The Info List - Sasha Velour

Alexander "Sasha" Hedges Steinberg (born June 25, 1987), also known by the drag name Sasha Velour, is an American drag queen, artist and creative director based in Brooklyn, New York.[2] Velour is best known for winning the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, and for producing the monthly drag show Nightgowns, which takes place at the National Sawdust in Brooklyn.


Steinberg was born in Berkeley, California, the only child of Mark Steinberg and Jane Hedges. She is of Russian Jewish descent on her father's side. She was raised in Connecticut until the age of 9 when the family moved to Urbana, Illinois, where her father is a Russian historian at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her mother served as the Managing Editor of the Slavic Review.[3] The family later relocated to New Haven, Connecticut, when her father began teaching Russian history at Yale University.[citation needed]

Steinberg graduated from University Laboratory High School in Champaign-Urbana in 2004.[4] After high school, she spent time as a part-time security guard at the Russian State Hermitage Museum[5] in St. Petersburg, Russia, and interned at the Staatsoper (State Opera)[6] in Berlin, Germany.

Steinberg obtained a BA in Modern Literature from Vassar College in 2009. In 2010, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Moscow and completed a project that aimed to understand the role of different art forms in contemporary Russian society.[7] She received an MFA in Cartooning in 2013 from the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont.[8]

Her mother, Jane Hedges, died of cancer in 2015. Steinberg shaves her head and often performs in drag bald as a tribute to her mother, who lost her hair during treatment for the disease.[9]

Steinberg currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, with partner John Jacob Lee (known as Johnny Velour) and their dog, Vanya.[10]

Steinberg is genderqueer and goes by any pronouns when out of drag.[2][11]


Steinberg's drag career as Sasha Velour started in Vermont while at school.[12] Known for being an out of the box artist, Steinberg incorporates that eccentricity into Velour's drag persona. Steinberg starred in the music video C.L.A.T. along with fellow New York City drag queens Peppermint, Aja and Alexis Michelle, who also appeared on the ninth season of RuPaul's Drag Race.[13] Velour's makeup and look transformations have been featured in publications such as Vogue,[14] Cosmopolitan,[15] Vanity Fair,[16] and Billboard.[17] Steinberg has further created, produced, and organized different photoshoots, collages, and drawings that discuss art and drag.[18]

Comics and design

Steinberg's comics and illustrations have appeared in The Nib, InkBRICK,[19] Comics Workbook Magazine,[20] QU33R,[21] Cicada Magazine[22] and others, under the names Sasha Velour and Sasha Steinberg. Steinberg also created a series of comics entitled "Stonewall", which told the story of the Stonewall riots from multiple viewpoints. The series was called "a smart, beautiful and artful take on a significant and difficult historical event" by Highlow Comics.[23]

A solo gallery show of Steinberg's illustration work, "Nightrooms", was held at the Black Box Gallery in Brooklyn in March 2016 and Steinberg's cut paper work was part of the group show "Coney Island Babies, Visual Artists from the Brooklyn Drag Scene" at the Bureau of General Services Queer Division that opened in Manhattan, October 2016. In March 2017, Steinberg designed a long sleeve T-shirt for "Contemporary Drag", a limited-edition fashion line for the New Art Dealers Alliance's (NADA) in collaboration with Print All Over Me.[24]

Velour, The Drag Magazine

Steinberg founded Velour, The Drag Magazine (originally named Vym), a bi-yearly publication about drag, alongside partner Johnny in the summer of 2014.[9] Steinberg serves as the magazine's artistic director. The first issue ("What is Drag?") was released June 2015 and the second issue ("Realness") was released in October 2016.[25] The magazine includes interviews as well as varied art forms such as photography, poetry, and illustration that address the power, beauty, and purpose of drag.[26]


Since August 2015, Velour has produced 'Nightgowns', a monthly drag show in Brooklyn. The events have been regularly hosted at Bizarre Bushwick and National Sawdust. The shows have been celebrated as "beautiful and funny and politically charged" by The New York Times.[27]

