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.
Aaron Coady was born on November 28, 1981 in Newton, Iowa. 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. 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", which Needles describes as "one punk rock, messy mash up of very talented, fucked up weirdos."
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. 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. 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?"
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. 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." 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."
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. 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. 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. The finale episode aired on April 30, 2012, when it was announced that Needles had been crowned "America's Next Drag Superstar".
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. 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.
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!
In October 2012, Needles became the face of an advertising campaign by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals promoting vegetarianism, 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.
In April 2013, Needles was featured on the single "RuPaulogize," from Willam Belli's debut album The Wreckoning.
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."
Sharon Needles was also voted the "Best Drag Performer" of Pittsburgh 2015 by the staff of the Pittsburgh City Paper.
Needles lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 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.
|Title||Details||Peak chart positions|
|US ||US |
|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"|
|"RuPaulogize" Willam Belli (featuring Sharon Needles)||2013||The Wreckoning|
|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|
|2016||RuPaul's Drag Race||Herself||Season 8, Episode1. Extra special guest star for the 100th episode EXTRAVAGANZA.|
|"This Club Is A Haunted House"||2013||Michael Sharkey|
|"Call Me On the Ouija Board"||2013||Santiago Felipe|
|"Why Do You Think You Are Nuts?"||2013||Marina Pfenning & Tony Balko|
|"Dressed to Kill"||2014||Ben Simkins|
|"I Wish I Were Amanda Lepore"||2014||Ben Simkins|
Music video appearances
(RuPaul featuring Sharon Needles, Phi Phi O'Hara & Chad Michaels)
(Willam Belli featuring Sharon Needles)