Milwaukee Shows Love for ‘Drag Race’ Winner Jaida Essence Hall

After taking home the drag queen crown, Jaida Essence Hall got a hometown (socially-distanced) parade.

She’s a winner, baby. On Friday night, Milwaukee’s Jaida Essence Hall was crowned the winner of Season 12 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” the competition to find “America’s Next Drag Superstar.” This makes Hall the first queen from Milwaukee to win a regular season of the show. Along the way, Hall snatched three challenge wins and the love of thousands of fans.

During the finale on Friday, before Jaida cinched the win with her sickening performance of “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child, Hall told RuPaul how growing up on Milwaukee’s north side shaped her into the queen she is today. “Coming from a place that was so hard to grow up in and so rough, it made me a better competitor in so many other aspects in my life,” she said.

Because the show finished production during the coronavirus lockdown, Hall gave her final performance and was crowned in her apartment, not on a massive stage in front of an adoring crowd like a typical winner of the show. “It was tough, because I thrive off the live energy,” she says. “But there was a lot on the line, so I had to bring it.”

The lockdown didn’t stop her Milwaukee supporters from showing her some love. On Saturday, a caravan of Hall’s fans drove by her home in Milwaukee, honking their horns, screaming congratulations and passing gifts to her through their car windows. Hall reposted a video of the event, tweeting, “Y’all see exactly why I love my home town and my people!!! This was the best surprise.”

And to her fans, Hall had this to say over Twitter following her crowning Friday night: “Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for hearing my story. I really want y’all to know and remember that you are unique, you are special, you’re beautiful and brilliant and you can do anything. ANYTHING! I love y’all!!!!”

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Jude is an editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine. He is a freshman at Northwestern University studying journalism, gender and sexuality studies and theatre.