While embattled freshman congressman George Santos (R-NY) called claims that he competed in drag pageants in Brazil 15 years ago “categorically false,” he has sort of acknowledged photos showing him wearing a strapless red dress and wig that have been circulating online.
“I was not a drag queen in Brazil, guys. I was young and had fun at a festival,” Santos told reporters in January. “Sue me for having a life.”
The comment seemed characteristic of Santos’s… creative relationship to the truth. This is, after all the same person who, in addition to allegedly lying about seemingly every aspect of his resume and biography during his 2022 campaign, has also said that when he claimed to be Jewish he meant “Jew-ish.” (It also echoes the odd distinctions anti-LGBTQ+ Republicans Bill Lee and Nate Schatzline have made recently when confronted with evidence that they appeared in drag in high school.)
Whether you believe Santos (try not to laugh) or his former friends who have said he was desperate to be Miss Gay Rio de Janeiro back then, one thing we can probably all agree on is that drag is best left to the professionals. And it turns out, Santos and his alter ego Kitara Ravache have served as inspiration for a few true pros.
Here are three who have
Meatball turned Santos into mincemeat
Early this week, Dragula Season 1 contestant Meatball posted a video of his recent performance at Drag Race alum Sasha Velour’s New York drag show Nightgowns. The number saw Meatball taking the stage dressed as present-day Santos in his preppy young Republican uniform of shirt-and-tie under sweater. As she lip-syncs to “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman, Meatball pulls off a stunning quick-change, transforming into Kitara Ravanche in her scarlet regalia.
The clip quickly went viral, receiving over 26,000 views on Instagram, 640,000 views on Twitter and 170,000 on TikTok. Jimmy Kimmel even showed the clip on a recent episode of his late-night show.
Jan Sport got Tok-blocked
While Meatball received almost immediate widespread acclaim for her performance, Jan Sport’s Santos parody landed the Drag Race alum in a bit of hot water.
In January, Twitter user @joeyonline_ posted side-by-side photos of Jan Sport and Santos in drag. “Jan Sport vs. Jan 6th,” they tweeted, a reference to the January 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building. (Santos has aligned himself with fellow Republicans who have perpetuated former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election which led to the Capitol insurrection.)
Jan Sport responded to the tweet on TikTok, posting video of herself in Kitara Ravanche drag superimposed over the tweet. But soon after posting, Jan Sport says she was locked out of her TikTok account which was reportedly being reviewed for “adult activity,” despite the fact that she had posted nothing even remotely sexual.
“I feel like people are out to get me because of this video,” she told Insider. “They’re trying to silence our voices.”
Unlike Santos’s drag career, this tale has a happy ending. Jan Sport soon regained access to her account, and recently landed a gig appearing as Kitara Ravache at the 2023 Product of the Year Awards.
“Getting checks as the worlds [sic] premiere George Santos impersonator,” she captioned video of the appearance on TikTok.
Bowen Yang unveils an SNL skitara
Ok, so Bowen Yang isn’t technically a drag queen — just like Santos and Lee and Schatzline! But we stan a trailblazer, and as far as we know, the Fire Island star was the first performer to parody both Santos and Kitara.
In January, Saturday Night Live opened its first show of the year with Yang lampooning Santos as Fox Sports’ newest sideline reporter. Yang, as Santos, claimed that he definitely didn’t do drag in Brazil.
“Whoever did though was very, very good at it and won many, many pageants,” he lied.
Later, Yang returned in full Kitara Ravache drag to deliver Santos’s alter ego’s own overblown performance stats and perform a remix of the Fox Football anthem. It wasn’t quite as impressive as Meatball’s on-stage transformation, but hey, Yang had to skewer so that other queens could slay!