Am I talking about being dead last on RuPaul’s Drag Race (You know, the wildly-addictive, funny and touching reality show that looks for America’s next drag superstar)? Am I talking about the drag queens who get eliminated on the first episode of every season like Porkchop, Shangela, Penny Tration, Kelly Mantle, Magnolia Crawford, Tempest DuJour, etc.?
I’m talking about being dead last when my classmates and I in the Professional Development Program 3.0 class created a comprehensive points system in January 2016 to track our progression as the CEO’s of ourselves as artistic businesses. The points system covers many different categories of career administration and the value of the points varies from one category to the next. For example, putting up a scene in class is worth a certain amount of points whereas booking a guest star role on a TV series is worth a higher amount of points. Mailing out postcards is worth a certain amount of points and making an industry phone call is worth another amount of points.
What I love about the points system is that it gives me an accurate picture of where I am thriving as an artist and where I am not. Which areas I am strong in and which areas I need to put more attention on. And you have to be honest about giving yourself points in the different categories because it’s an honest look at your career administration. To cheat the points system in order to be ahead of others only hurts yourself. To cheat and add points that weren’t earned only hurts yourself in the long run. We are a business. We punch in and we punch out. The points system tracks our progress. It’s our profits and loss statements. It’s our growth statements. No point in cheating.
When we started tracking our points back in January, I was shocked to see that I was dead last in terms of points earned. Out of all my classmates, I was dead last for three or four weeks straight. I was mortified! How could I, of all people, be dead last in the areas of career administration?!?!?!?! I’m supposed to be Chasing The George every week!!!! I’m supposed to be the motherfucking man, careering gaily over the waves!!!!
Instead, I looked like the screaming man in the famous painting, “The Scream”, by expressionist artist Edvard Munch. The horrors! The horrors!
Instead of giving up, I decided to focus and study the facts. First of all, I wasn’t clear about what I wanted 2016 to be about on a professional level. That was problem number one. Public enemy number one. Without clarity, my career administration was general and uninspired. I didn’t have clearly-defined goals to work towards. So being dead last was a wake up call for me to get specific about what I wanted 2016 to be about.
Once I got specific about the professional design for 2016, I moved pretty quickly into the second to last position on the overall points earner list. I was earning more points in different categories and that excited me! The points system also forced me to administrate and take action in certain categories that were uncomfortable for me. Categories I had a flinch on. Why does this section have no points at at all? What am I scared of? Focus on this area. Confront it. Be a better artist at the end of the day because I am confronting uncomfortable categories.
As I gained momentum on my career administration, I continued to move up the overall points earner list. If I saw someone gaining up on me, I worked harder and pushed myself further. What risks could I take this week to stay ahead?
On July 8th, we assessed our six-month progress in class and it was really nice to hear the points list administrator acknowledge how cool it was to see me move up the list over the last six months. By the time we assessed our progress on July 8th, I was in the Top 3! I was positioned at #3!
In RuPaul’s Drag Race terms, I was the drag queen who made Top 3! I joined the ranks of past Top 3 Drag Race contestants like Nina Flowers, Alaska Thunderfuck, Roxxxy Andrews, Adore Delano, Courtney Act, Pearl, Ginger Minj, Kimchi, Naomi Smalls, etc. When you make Top 3 in RuPaul’s Drag Race, your career is pretty much set for life. Top 3 is still a rocking place to be even if you aren’t crowned America’s next drag superstar (the person who ultimately comes in at number one) Top 3 is an achievement. These three have shown consistency week to week on the show and also Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. C.U.N…
Instead of being told to “Sashay away”, I was told, “Shantay, you stay”. Or, more importantly, I told myself to stay and keep fighting.
It was such a gratifying experience to see my hard work pay off.
On July 8th, the points system got revamped and became more streamlined. All our points have been reset and we’re all starting from ground zero again. I hope to be Top 3 again. I’d LOVE to be number one by the time 2016 comes to an end, but I’ll be just as happy with Top 3. Why? Because being Top 3 is still a cause for celebration. It’s still an indication that the work flow I’ve created and maintained for myself is working. It’s still an indication of how consistent my career administration is. Having a work consistency that produces results, that makes an impact and that is in alignment with what I’m about is more important to me.
And at the end of the day, I can rest assured knowing that if I make Top 3 again, I can come back for the All Stars Season…okay, okay, enough of these RuPaul’s Drag Race
(By the way, RuPaul and Michelle Visage, I would LOVE to be a guest judge on a future season of Drag Race! xoxo)