A drag queen is a person who dresses, and usually acts, like a woman often for the purpose of entertaining or performing. There are many kinds of drag artists and they vary greatly from professionals who have starred in movies to people who just try it once. Drag queens also vary by class and culture and can vary even within the same city. Although many drag queens are presumed to be gay men or transgendered people, there are drag artists of all genders and sexualities who do drag for various reasons.
Drag queens are sometimes called transvestites, although that term also has many other connotations than the term Drag queen usually connotes cross-dressing for the purposes of entertainment or performance without necessarily aiming to pass as female.
An Interview With A Drag Queen
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Briceson Douglas Ducharme, I am 31-years-old and live in Denver, CO. I grew up in a small farm town northeast of Denver called Eaton, CO. I currently work for MAC cosmetics, paint, read, write and sleep in my spare time. I also love to go to movies, I have been to 90% of movies made in the past year and a half.
For those of us who don’t know, what’s a drag queen?
A Drag queen is a gender-bending illusionist. This can either happen when a man has too much fierceness and dresses like a woman, or when a woman has too much swag and dresses like a man. In both cases the drag persona lipsyncs and performs to major artists, sometimes even mimicking the artist they are performing.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about drag queens?
The biggest misconceptions of drag:
1. That all drag queens want to become a woman.
2. That we are all bottoms.
3. That we are all “femme” and can’t play sports or act like girls all the time.
4. That we are all bitches
How did you get your start in the business?
I ran for a pageant called Miss Gay Pride Youth when I was 17, I won that crown and am the first and only to go from being Miss Gay Pride Youth to Miss Gay Pride and win both as youth and adult. I have been doing drag ever since. I’ve learned to perfect my skills, learn choreography, make wigs, sew outfits and raise a crap ton of money for those who need it more then I do. My first time in drag though was on my golden birthday, when I turned 14 on the 14th. That day changed my life, and helped me be to where I am today. I remember watching To Wong Foo and wanting to be just as glamorous as all the “girls” in the movie. I feel now that I have come full circle and am that girl.
How long does it take you to prepare to perform? What goes into your preparation?
Honestly, the time is a variance of what character, runway or avant-guard look I am going with. It can either be 45 minutes or a couple of hours depending on how detailed I need/ want to be.
Can you tell us about an average work day?
Are we talking drag or both? Hmm, usually I start work at the counter at 9 on a show day. I work until 6, doing everyone’s makeup and making them feel fabulous. Then I leave work, rush home shave like I’m cutting down the rainforest, pack my bag, (sometimes eat something), rush to the club, and paint (put my makeup on) like Michelangelo on crack. Then when it’s my turn, whether I am tired or not, I get on stage and TURN IT OUT!
You were a runner-up for RuPaul’s Drag Race – tell us about that!
I have auditioned for RPDR (RuPaul’s Drag Race) every year from the initial season, and yet am still not on it. It’s been a very good journey for me honestly, I have evolved in my persona, I gained more confidence, and I have performed with the best of the best in my home terf. Although I haven’t made the show yet, I am blessed to gain the knowledge experience and exposure that I have just from auditioning for that crazy amazing show. I really hope that one day I make it on the show so that I can voice my opinions, share my love for humanity, and slay the competition with my views and workings on drag.
How have your friends and family reacted to your career?
My mom and sister, and my in law’s (I just got married last June to the love of my life Aaron) are all hella supportive. I have an annual ball every year that I created to raise money for those with HIV/AIDS and my family has been there EVERY year for those shows as well as coming to major events that I have been apart of in the past. I am very lucky and blessed to be in the family I have.
What are the best parts of being a drag queen? The biggest challenges?
The most rewarding part of being a queen for me is being a voice in a community that isn’t always heard. I get to speak up for those who are less fortunate, raise money and awareness for those who might be too weak, and am able to give a fierce fresh face whenever I go out.
The biggest challenges in life are always those around you with a negative energy that try to steal your thunder, inner light or your spotlight. Drag is a very competitive sport, (yes, I said sport) because eventually you have to hang up your heels, just like a football player hangs his jersey. Queens aren’t always the nicest to one another, and even though we are all “sisters” you always have those who want to be on top, no matter what it takes. Those are the people I avoid at ALL costs.
What advice would you give to anyone who’s interested in doing drag?
MY advice is this, just because you can put on a wig, some heels and beat a mug (another way of saying putting on makeup) doesn’t make you a drag queen. A Queen is someone with heart, sophistication, humility, inner and outer beauty, and someone who can slay a song so full of emotion that time gets lost in the room for those few minutes that you are performing your soul out. You see, you can be pretty, and everyone hates you, you can be mediocre and everyone loves you, and you can be average and perfect yourself inside and out, and always be on top. No one wants to work with a stuck up boy in a dress who thinks that they are the ‘ish and doesn’t realize but they aren’t. And yes so you can walk, talk and chew gum in heels.. SO WHAT! Be kind to one another, and help your sister, your community and your world.
I found this video quite intriguing to hear about all these different opinions and experiences. It was interesting to understand why they started drag, how people felt about them doing drag, and just being able to listen to events in their general life.
After doing quite a lot of interesting research, I realised that there were many different reasons that people choose to be a Drag Queen – some because they like the power and control it allows them to have, some to get over a kind of repression they felt, some to express themselves, the reasons go on… But I have learnt that drag queens do not necessarily take any notice of advertising and the media. They use whatever products they want, and apply it however they want, and they are proud to do this; which I think is quite a brave and confident thing to be able to do.