Photos: Hazel Sanchez-Belle finds happiness through drag community

Grace Smith, Photojournalist

As Hazel Sanchez-Belle prepared for their monthly drag brunch at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City, they reflected on their journey, the drag scene, and the monthly brunch. 

The Big Grove Drag Brunch started in April 2021 after Sanchez-Belle emailed the restaurant a business pitch. 

 “We’re our own bosses,” Hazel said. “You can’t sit around and expect the bookings to come your way if you’re not opening up.”

 Before becoming an entrepreneur and entering the drag scene, Hazel danced competitively for about 15 years and mastered their makeup.

 “I always think makeup can be any art form you want to create,” Sanchez-Belle said. “Your face is a naked canvas and you’re painting your art on it.” 

 Sanchez-Belle created Hazel to escape from their everyday life, which has made them incredibly happy. 

 “I’m not going to carry this baggage from my nine to five into nightlife when it’s not that person affected,” Hazel said.

 Hazel said the Big Grove Drag Brunch is a great opportunity to expose children to drag queens, which they said is very important. Through continued exposure and weekends full of performing, Hazel continuously achieves their goal of positively impacting others through drag.

“My biggest thing for drag is always changing somebody’s perspective and always making their day,” Sanchez-Belle said. “That’s my goal.”

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