RuPaul's Drag Race

Velour tried out for RuPaul's Drag Race's eighth season, but was not selected for the lineup.[28] In March 2017, she was announced as one of 14 contestants on the 9th season of the show. In June 2017, Sasha Velour was crowned the winner of the show, and is the current reigning winner.[29][30]

Allison Shoemaker of The A.V. Club named Velour's lipsync to Whitney Houston's "So Emotional" in the season finale the best TV performance of 2017.[31]


  1. ^ "Mother: Sasha Velour". Night Out. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "about". Sasha Velour. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Obituary for Jane Hedges at Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory". renner-wikoffchapel.com. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  4. ^ Merli, Melissa (June 8, 2015). "Studio Visit: Sasha Steinberg and John Jacob Lee". News-Gazette. Champaign, IL. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Sasha Velour". Grizzly Kiki. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Inside Sasha Velour's Talmud of Drag". The Forward. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Fulbright Program in Russia "Lost in Translation: The Theory and Practice of Experimental Translation"". fulbright.ru. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Congratulations to RuPaul's Drag Race Winner Sasha Velour '13!". The Center for Cartoon Studies. Retrieved July 17, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Merli, Melissa (June 27, 2017). "Urbana native, Uni alum wins Season 9 of 'RuPaul's Drag Race'". News-Gazette. Champaign, IL. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Sasha Velour Talks Vym, a Magazine Spotlighting the 'Revolutionary' Art of Drag". Bedford + Bowery. Retrieved July 3, 2017. 
  11. ^ Velour, Sasha (February 10, 2017). "Thank so much for asking @glassarmy! For my Velour self—always she/her (out of drag its even less binary lol...any will do) #genderqueer". @sasha_velour. Retrieved 2018-03-19. [non-primary source needed]
  12. ^ "On Point With: Sasha Velour". Thotyssey!. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  13. ^ "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 9 Queens From NYC Team Up for 'C.L.A.T.' Video: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Sasha Velour From RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9 on Her Style Icons and Winning the Title". Vogue. Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  15. ^ "You Have to See Sasha Velour's Stunning Makeup Transformation". Cosmopolitan. June 13, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  16. ^ Desta, Yohana. "RuPaul's Drag Race Winner Sasha Velour on That Shocking Finale and the Britney Spears Stunt You Didn't See". HWD. Retrieved July 3, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Rock the Look: 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Finalist Sasha Velour is a Master at Recreating This Iconic Look". Billboard. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Home". Sasha Velour. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  19. ^ BRICK, INK. "INK BRICK – From "What Now" by Sasha Steinberg in INK BRICK..." INK BRICK. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Comics Workbook Magazine #2 by Frank Santoro, Andrew White, Zach Mason, Warren Craghead III, Lala Albert, Whit Taylor, Jen Rickert, Derek Badman, Evie Cahir". copaceticcomics.com. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Past Exhibitions". begallerynyc.tumblr.com. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Artist Allies: Sasha Velour". cicadamag.com. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Thirty Days of CCS #3: Sasha Steinberg". highlowcomics.blogspot.nl. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  24. ^ "NADA x PAOM: Contemporary Drag collection MADE". MADE. February 23, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  25. ^ Nichols, James Michael (October 22, 2016). "This Beautiful Drag Magazine Is Providing A Comprehensive Guide To 'Realness'". HuffPost. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  26. ^ "About". VELOUR The Drag Magazine. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  27. ^ Piepenburg, Erik (June 23, 2016). "It's Gay Pride Weekend: Dress the Part". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  28. ^ Rudolph, Christopher (June 29, 2017). "Sasha Velour on Being Picked For 'Drag Race': "I Was Shocked I Got On"". NewNowNext. Retrieved June 30, 2017. 
  29. ^ "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Winner Sasha Velour Cut From A Different Fabric". NPR. Retrieved June 25, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Sasha Velour From RuPaul's Drag Race on Her Style Icons and How to Be a Queen". Vogue. Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  31. ^ Shoemaker, Allison (December 26, 2017). "Looking for the performance of the year? Watch 2 minutes of RuPaul's Drag Race". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved December 26, 2017. 

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