Sharon Needles

Sharon Needles

Sharon Needles in 2012
Born Aaron Coady
(1981-11-28) November 28, 1981
Newton, Iowa, United States
Residence Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S
Occupation Drag performer, Musician
Years active 2004–present
Known for RuPaul's Drag Race (season 4) winner
Predecessor Raja
Successor Jinkx Monsoon

Sharon Needles (born November 28, 1981) is the stage name of Aaron Coady, an American drag performer and recording artist. A self-described "stupid genius, reviled sweetheart, and PBR princess," Needles rose to prominence on the fourth season of the Logo reality competition series RuPaul's Drag Race, where she quickly became a fan favorite and was subsequently crowned "America's Next Drag Superstar" in April 2012.

Early life

Aaron Coady was born on November 28, 1981 in Newton, Iowa.[1][2][3] He has been candid in discussing his childhood years growing up in Iowa as a difficult time when he faced anti-gay and anti-"outsider" harassment, which prompted him to drop out of school before he could complete his high school education.[1][2][4][5] In 2004, Coady moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he began working as a professional drag performer with the stage name Sharon Needles (a pun on the phrase "sharin' needles" ) in nightclubs and various other venues with the drag troupe "the Haus of Haunt",[6] which Needles describes as "one punk rock, messy mash up of very talented, fucked up weirdos."[3][4]


Sharon in May 2012

In November 2011, it was announced that Needles had been selected to compete as a contestant on the fourth season of RuPaul's Drag Race.[7] The season premiered on January 30, 2012, and with Needles winning the first challenge she became an instant stand-out for her "ghoulish" fashion sense and unconventional make-up choices.[3][4][8][9][10] On the night of the premiere episode, Entertainment Weekly columnist Tanner Stransky hailed Needles' macabre style as "drop dead genius" and rhetorically asked "Is Sharon Needles the most 'sickening' (a drag term for 'fabulous') contestant ever?"[9]

Throughout the fourth season of Drag Race, Needles endeared Herself to audiences and became a favorite of the media, judges, and viewers alike for her quick wit, confidence, humility and uniqueness, as well as for her "transgressive" aesthetic.[3][4][8][10][11] On March 27, 2012, Lady Gaga tweeted – "Sharon Needles looks FABULOUS 2night on drag race. Very Born This Way outfit/fame monster wig. Any rentals for my tour? #needthatbodysuit."[12][13] However, Needles Herself admitted that she was ambivalent in believing that she could win, stating, "(B)eing a comedic, campy, shtick queen and seeing how far those types of queens made it in past seasons, I would have been shocked if I made it past the first day."[4]

In a departure from previous seasons of Drag Race, where rumors of previous winners had leaked before the final episodes could air, the decision was made not to pre-tape the finale episode announcing the season's winner.[2][14] Instead, RuPaul decided to give fans an opportunity to voice their opinions as to who should win before taping of the final episode on April 25, 2012.[2][14] For the taping, three outcomes were filmed announcing each of the "final 3" as the winner, with the true outcome only known to RuPaul and a select few involved in the editing.[2][14] The finale episode aired on April 30, 2012, when it was announced that Needles had been crowned "America's Next Drag Superstar".[2][15]

In June 2012, Needles won the Facebook vote to appear as a contestant on RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race, but declined, as the reigning champion, to participate in the competition.[16] She also confirmed that her replacement in the competition would be fellow RuPaul's Drag U professor and the runner-up in the Facebook voting, Pandora Boxx.[16]

Needles became a horror host in October 2012 when she began presenting horror and suspense films airing on the Logo network under the series title Fearce![17]

In October 2012, Needles became the face of an advertising campaign by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals promoting vegetarianism,[18] appearing on billboards throughout the United States.

On January 29, 2013, Needles released her debut studio album PG-13 featuring tracks like "Dressed To Kill", "Call Me On The Ouija Board", and "This Club is a Haunted House (featuring RuPaul)". PG-13 debuted at number 186 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 3,000 copies in its first week.[19]

In April 2013, Needles was featured on the single "RuPaulogize," from Willam Belli's debut album The Wreckoning.[20]

Needles released her second studio album titled Taxidermy on October 31, 2015, with lead single Dracula and its accompanying music video. The music video for Dracula was directed by Santiago Felipe and pays homage to vampires of cinema, such as The Lost Boys and Bram Stoker's Dracula. The second single, released on August 5th 2016, was Hollywoodn't. The music video was once again directed by Santiago Felipe and explores the dark side of Hollywood. In the video, Needles portrays Elizabeth Short a.k.a. 'The Black Dahlia', Sharon Tate and Jayne Mansfield.

