag Race[edit]

Oddly was announced to be on season eleven of RuPaul's Drag Race on January 24, 2019.[18] She is the second queen from Denver to compete on Drag Race, after Nina Flowers.[19] Flowers was runner-up in the show’s 2009 debut, competed in “RuPaul’s Drag U” in 2010, and “RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race” in 2012.[16] During the competition Oddly was noted for her eccentric and conceptual looks, her performance ability and her quirky and outspoken personality, she quickly became a fan and judges favorite. Oddly said the time of the competition was somewhat lonely as she wasn’t able to talk to friends or family.[20] She spoke about her motives for competing on the show:

“It starts to be seen through this two-dimensional perspective of what we expect from drag ... because I’ve seen a formula building up, where if you have a lot of money and you wear something really sparkly ... the general public is going to fall in love with you. I wanted to shake that up and remind people that this art form is a queer art form.”[21]

Early episodes[edit]

Oddly was the winner of the second episode main challenge with Scarlet Envy.[22][23] She spent six weeks in a row placing in the top of the competition which makes her the queen with the most times in a row placing in the top after Jinkx Monsoon with eight times. In the eighth episode, she landed in the bottom two with Brooke Lynn Hytes, who was also doing very well up to then, and the two had to lip-sync battle to Demi Lovato's "Sorry Not Sorry."[24][25][26] The battle was one “of the best lip syncs in the show’s history.”[27] RuPaul surprised everyone by not eliminating either contestant, and ultimately they were the top two queens of the season.

During the show, she was in a constant rivalry with fellow competitor Silky Nutmeg Ganache.[28][29] When asked by RuPaul who should go home Silky named Oddly because of her twisted ankle even though Oddly completed the choreography, Oddly named Silky as the one who should leave because she was resistant to critiques from RuPaul and the other judges.[30] Entertainment site Gold Derby held a poll with 94% siding with Oddly.[30] During the March 21 episode, while the queens were being taught some complex choreography for a live production of the political satire Trump: The Rusical, Oddly revealed she had to be careful about dropping to the ground as her joints often popped out of place.[31] She has a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers–Danlos syndrome type 3 which means she doesn’t produce as much collagen.[31] Hers is a subtype that is known as hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS).[32]

Final episodes[edit]

In the penultimate episode, the final five queens wrote, recorded, danced, and performed a verse in a single-shot video hip-hop version of RuPaul’s “Queens Everywhere”.[33] Out said Oddly’s performance was the best with her work on point and well performed.[33] They added, “Her risks, boldness, and weirdo ideas have often landed her harsh critiques and enemies on the show — but at least she’s out here taking risks”.[33] Judge Todrick Hall later apologized for calling her choreography spastic, he was told by fans in the United Kingdom that it was a taboo thing to say there.[34] The judges praised her performance, her verse and her final runway look, and she received the best critiques of the night making her the first queen to be named by RuPaul to move to the finale. Out of the top four she had the fewest wins but also the fewest times in the bottom. Oddly is the winner with the fewest challenge wins in RuPaul's Drag Race history.

In May 2019, Honey Davenport featured Oddly in the Pride-themed song and music video "Stan for U."[35] Oddly released her first single with Cazwell, "Weirdo", on May 22, 2019.[36] The music video was released the day before,[37] and was directed by Assaad Yacoub.[38] It includes Oddly’s dancers including drag daughter Neurotika Killz and Oddly’s drag husband Captain ButtPirate Morgan.[39]

In the season finale, held in Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theatre, Oddly was in the final three and lip-synced against A'keria Davenport to Rhianna’sS.O.S.”, which she won.[40] For that battle she wore a dress decorated with stuffed animals toys and neon fake fur.[41] Oddly then faced off in the final lip-sync of the season against Brooke Lynn Hytes to Lady Gaga‘s “The Edge of Glory”, which she also won.[40] She had already shown she could deliver impressive physical performances,so refrained from stunts or gags, and worked to “really connect to the song, and deliver a strong artistic performance that would hopefully still get my voice out as an artist.”[42]

For the final battle Oddly wore a distinctive headpiece with mirrors that from the front made her look like she had three faces, and on the back was a second mask,[43] the headpiece was made by Darrell Thorne, while Kristi Siedow-Thompson designed the dress.[44] Her parents, who hadn’t spoken to one another in years, sat together in the audience in support.[45] Oddly was declared the winner of Season 11 of Drag Race, and “America’s Next Drag Superstar”, on May 30th, 2019.[46][47] She encouraged the audience to, “Follow your oddities and fly your freak flag!”[48]

