In the Terrace Drag Ball, participants from a variety of backgrounds and Princeton experiences perform in drag for a captive audience. In keeping with true drag form, competitors receive ranking from a panel of judge, which also serves to keep suspense high.
A Terrace ritual, the Ball is meant to allow participants to be themselves, an opportunity that Princeton doesn’t always afford, says Madeleine Le Cesne, the club’s events chair. The event, she hopes, provides a “safe space and a brave space” to “push against the mold, to question and challenge assumptions.”
In previous years, the Drag Ball has been coopted by other groups who forced new members to participate as initiation rituals. Competitors and organizers alike find this practice – subsequently banned by Terrace – to be the antithesis of the spirit of the event.
For some participants, the event is an opportunity to present themselves in a way that they otherwise would not, or even to let out feelings that are somewhat repressed, though they might not necessarily feel they are “becoming” someone else.
In keeping with the ethos of open doors, the Ball is held early on in the school year to send a message to the Princeton community: regardless of eating club membership, Terrace and the Drag Ball are places where all are welcome.