Salina EsTitties celebrates Latine Heritage and LGBTQ+ History Month at Syracuse

Salina EsTitties celebrates Latine Heritage at SU

The ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ star closes out Latine Heritage Month with a bang, complete with a captivating lip sync performance and an educational reading lesson.

Lip synching is one hard part of being on Drag Race, EsTitties said, as they don't know the songs beforehand.
Lars Jendruschewitz
Drag performer Salina EsTitties performs a lip-syncing performance in the Schine Underground on Thursday night.

Salina EsTitties, a self-proclaimed Cholita, plus-sized, ghetto performer, blew up the stage at the Schine Underground, yet she still managed to get candid with the audience about her journey with Latine pride, sobriety and queer joy.

On Thursday night, drag queen EsTitties made for an explosive Latine Heritage Month and LGBTQ+ History Month Potash Keynote speaker. The keynote event, which is held annually, honors the contributions of Jordan Potash, a Syracuse alumnus who wrote the initial proposal to create the LGBTQ+ resource center on campus. The event on October 19 marked the end of the Latine Heritage Month’s celebrations at SU. 

Salina EsTitties, a queer latinx libra, is a vibrant member of the Los Angeles drag community known for competing in the 15th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” EsTitties has also made a name for herself through her original drag shows, music and work in TV and film. 

EsTitties began the keynote event with a dance number to a mashup of songs, including “Taki Taki” by DJ Snake featuring Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B, “Hot in Herre” by Nelly, “Push It” by Salt-n-Pepa and more. EsTitties owned the stage, dancing in her red and black sequin one-piece and red knee-high boots, wowing the audience with her jump splits.

Before continuing to her next performance, EsTitties brought attention to the fact that the keynote event happened to fall on International Spirit Day, which is “a day for awareness and the celebration of queer joy, happiness and anti-bullying towards queer youth,” said EsTitties. She urged the audience to protect queer youth. 

The event continued with EsTitties giving the audience a lesson in reading.

“I may not know how to read books, but I do know how to… read,” said EsTitties. Class was in session as she began performing a mashup with songs and references to pop culture moments, from Whitney Houston to “Mean Girls,” teaching the audience how to read others to filth. 

EsTitties concluded her performances of the night by reliving the trauma of her Lip Sync for Your Life battles from her time on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The performance included songs like “Single Ladies” by Beyonce, “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush and “Boss Bitch” by Doja Cat. 

A diverse audience listened to Salina EsTitties' stories about her life and career.
A diverse audience listens as Salina EsTitties tells stories about her life and career in the Schine Underground on Thursday.

When talking about her time on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” EsTitties shared how she grew up ashamed of her Latinidad. 

“I had to sit with myself and I had to look at myself and I had to dig and look at all the internalized racism I had,” EsTitties said. “There’s a lot to unpack here.” 

EsTitties said she reflected on her feelings of shame after realizing that she had been preaching pride within the LGBTQ+ community but wasn’t prideful in her Latina identity. EsTitties now provides representation for Queer and Latine people on television, with shows like “Vida.”   

After the end of the performances, EsTitties opened up to the audience during a Q&A.

When EsTitties was asked what advice she had for queer youth, she told the audience to embrace every part of themselves, just as she had. 

Claire, a Syracuse student from Ohio, asked EsTitties how she got into drag. EsTitties said that after college when she was around 22 years old, she got into hard drugs and drinking. She was homeless for a month. 

After attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, EsTitties met an older gay man who asked her to participate in a drag show to raise money for charity. This is where EsTitties’ first drag persona came to life: Maria Lopez, a chola pregnant woman. 

Through this avenue of self-expression, EsTitties was able to stay sober, celebrating her 12 years of sobriety in November. 

“Anyone who is struggling with drinking or drugs or knows someone who is, there is hope. There is a solution out there,” said EsTitties. 

The event came to an end after a night of fierce dances, lip-syncing and a candid conversation with the audience, signaling an exciting and prideful end to Latine Heritage Month celebrations. LGBTQ+ History Month will continue to be celebrated throughout the month of October on campus through events hosted by the LGBTQ Resource Center, including a HalloQueen ball this weekend.