How To Become a Drag Queen Star? A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Your Drag Queen Persona


Ready to claim your spotlight and meet your inner diva? Discover how to be a drag queen star via our step-by-step article!






I always describe cross dressing as magic in real life. Drag, as a form of crossdressing, is magic on steroids. Everything in drag culture, especially drag queens, seems to be on max settings — the wardrobe, the makeup, the music. The kaleidoscope of everything fabulous — loud and bold — whirls everyone involved in it in a frenzy.


 become a drag queen star  


Drag is also very personal. It requires you to be one of a kind, something never seen before, an artist and art in one that can outperform others and keep the most eyes in the room. Above its blinding sequins and dizzying performances is one reclaiming their power and freedom. It’s being proud of your presentation — but with dozens of stage lights focused on you so everyone can do nothing but see.


Our community has never had any shortage of that kind of courage. But it doesn’t get old, right? Ready to be the next drag queen star? Read on!


What is a Drag Queen?


 become a drag queen star  


Most will define a drag queen as someone who entertains with a flamboyant fashion linked to women. Well, they are not wrong. But a drag queen is more than that in the 21st century.


I suggest you go through the history of drag and immerse yourself in drag culture to fully understand drag’s significance and impact. Here, I will help you with a quick overview:


Origins: Shakespeare, Greeks, and Cleo


 become a drag queen star  


Drag has been around since our ancient ancestors — that’s how you know it’s meant to be here.  Humans invented many things, but drag is still here and flourishing.


Drag is rooted in Ancient Greeks, but was made more popular during The Renaissance, courtesy of one of the most famous English playwrights of — ever — William Shakespeare. If we’re talking about “someone who entertains,” then plays fall under this category, Shakespeare’s plays are notorious for using male actors to play female characters. This decision was urged by the then-restrictive sexist society. Men are freer to move, and speak, and with “scandalous” scenes in some of the plays, men being overly flirtatious with men in drag on stage was more acceptable back then. Some similar elbowroom was afforded to women dressed in men’s clothing too, to be fair. Female To Male crossdressers were allowed to converse and do vulgar gestures more freely.


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It’s a bit ironic, really, to realize that this same decision would then influence one of the practices that continues to shatter sexist assumptions.


But here’s a very interesting thing history nugget I’ve found out: Some believe that letting males crossdress in Shakespeare’s theaters will lead to their effeminization. Whether there is any concrete evidence for this assumption or not is still up in the air. But the fact that years ago, in the 16th century, many already noticed the connection between crossdressing and drag to one’s effeminization is already very telling.


The recent discovery of a stone slab also depicts  Ancient Egypt’s queens — like Cleopatra and Hatshepsut — crossdressing as men. Experts believe that these women did so to assert their power. Seems like the term drag queen is so not far off the mark, huh?


The Term “Drag”


term drag 


“Drag” was first used during the Victorian era, specifically in 1870. It referred to men actors wearing women’s clothes in masquerade balls. Why drag? Because these men would wear that era’s fashion of long, heavy skirts and drag it around.


When the world became too busy with war (and generally staying alive) in 1914, entertainment wasn’t really anyone’s priority. Still, it was an effective way to get some people’s minds off of their gloomy reality, so men in drag and other people who crossdress continued to perform. These performances, however, focused on vaudevilles (satirical, burlesque-type of entertainment) and were often held in nightclubs.


By the 1920s, the LGBT community was tolerated (and I write that with great consideration), drag was even celebrated as a form of amusement to take away from the horrors of the war. The 1930s — coined the “Pansy Craze” — was the highlight for the drag community, where drag parties and gay nightlife jumpstarted. “Pansies” performed on Broadway, in other major US cities, and in every European capital. The community even got its anthem: A song from Berlin,  Marek Weber’s The Lavender Song that celebrated homosexuality.  Below is the chorus of the song:


“We are just different from the others

who are being loved only in lockstep of morality

who wander curiously through a thousand wonders

and who are only up to the trivial.

