A Slay A Day: Meet Bonzai Bucket of the PSU Student Drag Show


Name: Ricky Watts

Drag Name: Bonzai Bucket

Major: Landscape Architecture

Instagram: bonzaibucket

​All photos by Maddie Almer | Her Campus Penn State​


We're two days away from the PSU Fall Student Drag Show and we couldn't be more excited to watch our Penn State queens slay. Check out our interview with Ricky Watts, AKA Bonzai Bucket the "queen of the trees," below. 



Her Campus: How long have you been doing drag?

Ricky Watts: My first performance was last April, and I have been building up to it for over a year. I have been collecting clothes and shoes from thrift stores and practicing makeup starting freshman year. I performed at Chronic Town in September—it’s by Five Guys off College Ave. But I truly consider myself a State College Queen. It all started here.



HC: Did you follow the art form before you started it?

RW: I have always been really interested in the Drag Queen art form—it stemmed from RuPaul's Drag Race. It’s a really fun reality show to watch. It’s competitive and it’s about 12 queens who fight to be the best. It’s like America’s Next Top Model, but for Drag. I started watching sophomore year of high school, and when I got to college and met my friend Colin—we had Earth 100 together— he just pushed me to go and try it for myself because he also had only just started. But yeah, RuPaul's Drag Race was definitely my source of inspiration.



HC: How do you think drag has changed you as a person?

RW: Oh my gosh! I’m just way more confident now. I can’t imagine doing this in a Catholic High school—that’s where I went. I came to college and when I started, I just became so much more confident, definitely.



HC: In this particular time in society, why do you feel drag is especially important?

RW: Just right now, in this political climate, it’s a really good “f**k you” to the gender norms. Drag Queens are such pioneers of change in the LGBTQA+ community. We have always extremely socially liberal. Since we are such a taboo kind of thing, we are so accepting of anyone and everyone. We bring the LGBTQA+ community together, pushing the political agenda for change and tolerance. Whatever you want to do, anything you want to be — we accept it, and that’s important in this society where not everyone is like that.



HC: Why do you feel it’s important for people to attend a drag show?

RW: Oh, it’s just such a good time! You never know what to expect. Everything goes out the window. A lot of straight men are bothered by it, but honestly, everyone should just let go and have fun. Masculinity is so fragile — a lot of guys want nothing to do with anything that makes them seem less like a man, but once you go to one, you just see it as such an artistic outlet and there is no judgment and it is actually such a safe place for people to express themselves.



HC: How do you feel drag fights gender norms?

RW: We fight them because we don’t look like a man or a woman. We look like a caricature of a woman, but we are men. And we just take everything to the extreme. We break expectations to what gender really is, and what is considered normal, and so we fight against those stereotypes.



HC: What do you hope the audience takes away from this show?

RW: I just hope everyone leaves with a good time. We are there to entertain and give people a good time. I also just hope the audience comes in and won’t expect what they’re going to see. Our goal is to be unexpected. We’re not boring, so we don’t want you to be bored. It’s our responsibility as a queen to go out there and be unexpected and fun.



HC: How do you feel drag plays a role in Penn State becoming a more inclusive environment?

RW: Drag is such a taboo thing. It does make a safe place and we want to attract all kinds of people. When I performed at Chronic Town, there was no tolerance for racism, xenophobia, or people calling people names. Drag is all about people coming together. We represent minorities because we are a magnet to the different. We include everyone and we want to entertain everyone and we accept everyone, and that brings people together — anyone is welcome. We accept all, and so we include all.


Don't miss out — come to the PSU Fall Student Drag Show at 10 p.m. on October 12 in Alumni Hall! Admission is free with a valid PSU student ID.