GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — When the pandemic hit, small businesses were worried for their future, and the entertainment industry took a hard hit.
For one Grand Rapids drag company, they are both a small business and in entertainment, so the past 18 months has been difficult.
"When the shutdown happened, it really was a sad day for a lot of people," said Bradley Haas, owner and co-director of Beauty Beyond Drag Productions.
Sue Haas is also a co-director.
"It was devastating," she said. "We were not able to do what we do and what we love to do."
Beauty Beyond Drag is an inclusive entertainment company that uses their platform to raise awareness about local organizations. And after more than a year and a half, they're finally returning to in-person events.
"We are extremely excited to be back in the Grand Rapids area," said Sue. "Grand Rapids is our home."
During the pandemic, the company's performers created virtual shows and events, but they say it's just not the same.
"Especially for us entertainers, being locked in a small space and not being able to express ourselves openly and freely is kind of difficult," said Scarlett Rose, one of BBD's drag entertainers.
The group said many of them were forced to go on unemployment or find other jobs over the last year. Scarlett Rose said she wants people to understand that what they do is a job and a career just like anything else.
"Everybody's different," she said. "Everybody's doing what they can and it might not even be that you agree, it might be that you're confused, you don't understand why we do what we do."
"It's just a fire and a passion that we love and enjoy. Just to see the smile on other people's faces is amazing," she added.
Beauty Beyond Drag is hosting their first in-person event at the end of this week, and this family-owned entertainment company said it's a wonderful feeling unlike any other.
"Getting out there, seeing people, safely of course, and then doing what we love to do," said Sue. "I'm very excited to get back out and entertain people."
"It's overall just wonderful to be able to get back out into the community even if it's with small groups, at least we're doing it," said Scarlett Rose.
"It's going to be so relieving to be able to get back behind the DJ booth and just watch my girls and guys do what they do best, which is entertain," said Bradley.
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