Students gathered to learn cookie decorating techniques from drag queen, Plenty O’Smiles.
Gorilla Activities Board (GAB) hosted the event at 7 p.m in the Overman Ballroom on Thursday, Oct. 21. Approximately 100 PSU students attended the event where they iced Halloween themed cookies under the instruction of Plenty O’Smiles.
“Both drag and cookie decorating are art forms… with drag you are constantly growing and learning new techniques and that is the same thing with cookies,” O’Smiles said. “Both of them encourage constant artistic growth.”
O’Smiles is from Columbus, OH and has been performing drag for almost 9 years. She started her cookie decorating business 6 years ago and began hosting workshops.
“I haven’t done a lot of in person events because of COVID, so getting the opportunity to meet new people, learn names, discuss cookie decorating, and have fun with students was wonderful, because that is what this is all about.” O’Smiles said .
GAB typically hosts an event centered around drag every year.
“Our drag events here on campus, both virtually and in person, always bring in a large crowd with a ton of enthusiasm..,” said Cale Chapman, junior in communications and GAB president. “We thought cookie decorating would be a fun way to go about engaging with that audience.”
GAB was not the only organization involved in Plenty O’Cookies.
“The Gender Sexuality Alliance had reached out to us in the process of planning the event and asked if they could come have a table to reach out to the people that attended the event,” said Chapman. “Of course, GAB said, ‘Yes.’ We love working with other organizations whether it’s something smaller like tonight, with a table and an introduction, or a larger scale collaboration where we are working with an organization every step of the way.”
The goal through events like these is for everybody to come together, express themselves, and have fun while doing it, according to Chapman.
“It is definitely a main goal of GAB’s to bring people to campus who are going to enrich our students’ lives with different cultures and points of view,” Chapman said. “GAB wants to bring in events, performers, and personalities that expose our student body to different viewpoints that they aren’t necessarily going to get here in southeastern Kansas.”
O’Smiles also said that the students at Pitt State were “welcoming.”
“Everyone was wonderful, I always get a little bit nervous when I am going somewhere new by myself,” O’Smiles said. “But I know a lot of times when people act out towards people in the LGBTQ community, it’s because they don’t know much about it.”
Cookie decorating is not the only thing O’Smiles is willing to educate people on.
“There is always this misconception that drag queens are transgender, but to us, this (drag performance) is theater,” O’Smiles said. “I am creating this character with makeup and a costume. So even if I face opposition, it’s an opportunity to inform people on a topic they probably haven’t been exposed to.”
Plenty encourages everybody to pursue their interests and gives some words of advice for people curious about drag.
“For anyone who maybe wants to dabble in drag, check out your local drag scene, and if you don’t have a local drag you can find some great tutorials on YouTube,” O’Smiles said. “A lot of drag personalities are excited to discuss tips and tricks with curious people.”