University president claims that performing drag prepared her for leadership

In a piece for Columbus Monthly, Melanie Corn of Columbus College of Art and Design wrote that performing drag ‘prepared’ her to become a college president.

Corn claims that her experience with drag was more influential for her career than classroom training.

Melanie Corn, President of Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, wrote an editorial for Columbus Monthly on Aug. 22 outlining her experiences performing as a “drag king,” claiming that they molded her into the college president she is today.

Corn classifies her drag experience as  “one that prepared me for my career as a college president better than much of what I learned in a formal classroom.”

Ms. Corn was first introduced to drag while she was in graduate school studying gender identity.

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“Believe it or not, [drag performance] was fantastic preparation for my day job,” Corn wrote. “[I]t makes me wonder if ‘Drag King, 1999–2013’ should be on my resume, tucked right between ‘Associate Dean’ and ‘Provost.’”

Corn’s first drag performance was held at the Ohio State University student union and other downtown venues. 

“It was audaciously called the International Drag King Extravaganza,” Corn explained. “[I]t was a political act and a feminist rebellion against the ‘girl box’ society worked so hard to keep me in.”

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Corn elaborates that performing drag taught her stage presence, as well as how to “take up space.” 

“[F]or women who are literally taught from the time they are children to be still and quiet, praised for being small and thin, appreciated for being polite and demure, suddenly being cheered on and whistled at for being unapologetically bold and brash is thrilling. It’s freeing,” according to Corn.

Campus Reform reached out to Melanie Corn and Columbus College of Art and Design. This article will be updated accordingly.

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