The first time Masoudae Rezvani competed in a drag competition — they won.

In the six months since that performance, Rezvani has become a regular participant in the amateur drag shows at LUSH, a queer bar in northeast Minneapolis.

Rezvani, a linguistics junior at the University of Minnesota, identifies as gender non-binary. As their drag persona — Heda Thrasher — they are one of many queer performers changing the face of drag.

The art of drag has been a critical element of LGBTQIA expression and community since the rise in its popularity in the ’70s and ’80s in large urban centers, like New York City.

Traditionally consisting of gay, cis-gender men dressing as women, the definition of drag is constantly evolving as individuals who exist outside of the gender binary continue to gain visibility and perform.

“For me, drag means being able to bend gendered expectations while expressing myself creatively and building a community based on art and acceptance,” Rezvani said.

Cultural icons like RuPaul and Divine have helped bring drag to the masses through television and film, but local communities are what truly keep the culture thriving.

Rezvani participates in the local drag community at LUSH while also balancing school and work. Though time-consuming and often expensive, the hobby is ultimately rewarding. “Drag is an artistic expression of myself,” Rezvani said.

Minnesota Daily photographer Maddy Fox followed Rezvani through a performance night on March 23.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani puts on makeup in their bedroom, transforming into their drag persona, Heda Thrasher.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani positions their fake eyelashes in their bedroom, transforming into their drag persona, Heda Thrasher.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani digs through their closet, searching for an outfit to wear during their drag performance that night.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani sits in the audience while performing to the song “Masochism Tango” at LUSH.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani takes a dollar bill from a LUSH patron while performing as Heda Thrasher.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani takes a dollar bill from a LUSH patron while performing as Heda Thrasher.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani poses at the front of the LUSH stage as the crowd votes for their favorite performers of the night.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani looks on as the finalists of LUSH’s DragEvolution competition are announced. While they did not make it to the second round on this day, they have won the competition in the past.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani lifts their dress to show off the marks made by a corset after performing as their drag character, Heda Thrasher.

MADDY FOX / MINNESOTA DAILY

Masoudae Rezvani removes their drag makeup at the end of the night, following a performance as Heda Thrasher at LUSH in Northeast Minneapolis.