Honors and awards

In June 2012, the Pittsburgh City Council issued an official proclamation declaring June 12, 2012, "Sharon Needles Day."[21][22][23]

Sharon Needles was also voted the "Best Drag Performer" of Pittsburgh 2015 by the staff of the Pittsburgh City Paper.[24]

Personal life

Needles lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[25] Needles was in a four-year relationship with fellow RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Justin Honard, better known by his stage name Alaska Thunderfuck 5000; they ended their relationship in 2013, but remain friends.[26][27][28]


Studio albums

Title Details Peak chart positions

US Indie
  • Released: January 29, 2013
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD, digital download
186 9 25
  • Released: October 31, 2015
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD, digital download
- 11 -


Year Single Album
2013 "This Club Is a Haunted House" PG-13
"Call Me on the Ouija Board"
"Why Do You Think You Are Nuts?"
2014 "Dressed to Kill"
"I Wish I Were Amanda Lepore"
2015 "Dracula" Taxidermy
2016 "Hollywoodn't"

Other appearances

Song Year Album
"RuPaulogize" Willam Belli (featuring Sharon Needles) 2013 The Wreckoning



Year Title season Role Notes Ref.
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Season 4 - Winner
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked Herself
2012 RuPaul's Drag U Herself
2013 Watch What Happens: Live Herself Season 9, Episode 67: "Laura Linney & John Benjamin Hickey"
2013 She's Living for This Herself Season 2, Episode 1 [29]
2016 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Season 8, Episode1. Extra special guest star for the 100th episode EXTRAVAGANZA.

Music videos

Title Year Director Ref.
"This Club Is A Haunted House" 2013 Michael Sharkey [30]
"Call Me On the Ouija Board" 2013 Santiago Felipe [31]
"Why Do You Think You Are Nuts?" 2013 Marina Pfenning & Tony Balko [32]
"Dressed to Kill" 2014 Ben Simkins [33]
"I Wish I Were Amanda Lepore" 2014 Ben Simkins [34]
"Dracula" 2015 Santiago Felipe [35]
"Hollywoodn't" 2016 Santiago Felipe [36]

Music video appearances

Title Year Director Ref.
(RuPaul featuring Sharon Needles, Phi Phi O'Hara & Chad Michaels)
2012 Mathu Anderson [37]
(Willam Belli featuring Sharon Needles)
2013 Michael Serrato [38]


  1. 1 2 Sharon Needles. "Sharon Needles – Obitchuary". Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Maria Sciullo (April 30, 2012). "Sharon Needles crowned 'Drag Race' queen". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Maria Sciullo (April 21, 2012). "Reality Check: Sharon Needles makes 'Drag' Finals". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Daniel McEvily (April 26, 2012). "Hail Sharon". Baltimore Gay Life.
  5. Jeffrey James Keyes (December 20, 2011). "A Drag Race Christmas: Sharon Needles".
  6. "Just who did create the Haus of Haunt?".
  7. Primera Hora (November 15, 2011). "Dos "dragas" boricuas en el reality show de RuPaul".
  8. 1 2 Mark O. Estes (April 30, 2012). "RuPaul's Drag Race: Why Sharon Needles Deserves To Win".
  9. 1 2 Tanner Stransky (January 30, 2012). "Is Sharon Needles the most 'sickening' contestant ever?". Entertainment Weekly.
  10. 1 2 Joey Guerra (April 30, 2012). "RuPaul's Drag Race: Happy Halloween". The Houston Chronicle.
  11. Chris Spargo (April 26, 2012). "Sharon Needles Talks 'Drag Race', Beyonce & Boyfriend".
  12. Lady Gaga (March 26, 2012). "Sharon Needles looks FABULOUS...". Twitter.
  13. Lindsay Robertson (March 27, 2012). "Lady Gaga Tweets Her Love Of Sharon Needles' Look".
  14. 1 2 3 Tanner Stransky (April 26, 2012). "On the Scene at 'RuPaul's Drag Race: Reunited'". Entertainment Weekly.
  15. Tanner Stransky (April 30, 2012). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' winner speaks out". Entertainment Weekly.
  16. 1 2 Chris Spargo (June 21, 2012). "Sharon Needles Explains Why She Won't Be On 'RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race'".
  17. Spargo, Chris (August 29, 2012). "'FEARce! Hosted By Sharon Needles' Coming To Logo This October". New Now Next. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  18. "Sharon Needles, Drag Queen, Stars In PETA Halloween 'Flesh-Eating' Ad". October 15, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  19. 1 2 3 Caulfied, Keith (8 February 2013). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Divas Debut in Top 10 on Billboard Dance Charts". Billboard. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  20. Jacobs, Blake (19 April 2013). "Willam's "RuPaulogize": Never Too Late". World of Wonder. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  21. Mueller, Benjamin (June 12, 2012). "Pittsburgh City Council honors drag queen with Sharon Needles Day". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  22. Crawley, Dave (June 12, 2012). "'RuPaul's Drag Race' Winner Sharon Needles Honored". KDKA. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  23. Spargo, Chris (June 12, 2012). "It's Sharon Needles Day In Pittsburgh: Video". Retrieved 13 June 2012. External link in |work= (help)
  24. "2015 Best of People & Places". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  25. "Sharon Needles: 30 Things About My Pittsburgh". NewNowNext.
  27. "RuPaul's Drag Race Stars Sharon Needles, Alaska Break Up - Us Weekly". 19 December 2013.
  28. "Sharon Needles, Alaska break up". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  29. "**She's Living For This**". here TV. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sharon Needles.
Preceded by
RuPaul's Drag Race winner
Season 4 (2012)
Succeeded by
Chad Michaels
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