Bold & Beautiful: Sally Cone Slopes
Performance & Theatre
Sally Cone Slopes is a Why Kiki legend with a lifelong love of drag reality shows. Growing up watching drag reality with her mother, she started practicing her own makeup after graduating highschool and began her drag journey during 2020.
After working on her stage presence through 2020’s lack of live performances, this queen won her first award in 2021 when she placed top three in a digital contest for Best Performer. Since then, she’s been working full time at Why Kiki, performing at drag brunches and night shows.
Slope draws inspiration from Black female artists from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. “It took me a while, but I think once I got on stage I found out who I was. It’s more of old school Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle, Tina Turner,” she says. “I like to see myself as the cool aunt of the drag community.”
“You’re making your way down, interacting with the crowd—it’s a special little moment,”
To Slope, being the cool aunt means being there for everybody in her community, as well as showing the audience that they’re a huge part of it. We’ve all been wowed by the use of splits and death-drops to win crowds over, but this isn’t the Sally way. “Everybody has that,” she says. “In the drag community I’m kind of older … So I’m not gonna try to do it. I’ve honed my personality, which is dancing and having a blast.”
Slope focuses her performance on interacting with the audience. This is her specialty— getting people excited to be part of the performance
in a way that goes beyond song and outfit choices. “You’re making your way down, interacting with the crowd—it’s a special little moment,” she says. “It’s making eye contact, or at a certain lyric pointing at them. Do a shimmy, it makes them feel included,” Slopes says.
One of her favorite memories comes from a recent drag brunch where she was dancing to the song “TWERK” by City Girls. She was on stage, twerking by herself, when her eyes met those of a 65-year-old man. During the next chorus, she brought him on stage, and when he asked “What do you want me to do?” Her response was, “Twerk!”
It was perfect, she says. “The whole crowd loved it. He loved it.” At that moment it didn’t matter why he was there or what his background was. This isn’t an isolated event for Slopes, who plans whole performances around creating opportunities for her audience members to become stars.
Slopes loves the Why Kiki and their performers bring in a wide range of people to their shows. From drag brunches to night performances, there’s a time and place where everyone can come and enjoy themselves. “I like Why Kiki because the motto is ‘It’s a place for everybody,’’ Slopes says. “It’s always been a big draw for the LGBTQUIA+ community, but eventually it’s gotten a very young Gen Z vibe.” Big groups of people often drag along friends and partners who may not attend on their own, and they learn that they love the experience Why Kiki’s performers create.
“It’s always been a big draw for the LGBTQUIA+ community, but eventually it’s gotten a very young Gen Z vibe.”
Slopes laughs that Saturday night drag easily turns into Sunday brunch for those who wish to keep the party going. For her this is unsurprising, as she finds drag to be a huge energy exchange, keeping her dancing all nights of the week. Even when it’s been a long day, she finds it in herself to “fake it ‘til she makes it,” and she feeds off the energy of the crowd. It doesn’t take long for her performance to turn genuine, and she revels in the liveliness of the moment.
“It’s the fact that life is just a big canvas you can paint on,” she says, “Literally every word, everything you do can make an impression on somebody. So make sure you leave them with a smile.”
Though Slopes enjoys the fun of it all, it’s important that she leaves the audience with a piece of her perspective to take home with them. “It’s the fact that life is just a big canvas you can paint on,” she says, “Literally every word, everything you do can make an impression on somebody. So make sure you leave them with a smile.” And that’s her goal at the end of every show: to send people off happier than they arrived.
This hope extends to her drag community, who has always been the most important and influential piece in her career. “Having a community is always the biggest part, and I think at Why Kiki we’re a very big family, which I absolutely love,” she says. “I think my biggest push is making growth and having our community be more united overall.” For Slopes, participating in drag is more than moving through the motions of a job. It really is a family, as well as an attitude to carry with you. No cattiness—genuine support.
As the aunt of it all, she hopes that up-and-coming queens recognize how new Utah’s drag scene is and that they can be patient with themselves. Supporting local artists and local venues is always the most important thing.
You can see Sally Cone Slopes—and maybe get the chance to dance with her on stage—at Why Kiki during brunches and Saturday nights. Follow her on Instagram at @sallycone_slopes.