Kai Prins

Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture

Teaching Assistant

they/she; he/him in drag




6164 Vilas Hall

Kaila Prins


I study gendered performances of and resistance to normativity and neoliberalism on the drag stage, in online fitness and wellness spaces, and in consumer advertising and corporate marketing/branding.

My research focuses on two major themes:

  1. Gender, Bodies, & Performance
  2. Diets, Dogma, & Dollars

With a background in corporate marketing, wellness coaching, podcasting/voice over, and theatre, my interests and methodologies vary — but always with the end goal of understanding how we persuade and are persuaded by embodied rhetoric. I am currently focused on performances of masculinity both in advertising and marketing and in drag; however, I am also interested in examining postfeminist self-branding in online health and fitness coaching communities.

In my spare time, I am an award-winning burlesque and drag performer, known as Will X. Uly (pronounced “Will Actually”). My titles include Winner of the 23rd annual San Francisco Drag King Contest (2018), Leading Man of the Hollywood Burlesque Festival (2019), and Mr. FIVE Nightclub (2021).


Gender studies, Feminist Theory, Queer Theory; Performance Studies; Masculinity; Marketing


B.A. English, University of Florida, 2007

M.A. Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2021


CA 260 – Communication and Human Behavior

CA 262 – Theory & Practice of Argumentation and Debate

DesignLab – Consultant


Prins, K. and M. Wellman (2021). Dodging Negativity Like It’s My Freaking Job: Marketing Postfeminist Positivity through Beachbody Fitness on Instagram. Feminist Media Studies.


“The Gay-te Keepers at the Fourth Wall: Queering the Borders of the Drag Stage”
Mapping the Margins, Revisited: Intersectionality and American Studies. University of Passau, Germany, American Studies Department, June 2021.

“Drag Kings Can Reign as Fierce as Queens: Theory and Performance of Masculinity in Drag”
Drag Performance in the U.S. University of Passau, Germany, American Studies Department, January 2021.


“From Male Tears to Women’s Shopping Carts: Grooming Neoliberal Female Consumers through Depictions of Masculinity in Crisis in Men’s Grooming Ads.”
Emergent Femininities and Masculinities in 21st Century Media and Popular Culture. Athens, Greece. September 2022.

“Si(gh)tation: Targeting Race in Advertisements after the George Floyd Protests.”
Console-ing Passions. Orlando, Florida. June 2022.

“You are the CEO of your own body”: Leaning in by leaning out in neoliberal fitness rhetoric.” in “A Media Theory of Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss: On the Platformization of (Post-)Feminism(s) & Cultural Industry Research” Panel.
International Communication Association. Paris, France. May 2022.

“‘I’ve Always Posted about Politics’: The Visceral Convergence of Wellness Influencers and QAnon Conspiracy Theories in the Public Sphere.”
Rhetoric Society of America. Baltimore, Maryland. May 2022.

“Real Men Wear Heels?: Finding Queer and Trans Masculinities in Axe’s ‘Find Your Magic’ Campaign.”
Rhetoric Society of America. Baltimore, Maryland. May 2022.

“Self-Preservation: On the Unseen Power and Politics of Archiving the Self.”
UW-Madison RSA Graduate Student Chapter Symposium: Probing the Past: Rewriting, Deconstructing, and Interrogating Histories. Virtual/Madison, WI. April 2022.

“Taking Care: Marketing Representation or the Violence of Visibility?”
New Directions in Feminist Thought: Research in Times of Crisis and Change. Annenberg Center for Collaborative Communication. Virtual. January 2022.

“Illness in the Wellness Model: Is Orthorexia a Communic(ate)able Disease?”
National Communication Association. Seattle, Washington. November 2021.

“#FaithandFitnessCollide: Spreading the Word of Multilevel Marketing in Christian Women’s Fitness Instagram Posts.”
Association of Internet Researchers Conference. Virtual. October 2021.

“‘Posthuman Realness’: Living for the Dead in Zombie Drag Performance”
Theorizing Zombiism II Conference. Virtual/University of Gothenburg. July 2021.

“Neoliberal Hege-MANy: Producing the Multiply Masculine Consumer in Dollar Shave Club Ads”
Popular Culture Association Conference. Virtual. June 2021.

“‘Illness in the Wellness Model’: Orthorexia as Terministic Screen”
UW-Madison RSA Graduate Student Chapter Symposium: Public Memory/Present Tensions. Virtual. April 2021.

“Mask-ulinity: A Socially-Distanced Drag King Revue”
The UW System’s Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium & UW-Madison’s 4W Initiative. Resistance and Reimagination: Gender, Change, and The Arts. Virtual. April 2021.

“Drag Kings Can Reign as Fierce as Queens: The Feminine Art of Masculine Drag”
National Communication Association, Performance Studies Division. Virtual. November 2020.

“The Best a Man Can Be?: Finding a Place for ‘Real’ Men in Feminist Critiques of Authenticity in Self-Care Advertising”
Cultures of Authenticity Webinar Series. Virtual. November 2020.

“The Queer Art of Winning: A Close Reading of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula
Supermodels of the World: A Drag Race Symposium. Virtual. September 2020.

“From Ideal Health to Ideal Recovery: Perceptions of Perfect Health in the Orthorexia Narrative”
Cambridge Body and Food Histories Group conference: The Ideal Body: Perceptions of Perfection from Early Modernity to the Present. Virtual. July 2020.

“The Gay-te Keepers at the Fourth Wall: Civic Realness and Homonormativity on the Drag Stage”
Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference. University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. March 2020.


Helen K. Herman Award, 2022
In recognition of excellence in research, teaching and extra-curricular activities.

Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Campus-Wide TA Awards: Excellent Service, 2022
Recognizes TAs who, in addition to their regular duties, perform exceptional service related to the educational mission of their department and our university (volunteerism, committee work, mentoring, etc.).

Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lloyd Bitzer Essay Award, 2021
For excellence in rhetorical analysis and/or theory development by a graduate student in Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture. Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Risser Award, 2021
For female scholars of high achievement and promise. Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Top Student Paper in Performance Studies, 2020
Performance Studies Division, National Communication Association Conference


2021-2023, Secretary, Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) Graduate Student Chapter

2019-2020, Area Rep, Graduate Student Organization (GSO)


Personal Website