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How to Choose Your Drag Name: 5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Name

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 8, 2020 • 2 min read

Coming up with a drag persona is a spiritual exercise as much as it is an aesthetic one, and finding the perfect drag performer name essential to that process. Your stage name needs to embody your whole persona with only one or two words.

Your drag name can be a real name, like “RuPaul.” It can be inspired by a place, like the name “Manila Luzon,” which references the Philippines’ capital city (Manila) and largest island (Luzon). It can be a play on words, like “Hedda Lettuce,” the name of a diva who parodies New York City women and has big green hair. Your drag name can be funny or sentimental, silly or raunchy, whatever suits your drag personality best.

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

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How to Come Up With a Drag Name

A drag queen’s name is just as important as her look. Here are a few ways you can discover your own unique drag name:

  1. Experiment with wordplay. Punny names like “Eileen Dover” or “Mimi Imfurst” rely on wordplay for their effect—and these names are as funny and memorable as the personas who inhabit them. “Courtney Act” is the name of an Australian drag queen whose name is a play on “caught in the act.”
  2. Dig deep. Sometimes a name can be borne from trauma or the commandeering of a previously painful word. For instance, Trixie Mattel’s drag name came from a hurtful term her step-father would call her when she “acted feminine” (Trixie); when it happened to also be the name of the character she would play in Rocky Horror Picture Show, it became a perfect fit.
  3. Find a defining feature. Some queens are named for their own memorable qualities. For instance, drag queen Milk’s name came from a reference to her pale skin. If you have a particularly defining feature, try brainstorming names that can use that to your advantage.
  4. Turn to pop culture. Some queens were inspired by figures from pop culture, like Victoria Beckham (Jiggly Caliente’s original stage name “Victoria”) or X-Men comics (PhiPhi O’Hara’s original stage name, “Phoenix Mathews”). See what famous names throughout pop culture you can use to find a name of your own—or at least to spark an idea for the perfect name.
  5. Look up other names. Take a look at the most clever and funniest drag queen names to help yourself come up with new names of your own. Kim Chi, Farrah Moan, and Sharon Needles are some funny names of RuPaul’s Drag Race queens that can inspire your own creative take.

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