Alum’s sculpting success seen on drag queen runway
Sharon ShareAlike graduated from Illinois State in 1994 with a bachelor’s in sculpting and a master’s in fine arts in 1998. What does she do now?
It’s sort of a loaded question. She is the owner of a successful business, an artist, a director, and a YouTuber. ShareAlike’s background and interest in sculpture and ceramics dates all the way back to her childhood.
“I always loved making things—puppets, masks, stuffed animals, and kites,” she stated. “This carried over into my adult life and as a college student. I was, and still am, always building or making something.”
ShareAlike is the founder of BoobsForQueens, a company that makes an original silicone breastplate to create a female illusion. She had the idea to create this breastplate in 1997 when she attended drag shows in Bloomington at The Bistro, where she now directs the shows.
“I loved all of the creativity, glitz, and glamour,” said ShareAlike. “I had studied mold making at Illinois State, so I put my knowledge to work and made my first silicone breastplate.”
She was impressed with all the performers and the different looks on stage. After meeting one of her favorite drag queens, Lauren Alexander, ShareAlike decided she wanted to create her own illusion to share with everyone. ShareAlike created the breastplate for herself and the audience loved it, but this was only the beginning.
Over the next few years, she improved the breastplate and attempted to sell it online. ShareAlike admits that the first few years were slow, but when RuPaul’s Drag Race, a popular reality competition show featuring a cast of talented drag queens, had one of their queens wearing BoobsForQueens on national television, the business took off.
“In 2011, RuPaul’s contacted me about supplying breastplates for the show in return for a mention of my website,” she said. “I jumped at the chance. When the show aired, the orders started coming in like crazy. I could barely keep up.”
One of those orders came from successful television host, comedian, actress, and dance enthusiast Ellen DeGeneres. She showed off ShareAlike’s breastplates when she dressed like Nicki Minaj for Halloween one year. ShareAlike says it is was one of her favorite projects, and she is thrilled she has had the opportunity to work with DeGeneres on more than one occasion.
BoobsForQueens was ShareAlike’s first business and she is already expanding, creating spandex nude illusion bodysuits for drag performers called DragSkins.
ShareAlike credits much of her success to her time spent at Illinois State. Her time at the University helped her discover the path that she is still on today. Although her time was consumed with making sculptures and growing as an artist, ShareAlike was able to grow as a person and learn lifelong lessons that existed outside of the classroom.
“I did see many openly gay people in the art department, which was very refreshing and inspiring to me,” said ShareAlike. “I worked up the courage to come out. I did it because I wanted to relax and be myself, but also because it wasn’t fair to the people around me to continue trying to put on a fake or confused façade all the time.”
ShareAlike’s Redbird pride has not wavered since she graduated. Between giving back to the ISU Pride organization and performing at the Pride Charity Drag Show, it is clear that she is proud to be an Illinois State alum.
ShareAlike has been a part of the Pride Charity Drag Show since its debut 20 years ago. She has worn a variety of hats for the show including performer, emcee, and everything in between. As a seasoned veteran and a fan-favorite, she is always welcomed back to the event with big smiles and open arms.
This past year, ShareAlike emceed the annual drag show alongside Naomi Smalls, one of the drag queens from season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
“The ISU Pride Charity Drag Show is my favorite show each year,” ShareAlike said. “It is humbling to have the opportunity to take something I love doing, performing, and using it to help inspire, encourage, and enrich others.”
ShareAlike takes pride knowing that she is helping someone feel more confident and beautiful. This can be seen as she continues to add makeup tutorials to her YouTube channel and is making additions to her bodysuits.
As someone who enjoyed every second of her Illinois State experience, she wants to tell students to embrace what makes them unique and to shoot for the stars.
“Be true to who you are. Study hard, don’t be afraid to fail, and never put any limits on yourself,” she said.