Drag Race star Kornbread opens up about how Hairspray helped her gender identity journey

In a series of tweets, the beloved performer shared how Hairspray the musical helped her discover her gender identity.

Promo photo of Kornbread
Image: Twitter: @WorldOfWonder

Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, the beloved Miss Congeniality winner from season 14 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, took to Twitter earlier this week to share a heartwarming story about how Hairspray the musical helped her discover and understand her gender identity. 

Before the stage show opened on Broadway in 2002, the original musical debuted as a 1988 film directed by LGBTQ+ icon John Waters of Pink Flamingos-fame. When the Hairspray was eventually adapted for the stage, it was a huge success, taking home eight Tony Awards in 2003.

Kornbread took to Twitter to discuss the impact the show had on her gender identity journey after seeing fellow Drag Race alum Nina West perform as Edna Turblad in the touring production of Hairspray. The show is currently on at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, where Jeté lives. 

The drag performer wrote in a tweet: “People ask me, ‘When did you realize your gender identity?’ And I could never give a solid answer until now. I got to see Nina [West] in Hairspray tonight as Edna (flawless) and it unlocked a joyous moment in my life I was forced to suppress as a kid!”

She continued: “9th grade was the first time Tevin put on a dress in front of a crowd to perform. We danced to ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat,’ and I had the section Edna sang. That day was the day where I felt I was more than just a queer kid. And that was the first day I ever felt 100% COMFORTABLE.”


“I spent my life hating myself for not having the courage to love who I was. I trained myself to push that away. Fast forward to now…” the Drag Race star noted. “Hairspray was my origin story in discovering a part of me that didn’t deserve to be hidden!

“I’ve been in a very dark place lately, but tonight I learned to love myself more. Love what I do completely,” Jeté wrote. “Suppressed memories aren’t all bad, but suppressing your happy place can hurt. I wore a red 60s dress. And tonight, Nina as Edna, did. That coincidence woke me. Thank you.”


Jeté continued: “After the performance, I kept it on as long as I could knowing that I’d be going home without it and without being able to express this new found joy I discovered even if it felt right. That was the last day I felt free. I forgot about this memory until last night.”

“[Nina West’s] art resonated to a part of me that I neglected to love. Edna taught me who I was in 9th grade. RuPaul’s Drag Race taught me to love the trans woman I am,” she explained. “Seeing a fellow Drag Race sister perform and unlock such a memory for me really completed the puzzle of ‘WHO AM I.’”


Kornbread rounded out her series of tweets by encouraging her followers to go out and see West in Hairspray while the touring production is stationed in Los Angeles, writing: “[Hairspray] is in LA for 3 weeks. And I’m going as many times as I possibly can! Everyone should go! For me it unlocked such grand memory. Our stories may not be the same but the message they displayed tonight IS CURRENT AND REAL AND WELL DONE.”

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