One of the most notorious and beloved contestants in the history of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Sharon Needles was the winner of season four of the popular Logo Network reality competition, and was crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar.
The title has held true, as since her triumph, she’s toured extensively, performed in theater productions, has modeled and done fashion design, and released two full-length albums. Her newest album, Taxidermy, contains the track “Hollywoodn’t,” for which a brand-new video has just come out.
In the video, Needles, who claims to have obsessions with both Hollywood and death, explores the identities of three doomed Hollywood glamour icons, Jayne Mansfield, Elizabeth Short, and Sharon Tate. Also making appearances in the video are New York City jewelry designer Wren Britton of Purevile and Brooklyn-based diva of dark and dangerous drag, Severely Mame.
While actress and model Jayne Mansfield (and two pet chihuahuas) perished in a gruesome car accident, CrimeFeed readers will be familiar with the infamous murders of both aspiring starlet Elizabeth Short (also known as “the Black Dahlia”) and up-and-coming actress (and wife of director Roman Polanski) Sharon Tate. “I really wanted this to tell serious and poetic and disturbing and sad stories of women who met their demise in Hollywood,” Needles says.
Watch the video below:
Related: Crime of Fashion: Lindsay Lohan’s Instagram Homage To Sharon Tate (On Charles Manson’s Birthday)
In a companion Behind the Scenes video, Needles refers to her one-year reign, and acknowledges that the “soothing, Xanax, Band-Aid-like feeling of fame is fleeting,” and discusses her desire to portray the dark side of Hollywood. No stranger to controversy, Needles attests that the sound she was going for is like “a murdered 16-year-old teenage virgin at the bottom of a pond that will never be found.” She says that in this video, she wanted to take that darkness and “convey Old Hollywood stories that turned up in tragedy.”
The moody video contains scenes in which Needles portrays a very pregnant Sharon Tate being shown Rorschach ink blots that say “Death to Pigs” by her psychiatrist, and then getting knifed in the stomach. Needles also plays Elizabeth Short, and includes scenes with her body cut in half and the bloody smile carved into her face. Despite these made-to-be-shocking sequences, the video as a whole doesn’t come across as exploitive of the victims, but rather lays criticism at the feet of the Hollywood glamour machine that continues to attract young, up-and-coming starlets like moths to a flame.
According to Needles, “the Black Dahlia is one of Hollywood’s best campfire scary stories,” but even the controversy-courting drag star admits that the experience of shooting the emotional and tragic scenes in the video actually made her feel very bad for Elizabeth Short.
Check out more of Sharon Needles in the official Behind the Scenes video for “Hollywoodn’t”: