Rewind to 1981. Sequestered in the Iowa cornfields… ah, forget that. Everyone knows the spiel about bad girl Sharon Needles plastering her face to the television and painting on makeup in a small town that ejected her from hallowed ground, only to catapult her to stardom… or is that Hell? Anyway, to make a long story short, this reviled sweetheart had a plan of action that would take her out of the depths of too much corn into a dark, exciting city where the corn syrup and corn liquor at least have a label.
Fast-forward to 2004. A staple on the Pittsburgh nightclub and underground arts scene… ah, ignore this. Everyone knows she dodged bottles and groping hands for years while she paraded onstage like a vampire in high fashion. Frankly, people thought she was either stupid or possessed by a drag demon until the Pittsburgh City Council honored Needles for outstanding work as an advocate for LGBT youth, declaring June 12 Sharon Needles Day.
Break through to 2012. Now we’re talking… as long as we leave out the funny part about the soul of a shoe and the not-so-funny part about an arsonist torching her home. The reigning season four winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race and professor on RuPaul’s Drag U, Sharon Needles has performed throughout North America on an eighty-city tour, popping out of caskets everywhere.
Needles went on to host Logo TV’s weekly horror picture show FEARce! and with her amazing live singing voice and vocal range, she received excellent reviews for her role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Woodlawn Theater in San Antonio, Texas, as well as a sold out run at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, playing the lead in the original play Silence of the Trans. Alongside the Scissor Sisters, accolades again in another full-capacity show.
She posed nude-ish for the UK fashion magazine IDOL… just had to get that in there… ah, don’t even think about it… that’s not what we meant… and made the cover for OUT’s most influential entertainer in America, dubbed Stylemaker of the Year in the publication’s annual OUT 100. Her haunting, vegetarian presence appeared on PETA billboards throughout the US in a Halloween season protest against meat consumption and commercial farming, which kicked off in NYC’s meatpacking district. Alongside Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson, Needles is a spokesperson for this animal rights organization. She released her own line of Halloween masks and underwear with a pentagram on the… uh, sorry, that wasn’t appropriate. A model for androgynous clothing lines by the hottest NYC fashion designers, such as Scooter LaForge, Geoffrey Mac, and Deryck Todd, this post-Warhol mannequin knows how to position herself for a camera.
Never short on attention, Needles has acquired an impressive list of admirers. Lady Gaga gave a public stamp of approval, calling her, “Fabulous,” envious of her couture fashion, and asked, “any rentals for my tour?” Kelly Osbourne announced, “If I could wake up and be a ‘real’ drag queen, I would want to be Sharon Needles.” Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters simply gushed, “I really, really, really love Sharon.”
On to infamy. Needles released a twelve-track studio album on January 29, 2013, fulfilling a lifelong dream of collaborating with her idols: Ana Matronic, Jayne County, Amanda Lepore, RuPaul, renowned theremin player Armen Ra, and partner Alaska Thunderfuck, a season five star of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Produced by Tomas Costanza, PG-13 is a stellar debut. Costanza said, “Sharon Needles is the most paranoid, disgusting, vile, lewd, corrupt, and obscene bitch I’ve ever met. And I mean that in a good way. Basically, there are three human needs in life: Sex, Scotch, and Sharon Needles.”
A music video filmed at the historic McKittrick Hotel in NYC was released simultaneously. Directed by M. Sharkey, known for his work with Boy George, Adele, and Sir Elton John, “This Club Is a Haunted House” is a Hitchcock-inspired production with a crew of over one hundred people styled by acclaimed fashion designer Geoffrey Mac, another industry icon who made his mark with Britney Spears, Ke$ha, and Nicki Minaj. A documentary directed by Paul Brickman on the making of this artistic achievement will titillate all those who have an interest in, let’s just say, the macabre and the paranormal. By the way… Parental Guidance Suggested… uh, that’s the title… in case any brain-dead admirers didn’t get it.
Remember… it doesn’t stop here. She announced a forty-city world tour, extending her “Every Night is Halloween Ball” into Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States in 2013. Sharon Needles remains on the cusp of an international career as a performer, model, and songwriter. Her versatile talent will take her to new endeavors in television, stage, and music.