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DES MOINES – Iowans can cast votes through Nov. 10 for your favorite drag performers, producers, and DJ’s, through the third annual Iowa Drag Awards.

The awards, founded by drag queen Chanelle Rosé, are an effort to celebrate local performers while also bringing high-profile national drag artists to Iowa. A first round of voting that ended last month resulted in 47 different artists nominated in 14 categories, by 500 voters from across the state. Two other categories included DJs and drag “haus” of the year.

Taystee and Hollywood Hope

Taystee and Hollywood Hope are among four performers who were nominated in four categories.


“We directly reached out to every single gay bar in the state of Iowa this time,” says Jen Carruthers, the former head of Des Moines’ Capital City Pride who joined Rosé this year in coordinating the awards. “We wanted to make sure that everyone knows, this is a statewide celebration.”

Winners of second-round voting will be announced at a Dec. 14 formal gala in Des Moines that features nationally-known drag performers including RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Denali and drag king Spikey Van Dikey.


Among the 47 Iowa drag artists nominated, some stood out for recognition in several categories. Performers Hollywood Hope, Hazel Sanchez Belle, Robin Graves and Taystee all received nominations in four of the 16 categories.

Robin Graves and Hazel Sanchez-Belle

Robin Graves and Hazel Sanchez-Belle were also nominated in four different categories.

Iowa Drag Awards have expanded from Des Moines

Rosé founded the awards in 2021, initially calling them the East Village Drag Awards after the famously LGBTQ+-friendly part of Des Moines where two drag destinations are located, The Blazing Saddle and The Garden.

“I wanted to find a way to spotlight our rapidly growing and thriving drag community. Even through COVID, the drag performing community continued to develop and grow, which is something a lot of industries didn’t do,” said Rosé, who discovered drag herself during the COVID pandemic.

 This year, though the awards still have a distinctly Des Moines-based flavor, the nominees come from a broader array of geographic areas. Hollywood Hope, for instance, hails from Iowa City and appears most frequently at Studio 13 there and at Cedar Rapids’ Basix.

Spikey Van Dikey and Denali

Spikey Van Dikey and Denali are among 10 performers to be featured at the Iowa Drag Awards ceremony Dec. 14.

Nationally known performers, local standouts featured at Dec. 14 awards show

When the winners of voting are announced Dec. 14, it will feature several changes from previous years.

The first is that more national performers will be on stage that night. Spikey Van Dikey, who was was featured in an Elle Magazine video  in 2017 and is considered a pioneering drag king nationwide. Denali competed in Season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2021 and is renowned for, among other things, creating numbers that feature her on ice skates.


“It’s super exciting that we’re not only bringing in our local talent from all over the state, but also that we have performers coming in from Minneapolis, Nebraska, and more,” she says. “Like Denali. Unless it’s PrideFest, you typically don’t see those girls come through.”

Chanelle Rosé and Jen Carruthers

Chanelle Rosé and Jen Carruthers are coordinating the Iowa Drag Awards.

The show has moved to Wooly’s, providing more space. And because of the expanded effort, which Carruthers and Rose say is now a year-round task, this is the first year Iowa Drag Awards is selling tickets. General admission is $25, and a VIP pass is also available for $60. Find all ticket options for the Iowa Drag Awards here.

Head to this link to cast your vote in the Iowa Drag Awards until Nov. 10 (a version of this story in TRM’s print edition inaccurately mentions Nov. 4 as the deadline).

Here’s a listing of all the nominees, plus links wherever possible so you can get to know each nominee a little better:

Best Show Producer

Best Social Media 

Best Emcee



Chey Boi

Drag king Chey Boi was nominated in two categories.

Best Dancer 


Best Costume Designer 

Comedy Queen 

Best Makeup Artists 

Best DJ

  • Lady J – Basix
  • Emma – Studio 13
  • Dj N8 – Studio 13
  • DJ Stampy – Blazing Saddle
  • Erotica Divine – Studio 13

Rising Star 

Haus of the year 

  • Diamonds
  • Belles
  • Monroe
  • Love
  • Knight

Best Non-binary Entertainer 

Best Female Entertainer 

Best Male Entertainer 

Best Drag King 

Best Drag Queen