We think it's safe to say that drag culture is having a moment!
Not long ago, drag was very much confined to the underground scene. Up until recently, drag performers could only be found in select clubs and out of the public eye. However, the success of ‚ÄúRuPaul‚Äôs Drag Race‚Äù and the call for more inclusivity in pop culture, has turned drag mainstream.
Images of perfectly sculpted cheeks and glittering gowns can be overwhelming for newcomers who want to experiment with the drag medium. Which is the best makeup to use? Where can I engage with the community How do I stand out from everyone else?
This ultimate guide to will cover everything beginner drag queens need to know before sashaying onstage.
What is Drag?
Get ready for a little history lesson. ‚ÄúDrag‚Äù practices date back to Shakespearean times. Women weren‚Äôt allowed to act and men would often play female roles. However, this is definition hardly captures what drag actually is.
While the exact timing is still unknown, the closest origins to modern drag came in the late 1800s and early 1900s, in the form of female impersonation. In this context, a cisgender male performer would dress in the garb of a cisgender woman. Today, this idea expanded to include drag kings, drag queens, non-binary performers, and even some older queens.
Describing drag is a complex feat but, is best understood as art expressed in the medium of gender. For the most part, the definition includes an an artist who uses their accessorized and decorated body to subvert traditional norms of gender.
Drag culture has never been more powerful. It plays an important role in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and performers are the face of positive social change. There is also power in the fact that drag is for everyone. Without limits or rules, the medium is a canvas for self-acceptance and self-expression.
Painting your face
No drag queen is complete without her face on. While most choose to go all out with wild eyeshadows, a thick pair of lashes and colorful wig, it's totally up you to decide your style.
Staple products for a drag look include the ‚ÄúTV Paint Stick for foundation and pigmented white eyeshadow. No matter which products you decide to use, the make up should last long and be able to withstand stage lights and sweat.
Some tools that are worth investing in. If you can, purchase a good set of brushes and a well lit mirror.
(Tip: This seasons game-changing LED mirror in the Fall 2020 Drag Society box makes for the perfect lighting when painting on the perfect pout.)
Inspiration is at your fingertips as many prominent figures love to share their tips and routines with their beginner drag queens online.
Dress to Impress
Whoever said "all you need is a little black dress" clearly never understood drag culture.
Ask yourself: Is your inner diva a girl next door or is she fiery and fierce? Would she strut an elegant dresses or kill it in a stylish jumpsuit?
Your outfit will be a defining factor in your persona. It's the first impression you will make on an audience, so make it count!
The combination of makeup and a new wardrobe tends to get a bit pricey. Novice queens should start by playing with some of the clothes you have on hand.
If you you see yourself experimenting with drag more in the future, purchase some material and take a hand at sewing together an ensemble yourself. Again, YouTube is your friend and you can find so many "how to" videos for just about anything these days.
Finding your "alter ego"
"Drag doesn't change who you are, it actually reveals who you are."RuPaul
Once you've got everything you need to look like a drag queen, you have to have the personality and the act to back it up. Choose your style and name carefully. Also, make sure it fits who you are.
You shouldn't completely change you are. Think of the your "alter ego" as your brand. What do you want to stand for? What inspires you?
It is important to craft your persona with intention. It can be tempting to copy your role models. But, being unique will help you stand out from the crowd and allow you to feel you are true to yourself.
As you develop your character, your persona will evolve over time. This is a good thing! A change in personality or style means your identity is growing. When something doesn't feel right anymore, it's because you've outgrown it. That's a completely normal, good feeling. It means you're refining her into who she should be.
Practice makes perfect!
At the end of the day, drag is an art form. In order to become a great performer, you have to put in the hard work.
As a side note, remember that performing drag isn‚Äôt just about your performances. It's time you spend preparing for that performance along with all the time you will spend learning how to paint.
Also don‚Äôt forget engage with your local scene and support other beginner drag queens. Sites like Drag Queen Divas are helpful directories for local drag entertainment and services.
Now that you have all the essential tools to be a great Queen:
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