But we do not know what the feeling is

since we are all children of a different kind of world

we only love lavender night, who is sultry

because we are just different from the others!”


Indeed, we are different.


Drag has a long, winding history that you will find interesting. If you want to know more about its foundations and how the past molded the modern drag we know today, there are many articles about it online. Most are with resources and references that link to other pages that will lead you to more behind-the-scenes of drag culture.


Before You Get Into Drag


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Drag is highly entertaining when you’re by the sidelines, watching and enjoying the shows. But if you want the spotlight to be on you, you have to be acquainted with drag and everything that connects to it first. Becoming a drag star isn’t as simple as wearing a flashy dress and learning to walk in high heels. It requires work, and I mean work where you need to dedicate time, money, and effort, a whole lot of it.


Reality drag shows are great, but they tend to highlight moments that will start drama. You know, the ones that can generate the most public watch time? You can enjoy and pick up a few things from reality drag shows like RuPaul.


But the real treasure trove of crossdressing and drag knowledge is in the books. Treat drag as a bachelor’s degree — you need educational books, not just picture books, okay? Shelve books like  The Drag Queen Anthology and Why Drag? to get the inner scoop — the realistic, insightful scoops. They have personal stories, vivid pictures, and thought-provoking narratives that will leave you inspired and informed.


The best learning experience still is watching drag shows live. Pay attention to the queen’s charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent to command the stage. Grab a ticket to your local drag bar, or if you can, a DragCon event.


Join online communities too, like the Subreddit r/drag or r/rupaulsdragrace. It’s chock full of experienced queens and enthusiasts who live and breathe drag. It’s got resources, tips, and endless discussions about everything.


Discovering Your Drag Persona


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Let’s chat about you and your future drag persona. Understanding why you’re drawn to the world of drag is your starting point, so ask yourself why. Is it the exaggerated, razzling nature of drag? Is it the magical transformation? Or the unapologetic freedom? Only when you dig deep into the why of your attraction can you truly start to shape your distinct persona.


Ask yourself the key queries:


  1. What kind of queen do I want to be?
  2. What message do I want to send out into the world?
  3. What are the aspects of my personality do I want to amplify?


Don’t rush it — think long and hard. There are no wrong answers either.


How to Start


drag queen star 


Do you want to travel back in time and be a vintage bombshell whenever you get in drag? Or would you prefer to be one of the modern pop icons and change up your style based on what’s new with their lives (new album, new lover, the likes)? Maybe you want to honor a lovely woman in your life? Why not a mix of all of the above?


Here’s a crucial reminder: While drawing inspiration is a must, outright imitation is a drag faux pas. You’re a queen, not a copycat.


Visualization is a powerful thing, so I suggest going with a mood board. Cut out pictures, jot down quotes, all ideas that resonate with your drag spirit. Watch movies, study art, listen to music, and immerse yourself in all forms of culture. Also, try to look for inspiration in unexpected places. Why not model your lashes after a fish’s fin?


Explore, experiment, but most importantly, stay true to yourself. Yeah, I know, this mantra has been so overused. Doesn’t make it any less true though! Your drag persona is an extension of you. You but with more glitter and attitude. Strive to stand out and be unforgettable.


Makeup Mastery


drag queen star 


I don’t want to overhype makeup — but makeup should be overhyped. Original drag queens paint their faces with exaggerated makeup to attract more attention. Since the initial intention of drag is to perform a “parody of the opposite sex,” crossdressing men who do drag overcompensates with the facets only women have. Of course, women are not the only ones who do makeup (think Hollywood actors), but they are the target audience.


Modern drag features more cohesive makeup looks. Often, modern drag queens opt for over-glamorized makeup instead of the exaggerated ones. It’s a broad range though. You can go Trixie Mattel and go for an overemphasized eye and lip makeup. You can also be more cohesive and be inspired by Kim Chi’s emphasized but not over-the-top face paint. Or be like Marcia Marcia Marcia, who barely wore makeup, and was criticized for it in RuPaul. But hey, she got a makeup brand now!


