Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson, known by the stage name Alyssa Edwards, is an American drag performer, choreographer, and businessperson. Edwards was known for competing in drag pageantry (notably Miss Gay America 2010) before rising to international attention as a contestant on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, becoming a fan favorite during and after her time on the show. Edwards subsequently appeared on the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars and starred in her own web series, Alyssa's Secret. In June 2019, a panel of judges from New York magazine ranked her fifth on their list of the top 100 stars to come off RuPaul's Drag Race.
Alyssa Edwards performing in Santiago de Chile, August 2012
Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson
Mesquite, Texas, U.S.
Johnson lives in Mesquite, Texas, where he owns and operates a dance studio, Beyond Belief Dance Company. Johnson and his dance studio are the centerpieces of a docuseries, Dancing Queen, produced by RuPaul and World of Wonder that premiered on October 5, 2018 on Netflix.
Johnson performs under the stage name Alyssa Edwards. He chose his name in homage to Alyssa Milano and to his drag mother Laken Edwards, a former drag queen. Johnson is part of the drag family "the Haus of Edwards," and serves as drag mother to fellow RuPaul's Drag Race contestants Shangela Laquifa Wadley, Laganja Estranja, Gia Gunn, Vivienne Pinay, and Plastique Tiara. Johnson was one of the judges of the 2010 California Entertainer of the Year pageant, where Shangela won.
Johnson appeared in the 2008 documentary Pageant. The film focused on the 34th Miss Gay America pageant of 2006. On December 9, 2010, Johnson was stripped of his 2010 Miss Gay America title for having business dealings in conflict with obligations to the Miss Gay America organization. First alternate Coco Montrese replaced Johnson as the winner of Miss Gay America. That same year, Johnson was also stripped of his title as All American Goddess.
In November 2012, Logo announced that Johnson was among 14 drag queens who would be competing on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Also performing on the show was pageant friend and rival Coco Montrese.
Performing as Alyssa Edwards throughout the season, Johnson won the ballet-themed main challenge in the "Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black?" episode. As part of the show, Johnson sang on the "We Are the World"-inspired song "Can I Get an Amen?" The song's proceeds helped benefit the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Johnson was eliminated in episode nine, following a lip sync against Coco Montrese, and finished in sixth place. Johnson has also been a special guest on the podcast series run by RuPaul and Michelle Visage called RuPaul: What's The Tee?
Johnson is also known for his web series titled "Alyssa's Secret". The series stars Johnson performing as Alyssa Edwards speaking on a multitude of subjects and often features guests including other members of the Haus of Edwards. The webseries is produced and premieres through World of Wonder Productions.[circular reference]
In 2016, Johnson returned as one of 10 contestants in Season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars, ending in fifth place. Johnson won the main challenge of the third episode titled "Herstory of the World", playing Annie Oakley in a performance featuring other famous women throughout history. He was then eliminated in episode four "Drag Movie Shequels", after playing Bland in "Wha' Ha' Happened to Baby JJ", a parody of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?", with Alaska as Baby JJ.
He returned in episode five "Revenge of the Queens" by winning a chance to reenter the competition, winning a comedy challenge with Alaska followed by a lip sync of Rihanna's 'Shut Up and Drive', in which both Edwards and Tatianna won. Johnson was then controversially eliminated a second time by Detox in episode seven "A Family that Drags Together", coming in fifth place overall.
Edwards competed in and won numerous pageant titles. They include:
- Miss Gay Texas America 2004, first alternate
- Miss Gay Texas America 2005, winner
- Miss Gay America 2005, second alternate
- Miss Northwest Regional Representative 2005, winner
- Miss Gay America 2006, third alternate
- Miss Texas FFI 2006, winner
- Miss Gay USofA 2006, winner
- Miss Texas Continental 2007, winner
- Miss Shining Star Continental 2009, winner
- Miss Gay Mid East America 2008, first alternate
- Miss Gay America 2009, third alternate
- Miss Gay Heartland America 2009, first alternate
- Miss Gay Heartland America 2010, first alternate
- Miss Gay America 2010, winner
- Southern Elegance All American Goddess 2010, winner
- All American Goddess 2010, winner
- National Entertainer of the Year, FI 2014, first alternate
|2016||Hurricane Bianca||Ambrosia Salad||Comedy|
|2018||Hurricane Bianca 2||Ambrosia Salad||Comedy|
|2010||My Life as Liz||Self||Episode: "Liz's Got Talent? (Part 1)"|
|2013||RuPaul's Drag Race||Season 5 - 6th place|
|RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked||Companion show to RuPaul's Drag Race|
|2015-16||Skin Wars||2 episodes|
|RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars||Season 2 - 4th place|
|2016-17||Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul||2 episodes|
|2016||Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen||Guest|
|2018||RuPaul's Drag Race||Season 10, Episode 2|
|Dancing Queen||Docuseries, 8 episodes|
|2019||RuPaul's Drag Race||Season 11, Episode 7|
|The Bachelorette||Season 15, Episode 2|
|2020||RuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race||Mentor, 2 episodes|
|RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars (season 5)||Guest (“Lipsync Assassin”)|
|RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars: Untucked (season 2)|
|2020||"Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs"||Todrick Hall|||
|2020||"I Can't"||Rigel Gemini|||
|2013–2020||Alyssa's Secret||Self||Produced by World of Wonder|
|2017||Once Upon A Crime||Princess Belle||Produced by Todrick Hall|
|2019||Werq the World||Self||Produced by World of Wonder|
|2020||Headlines with Alyssa Edwards|
|2020||Served! with Jade Thirlwall||Produced by MTV|
|2020||God Shave the Queens||Produced by World of Wonder|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|Year||Award Giving Body||Category||Work||Results||Ref.|
|2018||WOWIE Awards||The Wishful Same Award||Herself||Won|||
- "TAZO® Announces Launch of Camp TAZO Under New "Brew the Unexpected" Campaign". PR Newswire. Cision Ltd. October 24, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
- The Editors (June 10, 2019). "The Most Powerful Drag Queens in America: Ranking the new establishment". New York. Archived from the original on June 10, 2019. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
- Desk, TV News. "Drag Superstar Alyssa Edwards to Star in Docu-Series DANCING QUEEN on Netflix".
