RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 winner Sasha Velour portrayed Marlene Dietrich in Snatch Game so it’s absolutely fitting she create the Google Doodle celebrating the German film star’s 116th birthday. Sasha’s art references Dietrich’s Academy Award nominated performance in Morocco. One of her most iconic roles, the film includes a scene of Dietrich in a man’s top hat, tails and white tie, kissing another woman. The look has been referenced throughout popular culture, from Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking collection (see Bianca Jagger’s wedding dress) all the way to Jessica Lange’s Life on Mars performance in American Horror Story Freak Show.
While RuPaul and Michelle Visage weren’t sure if modern audiences would feel enough of a connection to Marlene Dietrich to justify her inclusion in Snatch Game, Sasha Velour (real name: Sasha Steinberg) knew better. Her nuanced, passionate performance brought the famed actress to life for a whole new generation of fans. Sasha lists Dietrich as a major influence in her drag alter ego. “She was a wild original!” Sasha explains. “Despite the pressures of the time, she followed her own course, especially in terms of politics and gender. As a drag queen, that’s particularly inspiring to me. Plus, she just had this power to her…in every role she’s mysterious and strong, brilliant. That’s what I aspire to be when I step on the stage.”
Happy 116th birthday, Marlene. And condragulations, Sasha Velour!