I know all about the sweat and tears that can come from staring at a sea of makeup products, especially if you’re a new sailor.


Invest in a silicone-based primer. Silicone, darling! It’s not just for our other accessories. The primer will give you a smooth canvas, with silicone primer you get to enjoy long-lasting makeup that doesn’t cake much. It’s definitely something you need if you plan to perform under bright, hot lights.


You’ll need a product that promises full coverage, but also light, and sweat and waterproof. Juvia’s Place’s I Am Magic Concealer is the one you outta check out. Here’s a bonus: It comes in 24 shades and can be exchanged within 60 days if it’s not a skin match!


About foundations, most of my drag friends suggest MAC Studio Fix Fluid  is a popular choice, Drag queen Aura Mayari also recommends it.


I personally think eye makeup is the central focus of any drag makeup. So it’s best to make it as “attention-seeking” as possible. Palette-wise, many go for Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Modern Renaissance. It’s got a great mix of neutrals and brights, and the pigmentation is top-notch.


For lips, prime it to avoid any crinkles. Any long-lasting, matte liquid lipstick is great.


As for techniques, you only need to master two things:


Contouring to highlight and soften features that enhance your feminine side.

Proper blending to make your face look polished. Unless of course, you plan to perform as a Picasso painting.


Below is a set of the “unusual” makeup tools that are common in drag:


Glue stick to set the eyebrows — unless you don’t want to touch your eyebrows.


Rubbing alcohol and tape to lift the eye or smooth the jawline and neck.


This is a crucial tool for that “high-fashion” look. But I won’t recommend it for long performances.


Alcohol is to make sure the tape sticks on the skin.


Glitter — I mean, do I have to explain this one?


Looking for tutorials? Can’t recommend enough the YouTube channel of Roanyer. It’s the best and explains everything in a way that even a makeup newbie can follow.


Costume Creation and Maintenance




No queen is complete without her royal attire, yes?


When it comes to choosing a costume, your imagination is the only limit. Your costume should be as striking as your makeup. Costume is your chance to create more interest and visually express yourself.


If you’re blessed with the ability to sew, creating your own costume is unbelievably rewarding. Not to mention, it’s a surefire way to ensure your outfit is one-of-a-kind. If you’re not as blessed (like me) there are countless designers out there who specialize in drag queen costumes. Locally, try hitting up costume shops or thrift stores for unique pieces. If you’re scouting online, Etsy is a goldmine for custom outfits. Just remember to check the reviews before you commit.


Also, though it may seem fun and exciting, it’s not realistic and practical to have costumes you will wear only once. So go for those you can mix and match with others. Separate tops and bottoms, or those you can recycle for another costume. Be sure that your costumes are properly cleaned, stored, and checked for occasional repairs. Invest in good quality clothing racks and hangers, and consider vacuum-sealing outfits you don’t use often. If your costume involves a lot of sequins or delicate materials, hand-washing or professional dry-cleaning is a must.


Oh, and of course, you’ll need to know about the Art of Tucking.


The Art of Performance


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No makeup or costume is as important as how you hold the stage. A drag queen is an all-rounder. No K-pop idol should be as talented as you. Some expected talents drag queens should have are:


Public speaking


Improv chops (stand-up comedy)


Singing and/or lip-syncing


Yeah, I know it might seem a lot (and it is), especially if you don’t have any background whatsoever in any of these skills. It’s not like you can be a theater kid overnight, either. But here’s a great bit: You. Can. Learn. Every. Single. One. Of. These. Skills.


Between those skills above, what are you the most into? If you like singing, or think it’s the easiest out of the bunch at least, go hire a vocal coach.


Then I will just lip-synch!


Oh no, you can’t underestimate lip-synching. It’s more than just memorizing lyrics and moving your pretty lips. When you abandon singing and choose to lip-synch, you’re offering something else for the audience to marvel about. Just think: Anyone can lip-synch, but what can I do while lip-synching that not everyone can do?


