Karress Ann Slaughter (Cornel Hardiman)Photo by Katherin Gaffney

Best Drag Queen

1. Karress Ann Slaughter (Cornel Hardiman) Facebook.com/GlamazonsEugene.

2. Slutashia Facebook.com/Slutashia.

3. Trai La Trash Facebook.com/MsTraiLaTrash

Nothing says “fierce” like perfect eyebrows, sequins and Karress Ann Slaughter.

Slaughter is the picture of queenly perfection and an icon in the community. This is certainly not her first Best of Eugene win, and considering the fire she brings to her performances, it likely won’t be her last.

The competition for the crown is fierce, but Slaughter has an attitude to her performances that let you know she is performing with her all. She knows how to work a crowd, and she can navigate technical dance steps in heels higher than most of us can walk in.

Slaughter, who we know by day as Cornel Hardiman, first became interested in drag back in 1993, after watching What’s Love Got To Do With It, where Angela Bassett plays the role of Tina Turner and re-creates the diva’s iconic life. Hardiman had always been a huge fan of Turner, and watching the transformation of the actress into Tina Turner intrigued him. He wanted to have that same experience, and more. He still gives homage to Turner, but also cites Janet Jackson and Beyoncé as influences.

Once Hardiman made the decision to embrace his inner super diva and show his amazing legs off on the big stage, he found himself adopted into the Slaughter family. It’s fairly common within the drag community for queens to form their own families, where they share the same last name and help raise up a new queen to her full potential.  Hardiman says he found himself under the wing of Estée Slaughter, who ultimately became his drag mother and helped him grow into the star he is today.

Hardiman performs as Karess Ann Slaughter on a regular basis in the Eugene area. Currently, you can find him performing as a member of the Glamazons at Cowfish on Friday nights — or if you are looking for something milder you can attend the Drag Brunch at Axe & Fiddle, an event pioneered by Slaughter/Hardiman the last Sunday of every month.

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