Boone Barbies give back to community, drag for charity


Evan Bates

Diana Carr holds the attention of the audience at their fingertips, collecting their tips as they strut, as handing performers tips as they perform is a customary tradition at drag shows. Tonight, a portion of the proceeds benefited OASIS, a non-profit organization here in Boone.

Ella McIntosh, Reporter

Every month at Lily’s Snack Bar, a local drag act storms the stage, transforming the bar’s usual atmosphere. With each show, a bustling crowd turns up to cheer on an all-star lineup of drag queens, watching them lip-sync as if their lives depend on it. 

The Boone Barbies have spent almost a full year working to get their name out into the community, but began their ongoing partnership with Lily’s this past summer. Both the Barbies and Lily’s donate 10% of each show’s overall sales to charities.

Drewcifer unleashes a death drop on the audience, an iconic move in drag done by falling backwards onto the ground, with one leg bent and one straight out. (Evan Bates)

Benadryl and Molly Pocket are the drag house’s founding members and self-proclaimed “house mothers.” They act as coaches to new members with advice and makeup tips. They have what they call “mother meetings” each week to coordinate dates of shows and complete interorganizational “housekeeping” tasks.

“Molly Pocket and I met in October of 2021 when we both performed at the Sexuality and Gender Alliance amateur drag show. We immediately became friends and we decided after that to work on scoping out as many more performing opportunities as possible,” said Benadryl, a third year pre-law student and Boone Barbies founder.  

  Benadryl and Molly Pocket came together last autumn with nothing but a vision, and just one year later, their drag group has become a household name in Boone. With the help of Lily’s event coordinator and social media manager Stephanie Holt, they have planned and put on a series of drag performances in Boone.

“It all started with the SAGA Halloween show. Every single chair was filled, so people started sitting on the floor. I met almost every member of the Boone Barbies that night,” said, founding member and senior art major, Molly Pocket, “I remember going backstage after the show and being like, ‘What do you guys all think of Boone Barbies as a group name?’ I’d been set on that name for a while.” 

Molly Pocket and Benadryl pose for a portrait in front of Lily’s Snack Bar. The drag house mothers work closely with Lily’s, where most of their performances take place. (Evan Bates)

Molly Pocket and Benadryl work closely together planning each event. They act as representatives for the Barbies at meetings with venues, where they work out logistics and select  the dates for each event. They also work together to handpick which charities to partner with for each show. The Barbies have recently been working with Oasis, a non-profit organization that aims to enrich the lives of impoverished women and children, as well as helping serve victims of domestic violence. They plan to have an information booth for the organization at upcoming shows.

“Ten percent of overall Lily’s Snack Bar sales from 8 p.m. to whatever time the show ends is what we donate to each show’s chosen charity. This includes ticket sales, food and drink sales, and the queens’ tips,” Holt said.

There are currently eleven performers in the group, but the house prides itself on being inclusive, frequently inviting new members to perform at their shows. 

“I definitely think the Boone Barbies are here to stay and I would be happy to carry on the group’s legacy in the future as one of the younger members of the Barbies,” said new member and sophomore marketing major Will-Oh!.

The Barbies’ decision to choose Lily’s as a repeat venue was originally based on its reputation for being a welcoming environment for members of the LGBTQ+ community, as evident by the signs displayed around the bar.

“We had heard about their reputation for being a really accepting environment, which is super important for drag events, so we decided to reach out. Since our first meeting with them, though, it became clear that they don’t only talk about being accepting, but they really care about taking actions to help the community,” Benadryl said.

The Barbies said they plan to work closely with Lily’s for as long as possible, but they also plan to take their performances to campus as soon as next semester, along with reaching out to several other Boone venues. Molly Pocket specifically mentioned plans to hold dinner-and-drag events at Mellow Mushroom very soon.

Benadryl drops her outer garment, filled with insults and derogatory names, as a reminder that no matter what anyone else may call you, you know who you are. (Evan Bates)

For the best way to stay updated about their events, the Barbies said to follow them on Instagram @boone_barbies and to direct message their account if interested in getting involved in their performances.