Don’t Be A Drag, Just Be A Queen

The Art Of Drag

Dusk Johnson, Assistant Editor, Designer, Writer

To be a drag queen is to be a model, performer, and an artist. From its birthplace, drag has always been an art of performance. At first men filled women’s roles in plays at a time when they were not allowed to. Thanks to this arguably ridiculous social rule, the world was brought an art which would eventually evolve to break these same kinds of old fashioned ideas. Get your wigs and false lashes ready to dive into the chaotic, fabulous, glitter, and glamour filled world of drag.

Why drag? These queens are anything BUT a drag! The name came from the old days of theater and stage performance. Long costume gowns would drag when the male actors walked across the stage. It was a thing of elegance and beauty, and to many this still holds true. There’s beauty queens, horror queens and flat out comedy queens — those gals who go far over the top to look comical and completely ridiculous — clown queens if you will. (My personal favorite of this category is Trixie Mattel, Featured on “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” and “Trixie and Katya”). But enough about queen categories, it’s the talent and skill that make drag queens so iconic. Feel free to keep count of the amount of times you see the word “queen” it only gets worse from here!

Most drag queens make their own costumes and do their own make up. No costume designer, no make up crew; what you see on stage is created almost entirely by the person you’re looking at — the guy behind the caked on face and hair spray soaked wig that is. It takes some real skill to flip your appearance beyond recognition like they do, and to create a character nowhere near your day to day identity. It’s a thing of beauty that many more are starting to recognize here in the states, with over 469,000 people watching the latest season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. This series is definitely what popularized the culture in the west, and continues to bring inspiration for live shows and conventions. Drag queens have been popping up more and more in the media, and it’s no wonder. One peek at the loud look of a queen, and you are intrigued.

“Our show is being seen around the world and it’s introduced drag to people who have never even heard of it. Before that, drag was in the subversive clubs. In fact, even in clubs, it was in a place where it wasn’t celebrated. Around the time that our show went on the air, there was nothing. Girls were performing at restaurants without even a stage, without even proper lighting.” Ru Paul is quoted saying in regards to the show. It really is a beautiful empowering thing to see such a niche community brought to light, the mainstream was seriously missing out! Nowadays, new performers are stemming from this subculture, drag kings even! They’re exactly what you think — female identifying people dressing as handsome men. It breaks the boundaries of what our society considers masculine and feminine, male and female, gay and straight; it blurs the lines in a truly elegantly beautiful (and to some sexually confusing) manner.

If drag queens can teach us anything, it’s to express ourselves and our inner quirks and characters. Make something that you think is beautiful, even if society shies away or shuns it. Who knows, you may just become the next queen or king to shine!