Do you excel in caricature-like expressions? Can you swim underwater while lip-synching? What about dancing a very difficult choreo without forgetting any lyrics? Bottomline is you always need to offer something entertaining.


Of course, mixing all of these talents is what makes a drag queen the most entertaining.


When learning, slow and steady is better than rushed and below par. Think of your very first performance as if you’re the adored first princess of a wealthy country. Your debut should be unforgettable, you should make everyone want to see you again.


Make it your goal to ensnare everyone with your charm, your wits, and your talent.


drag queen star


 Building Confidence On and Off Stage


The backbone of real confidence is realizing there are great, good, okay, bad, and downright horrible days. What sets you apart is how you handle each of these days as a crossdresser and as a drag queen on stage.


When you’re a drag queen, the show must always go on — everyone’s here to watch you, so make their time worth it. The three best techniques to always be confident, no matter what day you’re having are:


Constant practice: The only way to minimize mistakes and develop improv is to constantly practice. Practice your scripted skit, practice your dance, practice your ad-lib. You can always be a bit better than your last performance.


Visualization: Visualize yourself winning and you will! I sure sound like a dramatic life coach, but visualization actually works. When you imagine doing something, you’re more likely to do it. Try it now. Imagine being beautiful on stage, with the crowd giggling and laughing at your witty remarks. Feels good, yeah? You’ll feel better once you turn it into reality.


Compartmentalization: Entertainers are not afforded any leeway to be sad. I mean, you’re there to entertain and help people escape from their hard reality. To do right by their audience, drag queens always keep their work and personal lives separate. They put any problem they have at home in a box and set it aside. They can deal with it later after work hours.


What about the critics and haters? Oh you mean your super fans? I always say critics are more focused on you than your fans. So aren’t they like, your super fans? Having haters or critics is a good sign of drag. It means people, of all kinds apparently, know you exist! When they comment on your performance, that only means one thing: They watched your content.


Without them, you won’t know where to improve. Without them, you won’t get the thick skin you need for this industry. So let them criticize and sift through whatever constructive criticism you can get.


Networking and Building Your Brand


Roanyer New!


I will throw you a pebble of reality — you won’t get past your local stage if you don’t introduce yourself outside of it. Sure, it’s great to have a manager to manage things for you, but it’s best if you know the inner dealings within the industry yourself first. This gives you insight and won’t leave you vulnerable to any surprise mistakes.


Focus on personal branding, get connected with the right people, and protect your reputation. Make yourself visible, approachable, and very reachable. Go to local drag shows, participate in events, make friends with other queens, and support them. Root for them like you would love to be rooted for.


What did I mean by personal branding? Personal branding is how people know it’s you. What is your selling point? What makes you stand out from the rest? Identify your strengths and highlight, underline, italicize, and bolden them! Are you a rapid-fire of wit and charm? Is your crowdwork impeccable? Play on your strengths and strive to be better at them.


Your social media platforms are your megaphones. Use it wisely, and know how the metrics work. Share what you’re comfortable with and don’t stress yourself with anything negative. Share your journey, your transformations, and your performances. Engage with your followers, reply to their comments, and encourage them to share your content. And hey, don’t shy away from a little self-promotion. Got a show coming up? Let them know. Released new merch? Spread the word.


Lastly, do collaborations that are mutually beneficial. Collaborating with other queens, photographers, brands, can boost your visibility and extend your reach.


Navigating Challenges


No pressure, no diamonds, right? I wish that wasn’t the case. But it always is.

First off, acceptance. You might face a few raised eyebrows or negative comments from those who just can’t seem to get with the times. A drag queen is a walking rebellion, after all. My advice? Keep your head held high, your wig secured, and your makeup flawless. Remember, the stage doesn’t care about your past, only your passion.


Next up is the art of drag itself. It’s not just about slapping on some makeup and wearing a dress. It’s about performance, charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. It takes time to master. Welcome the learning curve. Practice in front of the mirror, attend workshops, and learn from seasoned queens. Each fall on the stage is an opportunity to rise stronger.


And then, there’s the financial aspect. