Honey, let me tell you something. There ain’t nothin’ like a West Virginian with some Hawaiian spirit, and that’s just what Sasha Colby brought to the stage in 2009 in this state and now to the world.
Sasha Kekauoha, more known to us all as Sasha Colby, our star, and now the nation’s drag superstar and winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, was born in Hawaii, but her road to success was polished in the mountains of West Virginia.
In 2009, she took West Virginia by storm, winning Miss Continental West Virginia, her first big leap into the spotlight of the greater pageant circuit.
And, as a proud LGBTQ+ West Virginian myself, with a Polynesian heart beating in my chest, I’m overflowing with joy as I spill this fabulous news to you.
Sasha Colby has just claimed her crown on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” season 15!
Sasha, who now resides in Los Angeles, was born in Waimānalo, Hawaii, as the youngest of seven children, raised in the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Embracing her true self, she came out as a trans woman and hasn’t looked back since.
Sasha is no stranger to adversity, and she’s never been shy about sharing her story. She wore her scars like sequins, showcasing her experiences with childhood trauma and her rich ethnic heritage to shine brighter than any star in the night sky.
She has become a beacon of hope and courage amidst the attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, specifically those targeting trans folks and drag queens. She has shown the world what it means to stand proud.
She’s paid homage to her Hawaiian heritage throughout her career, talking about how she’s building a legacy for her home state and her journey as Māhū. (Māhū means “in the middle,” which symbolizes those radiant individuals who embody both male and female spirits in Native Hawaiian culture.)
With her victory, she’s become a symbol of hope for us all, from West Virginia to the world.
With Sasha’s win, we’re on the map of Hawaii and West Virginia.
So, here’s to Sasha Colby, a leading light, a proud Māhū, and a beacon of hope and pride for us all.
Keeping In the Hawaiian Spirit, Aloha!
Author Lekili Dean is Polynesian by nature and West Virginian by nurture.