In the first episode of season 14 of the TV show "RuPaul's Drag Race," Springfield drag queen Daya Betty impressed fellow contestants with a dress made entirely of recycled materials.
The reality TV series, whose latest season premiered Jan. 7, stars 14 drag queens competing for the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar." While the competitions vary each season, recurring prompts include stand-up comedy, impersonations and of course, lip-syncs.
Betty, originally from a farming town outside of Kansas City, moved to Springfield to attend Missouri State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2019.
It was in Springfield where Betty not only discovered drag, but came out as gay to family and friends. She said Springfield's drag community welcomed her with open arms, building her self-confidence as a performer and person.
"Having a community and places I could go out and be gay, comfortable and not feel like I had to hide myself, that's everything, especially coming from a small town," Betty said.
Now, Betty prioritizes expressing her true self. Betty described herself as a "human mood ring" because she doesn't like putting her drag in a categorical box. However, she is frequently influenced by punk and club kid culture.
Her entrance appearance look, debuted in episode two, was inspired by the European rock band The Stingers in "Jem and the Holograms."
The dress was made by Zero Waste Daniel, a New York-based clothing designer who uses pre-consumer waste from the garment industry for his genderless clothing and accessories.
"The entire yellow dress is made from upholstery fabric," Betty said. "Every piece of fabric used in the dress was going to be thrown away into the dumpster, which is perfect because that's a part of my brand: sustainable fashion."
The scraps? Daniel used them to reupholster a couch he found on the side of the street.
Tune in each Friday at 7 p.m. to see more of Betty's sustainable, punk-inspired looks. Season 14 episodes are accessible on VH1.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: 'RuPaul's Drag Race' contestant highlights sustainability with dress