Meet Anastasia Sharp, the new drag queen from Lancaster uni

‘Drag is best when it’s an authentic expression.’

Students of Lancaster University have been limited in their celebration of Pride due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The LGBTQ+ society did not disappoint with their weekly pride month movie nights but the usual ceremony and celebration has become virtual and this is where social media comes in.

After discovering Anastasia Sharp on Instagram, my eyes were opened to a world of drag that has been thriving on the internet throughout lockdown. Lancaster Student Jack’s drag account has 89 followers and counting. Anastasia Sharp is set to be the name on the lips of every Lancaster student – especially if they’ve spent most of quarantine watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.

“I didn’t believe it was an option until I was introduced to ‘Drag Race’ by a queen I went on a date with”

Despite childhood memories of wanting to to emulate women like Anna Wintour, it wasn’t until Jack went on a date with a queen who introduced him to “RuPaul’s Drag Race” that he realised what he’d been missing out on.

The date actually “ghosted him before Anastasia was born” But he is quick to point out that Anastasia “has more followers on Instagram last time [he] checked” and so he’s not too distraught.

“I think it conveys elegance and fortitude for Anastasia”

The inspiration behind the name is a genius composite of the first name of Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov, the Russian princess who allegedly survived the Soviet Revolution, and the surname of Becky Sharp, the immoral, social climbing protagonist of Thackeray’s ‘Vanity Fair’.

“Everyone wants their authentic-self to be liked so that is very fulfilling”

Jack describes the support that Anastasia has received as “freeing” but he considers drag to be “very eye opening.”

In particular, Jack highlights issues that trans women face regularly, such as entering a men’s toilets. While this is a seemingly monotonous activity for someone masculine-presenting, this became something “terrifying” while in drag.

While Jack was well-aware that this was a frequent issue for trans people he admits that he “only really understood when [he] started going out in drag.”

He went on to explain how the support doesn’t always translate across to the dating world, pointing out how many people “scream ‘yasss queen’ but would flat out not date a drag artist.”

“I’m definitely happier expressing both sides of my personality. Although it varies amongst people, I find it to be just expressing myself rather than two sides of a gender binary”

When asked about inspiration one name came to the forefront, Anastasia’s fashion sense comes from Alyssa Edwards.  Jack explains that he is a huge fan of hyper-feminine drag and describes Alyssa Edwards as “the undisputed queen” of this style.

Inspiration can also come from sources closer to home. Dawn Castleberry, his boyfriend’s persona, influences Anastasia just as much. Jack goes as far as to describe Dawn Castleberry as “the talented one of the two of us.”

“I’m extremely controversial for often using my natural brows in HD and extensions over lashes”

Time varies a lot when it comes to how long it takes to get into drag. Every drag queen seems to do things differently and Anastasia seems to break away from the norm when it comes to brows and lashes in particular.

With natural brows and lash extensions becoming Anastasia can take up to six hours. But this process can be halved to more like three hours when painting brows and using false lashes.

“Drag is best when it’s an authentic expression”

Anastasia’s biggest advice to aspiring drag queens: there’s no set way of doing drag.

Drag is can be expressed in whichever way a person desires. If you want to use your natural brows then do it: “If you’re trans you can do drag. If you’re a woman you can do drag.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Meet Teznashe, the Lancs student who wrote the song ‘Black Lives Don’t Just Matter’

We spoke to Lancaster’s BME Student Officer Elect about the uni’s response to BLM

What’s On(line) in Lancaster: Week four