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How to Become a Drag Queen: 5 Tips for Embracing Your Fierceness

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Apr 2, 2020 • 3 min read

If it’s your first time trying drag or you want to know how to be a better drag queen, it’s all about finding your frequency—your own natural energy source. If you’re trying to be somebody else, you won’t be happy with the results you get, but when you find your own frequency, there’s an ease to life: It feels like a warm jacket, a well-worn boot, or the home you’ve always wanted to live in.

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RuPaul Teaches Self-Expression and AuthenticityRuPaul Teaches Self-Expression and Authenticity

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How to Become a Drag Queen

Drag performance is a powerful art form that continues to evolve. It became increasingly accepted over the years thanks to the activism of those in the LGBTQ community—to the point that it is now celebrated in the mainstream media, with reality shows like the primetime Emmy-award winning competition show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Here are some tips for becoming a drag queen:

  1. Get the idea. Coming up with a drag persona is a spiritual exercise as much as it is an aesthetic one. Figuring out the kind of drag queen you want to be is an essential first step to becoming one. For example, popular drag star Trixie Mattel is basically a human Barbie. Are you going for a full celebrity diva impersonation like Chad Michaels’ Cher? Do you want to do lip-syncing performances like Lady Bunny? Will your act be funny, like Bianca del Rio’s insult comedy? Drag show entertainers range from young queens to old queens and come in many forms and styles; who you want to become (or feel you already are inside) will determine the type of queen you are.
  2. Get the look. Your drag queen makeup is as important as your drag personality. Decorating your body is an act of appreciation. The kindness that you have for yourself will show up in your makeup. Review makeup tutorials and makeup tips to get familiar with how to craft your ideal drag makeover. Makeup artists can demonstrate how contouring can change your jawline, eye makeup can reshape your eyes, and highlighter can enhance your cheekbones, allowing you to alter the way your entire face is structured. Using full coverage makeup that matches your skin tone can help hide your original features, making it easier to create more embellished ones—complete with dramatic eyeshadow, false eyelashes, and lip liner. This is how performers in the drag community achieve their signature looks. It doesn’t have to be perfect, either. Embracing your mistakes can help you come up with a truly original look.
  3. Get the body. Some drag artists use waist cinchers or corsets to reshape their bodies into more feminine, hourglass figures. They’re also known to use padding and prosthetics in order to build their ideal silhouette. Your body should be whatever you feel is most natural for your persona, whatever you envision yourself looking like as you perform.
  4. Get the clothes. The look you’re going for will determine your styling and how you curate your outfit. Drag is about more than aesthetics; clothing contributes to a drag queen’s overall essence and should be different from your everyday look. Glamour drag tends to emphasize a pageantry angle, with long gowns and lots of jewelry, whereas goth drag is more about black clothes and darkness. Your outfit helps present who you are for everyone to see, so it’s important to hone your own style.
  5. Get the attitude. One of the most important elements of drag is confidence. Practice embracing your fierceness. Drag is about fearless expression, just as much as it is about looking like a superstar. One of the ways to get the right attitude is to hone your walk—the way to own a room is to walk in with all of your energy. The more you believe yourself to be a queen, the more you will become her, but you have to be open to venturing outside your comfort zone. The mask you live in limits your creativity. It constricts you and stunts your growth. Often, we settle for a mask that makes the people around us comfortable, yet doesn’t reflect the truth of who we are.

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