10 Things Every Aspiring Drag Queen Must Know

Christopher Kelly
5 min readMar 14, 2020
Drag queen holding disco balls. Image: dubassy / Shutterstock

Drag is more than just slapping on a face, slipping into a frock and sashaying on stage. So if you want to succeed in it, you need to know what it really takes to be one.

But don’t fret, drag is not to be taken too seriously. It’s an art form, after all.

As a fellow drag queen myself with a decade of experience and plenty of friends in the industry, allow me to enlighten you on what drag is all about.

“You can make a fine living in a pair of heels…”
— Mitzi Del Bra, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

It’s not just about being on stage

Drag is a multi-faceted art form; it’s not just blending makeup art and costuming, but also understanding sound production, hairstyling, choreography and gasbagging on a microphone. At times, that involves dealing with unruly audience members.

You must also understand branding, especially if you want to make your drag a business. Your personality essentially becomes your brand, which you project in everything you do. Not just on stage, but also through mingling with the audience and interacting with potential contractees.

But noone is expecting you to know all this straight away. It’s gonna take time to build up your knowledge on all the facets of drag. You can’t eat an elephant in one bite, but you can eat it all if you take your time.

It’s a social industry

If you’re getting into drag with the hopes of flying solo, think again. While there are a few drag queens who have created a great name for themselves and have the capacity to actually fly solo, nearly all of them don’t. They build their own bespoke clan, their own special clique.

When you get into drag and start getting your name out there (going to amateur nights and the like) be sure to build your network. Make friends with other drag queens. This is not just to help you learn from the best, but to even work with the best. Networking brings you closer to that elusive big break. It only takes that one queen to notice your talent and offer you a spot on an upcoming show.

After all, it’s not just about what you know, but who you know.

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Christopher Kelly

Just your friendly gay man setting the record straight.