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Drag queen/king Do you love to perform to adoring crowds? Are you quick-witted and in possession of a wicked tongue? Have you ever had to declare bankruptcy after a visit to the MAC Cosmetics counter? Well, a career as a drag performer could be for you. Drag performances (men performing as women on stage) date back to the late 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that drag started to figure more strongly in popular culture. With the growth in awareness of gay rights and the sweeping social change taking place, the barriers that forbade men from dressing as women began to break down. The drag scene finally started to flourish after decades of existing in the shadows, operating in clandestine, dingy bars. By the 1990s drag had well and truly become mainstream, with drag performers appearing everywhere from pubs to work Christmas parties. Once the domain of (mostly gay) men, drag has evolved of late to include straight men and women. Drag kings (women performing as men) emerged more recently, hitting the scene in the 1990s. Pioneered by New York-based performance artist Johnny Science, drag kings represent a small, yet growing, proportion of the drag scene in comparison to drag queens. These days, drag is a bona fide art form, way of expression and, for some, a career. While many choose to perform in drag for fun, there are ways to make money from the art of drag. Some choose to perform in venues like clubs and bars, others create their own show and successfully take it on the road. Drag performers are often in demand as MCs or hosts for events. Some people have even carved out careers as drag consultants, offering one-on-one tuition and advice for aspiring drag performers, or more formal courses that run over longer periods – advising on everything from make-up

application to how to lip sync better than Britney (which, frankly, isn’t too hard). Encompassing much, much more than putting on a wig and giving yourself a sassy, pun-laden name, drag is an art that takes years to perfect. Not only do performers have to sing, dance and have incredible stage banter with their audience, they also have to know the ins and outs of everything from costuming to theatrical make-up, hair removal and publicity. In drag, only the toughest survive, which is probably why ‘I Will Survive’ endures as one of the most popular drag anthems. Successful drag performers are rewarded with legions of fans and a career that can really take them places, from the pubs of outback Australia to the clubs of New York. Best of all, a drag career gives performers the satisfaction that they are spreading joy and bringing colour to an often-grey world. Now there’s a good reason to work it, girlfriend!

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: None required, although in 2016 Britain’s Edge Hill University became the first in the UK to offer a drag performance module as part of a performing arts degree. Experience required: None. Training: Although not a necessity, there are privately owned drag schools, workshops and courses scattered all over the world. Alternatively, any aspiring drag performer worth their salt could learn something from watching every episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Restrictions: Once the domain of men, the emergence of drag kings ensures women can now also have a slice of the delicious drag pie.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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