Oddly’s win is the latest in a series of title wins by black queer and trans people in drag pageants and leather competitions, a turnaround for LGBTQ communities.[49] She feels that queer people of color have not been credited enough for their contributions to queer culture.[44] Oddly is “part Black, part Caucasian, and some part Native American.[50] Additionally she says, “there’s been so much debate on my race: whether or not I’m Black, whether or not colorism is at play.”[44] Her anger at being disrespected by the gay community because she’s Black prompted her to get into drag.[44]

Post-RuPaul’s Drag Race[edit]

Oddly is a part of the RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq the World Tour (Season 11 Tour), which started in May 2019.[51] The tour includes all fifteen queens from the show and will visit seventeen cities throughout North America, including five stops in Canada which is getting its own competition, Drag Race Canada. It began in Los Angeles during RuPaul’s DragCon LA and will end in September in New York City during RuPaul’s DragCon NYC.[52] The tour will continue to major cities in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, ending in November.[53] Oddly will also do the Werq the World Tour.[20] In June 2019, Oddly performed at Denver’s PrideFest, the city’s annual LGBTQ pride parade and festival, and hosted “Drag Nation” at her home bar Tracks.[54] Her first post-win U.K. performance was at Bournemouth’s DYMK.[55] As part of Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019, the world’s largest LGBTQ event, Oddly will perform at the June 26th Opening Ceremony benefiting the Ali Forney Center, Immigration Equality, and Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE),[56] and at the LadyLand Festival June 28.[57]

In June 2019 World of Wonder, the production company behind RuPaul’s Drag Race, announced Oddly will star in her own reality show series, Yvie Oddly’s Oddities aired worldwide on WOW Presents Plus.[58] It follows the bargain-hunting queen to thrift stores where she shops for “throwaway items to turn one queen’s trash into her jaw-dropping fashion treasures”.[58][59] In July 2019, she was criticized for no longer doing selfies after shows citing being spent; she later added that she had to set boundaries.[60]

Personal life[edit]

Oddly has been diagnosed with type 3 Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.[61][62][63] With her heightened status she’s found a community of people living with HEDS, and other invisible disabilities, who call themselves zebras as they have more exotic disease than doctors would expect.[5]

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2019 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Winner
2019 RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Ref.
2019 Watcha Packin' Herself [64]
2019 Queen to Queen Herself [65]

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Role
2014 "Dressed to Kill" Sharon Needles Bag-Head
2017 "Negative Nancy" Adore Delano Baseball player
2019 "Weirdo" Herself and Cazwell Herself
"Stan for U"
(feat. Yvie Oddly)
Honey Davenport Herself
"Dolla Store" Herself Herself

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Title
2019 "Weirdo" with Cazwell and Craig C.[66]
2019 "Stan for You", featuring Yvie Oddly[67]
2019 "Dolla $tore"[68]
2019 ”Baby Shark” (cover)[69]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ The Editors (June 10, 2019). "The Most Powerful Drag Queens in America: Ranking the new establishment". New York. New York Media, LLC. Archived from the original on June 10, 2019. Retrieved June 10, 2019.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Oddly, Yvie (2019-03-10). "August 22nd". @oddlyyvie. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  4. ^ a b c "Denver's Yvie Oddly — "the future of drag" — on the art and politics of poking at society". The Denver Post. 2017-06-11. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
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  56. ^ "WorldPride Is Here! Everything You Need to Know to Celebrate in New York City". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  57. ^ "LadyLand Festival Announces 2019 Lineup Featuring Pussy Riot, Gossip and Allie X -". mxdwn Music. 2019-06-07. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
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  59. ^ "World of Wonder unveils drag queen-heavy summer slate". Retrieved 2019-06-29.
  60. ^ Damshenas, Sam (July 22, 2019). "Drag Race star Yvie Oddly issues apology to fans over controversial tweets". Gay Times. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  61. ^ "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Contestant Reveals She Has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome". The Mighty. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  62. ^ "Drag Race's Yvie Oddly Opens Up About Living with Ehlers Danos Disease". www.out.com. 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  63. ^ "'RPDR' Star Yvie Oddly Is an Inspiration When It Comes to Living With an Invisible Disability". Distractify. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
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  66. ^ "Yvie Oddly, Craig C, & Cazwell Channel Their Inner "Weirdo" On Their Brand New Track! • Instinct Magazine". Instinct Magazine. 2019-05-23. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  67. ^ "The Oddity; Yvie Oddly On Her "RuPaul's Drag Race" Win, Making More Music, & Why We Should All Be Taking More Risks • Instinct Magazine". Instinct Magazine. 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  68. ^ "Exclusive: Watch Yvie Oddly Go on a Strange "Dolla $tore" Shopping Spree | NewNowNext". www.newnownext.com. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  69. ^ Hatmaker, Julia (2019-07-12). "Baby Shark Live! is coming to Pa. and we still have the song in our head". pennlive.com. Retrieved 2019-07-13.

External links[edit]