Dressing in Drag: What is a Drag Queen?
For over a century, there has been a fascination with the Drag Queen. Whether it was in the old days when drag was more of an underground thing or today where RuPaul’s Drag Race rules the airwaves with fans all over the world. As Drag has become more and more popular over the years, more and more people have been inclined to explore the world of drag. But what is drag and what does it take to be a Drag Queen? Let’s explore all things drag….
What Is A Drag Queen?
A Drag Queen by definition is when a man dresses as a woman in a very exaggerated way. That includes crazy heavy makeup, glitzy outfits, big jewelry, and wigs. Drag is often linked to the gay community. Although many performers do tend to be a part of the lgbtq community, that is not always the case. There are heterosexual men who just enjoy the art of dressing in drag and performing. Performance art is a term often associated with drag. An art that is very flamboyant both in presentation and performance. Today, you can find drag queens that vary from sexual orientation and gender identification.
When Did Dressing In Drag Start?
Where the term Drag Queen came from is unknown. The first known use of the term drag was in 1870 referencing actors who dressed in women’s clothing. The word drag references a term “grand rag” from masquerades. In the early days, drag was more associated with seedy characters or brothels. It’s a stigma that stayed with drag for many years. In the earliest days of stage performances, women were not allowed to participate so men would dress in drag to play the female roles in plays and on stage. Shakespeare’s plays for example had male actors dressed as women for the female roles and were very common during that time.
A Glimpse into Drag Queen History
The more modern history of drag occurred in the late 19th century, where cities like New York and San Francisco had a popular drag scene. At one point during the repeal of prohibition, New York CIty banned female impersonation. With New York out, San Francisco thrived as the Drag capital. Drag did have to go underground for a while due to postwar America and family values looking down on drag and homosexuality in general. After many years of struggle, the 1980’s is when Drag and Drag Shows became more and more prevalent. Clubs like Studio 54 and the Pyramid Club became centers for drag. In 1984, Wigstock, an outdoor drag festival in Manhattan’s East Village began. As the popularity and social acceptance of drag grew, all the community needed was a spokesperson to represent them to the masses. In 1993, they got just that. RuPauls massive hit song, Supermodel (You Better Work) really took drag to the mainstream. It took drag all over the world. RuPaul has been the face of drag ever since. RuPauls Drag Race exploded on our televisions and is still a huge hit to this day. In recent years, Pose became a big hit on FX as they explored the drag ballroom scene of the 80s and 90s.
Careers As A Drag Queen
Drag has come such a long way, that you can make a career out of it or base a career around it. Obviously many drag queens have a regular 9-5 job as well, but for the lucky ones, they can build a whole career and life around their drag personas. Some have become successful models. There are quite a few drag queens that were contestants on RuPauls Drag Race that have turned their time on the show into a career as an influencer or a headliner on drag shows all over the world. As performance artists, you will see choreographers and show producers come out of the drag world as well. One former contestant on Drag Race, Bianca Del Rio, who is considered one of the most popular winners there’s been, has turned to comedy. She has toured the world with her comedy shows selling out theatres with her jokes. So while the select few can turn full time drag into a career, many are just 9-5’rs like the rest of us.
What Is A Drag Show?
A drag show is a form of entertainment, whereby some or all of the actors are dressed as drag queens. In many cases, there is a comedy element, alongside singing or lip-syncing and/or dancing, and there may even be women dressed as men too! Every show is different, and it’s great fun to attend a drag show.
Essential Drag Queen Items Checklist
Are you ready to become a drag queen? There is a long list of items needed to get that glamorous look. Let’s look at some of the most important. When looking at breast forms, the bigger the better. Drag is about exaggerated looks and what better spot than your boobs. A perfect sized breast plate would be a Big G Cup Breast Plate. It will give you a giant bust and really make you POP when dressed in drag. Going on the “big is better” train, get some big hips with an oversized, thick hip pad. Now that we are thick and busty, we need to get a great wig. Like your boobs and hips, the bigger the better. Try for a wig with long hair that has some teasing going on. A corset can do a couple of things. One it will give you more of a cinched in, hourglass look and two, if worn on the outside of your outfit gives your drag look an old school, Victorian vibe. Finish your essentials off with a pair of wide heeled boots. Along with whatever glitzy and glamorous outfit you pick, you will be ready for the stage. All you need is a drag queen name.
We hope this little primer on Drag Queens has helped to explain more about all things drag. We would love to hear from you for future drag articles. Are you a Drag Queen? Have you been to Drag shows? Email us at [email protected] or message us on our Facebook page. And be sure to check out all the great products we have available to you for all your drag needs. Now get out there and be fabulous.