- Duren, Rand (21 November 2012). "Meet Alyssa Edwards, the fabulous drag queen from Mesquite who will appear on 'RuPaul's Drag Race'". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 2013-03-26. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- Addams, Calpernia. "California EOY 2010 – The Recap". Calpernia.com. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Pageant (2008) - IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- Higbee, Johnathan (3 November 2009). "A Pair of Queens". Instinct. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- "Suspended Contestant and Affiliate Registry". Miss Gay America. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- Blanchard, Steve (3 March 2010). "Coco Montrese is crowned Miss Gay America 2010". Watermark. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- Nelson, Maxine (30 January 2013). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 5 Premiere: A Fomenting Feud". Yahoo! Voices. Archived from the original on 2013-06-12. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- Coughlan, Maggie (19 November 2012). "RuPaul's Drag Race Season 5 Contestants Announced". People. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- Framke, Caroline (19 February 2013). "Black Swan: Why It Gotta Be Black?". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- Parker, Lyndsey (5 March 2013). "Great Musical Moments In Reality TV: RuPaul's "Can I Get An Amen"". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- "Episodes". RuPaul: What's The Tee?.
- "Alyssa's Secret". worldofwonder.net.
- World of Wonder (production company)
- "Logo Announces Contestants For "RuPaul's All Star Drag Race" Season 2".
- Stiefvater, Sarah (29 May 2013). "Drag Queens Are Taking Over the Makeup Industry (and Honestly, It's About Damn Time)". PureWow. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
- "Alyssa Edwards". Our Community Roots. 15 June 2018.
- "Miss Gay America". Our Community Roots. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
- "Miss Gay America 2006". Miss Gay America. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
- Jones, Arnold (2 November 2009). "Dallas' Alyssa Edwards wins Miss Gay America". Dallas Voice. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- Dunne, Peter (August 7, 2020). "The Queens documentary focuses on the trans contestants of major drag pageant". GCN. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
- Zeff, Nigel (March 1, 2016). "Ru Girls Jessica Wild, Alyssa Edwards, and Shangela Served Up Jennifer Lopez Realness on Watch What Happens Live!". WorldOfWonder. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
- Rudolph, Christopher (May 23, 2019). "Watch Alyssa Edwards and Alaska Judge a Speedo Pageant on "The Bachelorette"". NewNowNext. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
- Frye, Javay (2019-05-21). "Alyssa Edwards' New Music Video Is Sickening! You Need To Watch It Now". WorldofWonder.net. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
- Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrubs (Official Video). Todrick Hall. April 29, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
- Megarry, Daniel. "Premiere: Rigel Gemini drops I Can't music video featuring Alyssa Edwards and Gia Gunn". GayTimes. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
- Horbelt, Stephan (24 May 2013). "Always & Forever, Alyssa Edwards". Frontiers. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Henry Scott (August 16, 2017). ""Once Upon A Crime With Alyssa Edwards & Valentina" | Todrick Hall". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
- Joey Nolfi (May 16, 2019). "Drag Race's Shangela, Alyssa Edwards, more Werq the World in new series trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
- Niemetz, Spencer (November 13, 2019). "Alyssa Edwards is Back Back Back Again in WOW Presents Plus Three-Part Limited Series, "Alyssa Raw"". World of Wonder. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
- Dan Seddon (May 29, 2020). "Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall makes awkward blunder in new show with Drag Race icon Alyssa Edwards". DigitalSpy.com. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
- "Hold on To Your Wigs! It's the 2018 WOWIE Award Winners!". Worldofwonder.net. December 6, 2018.
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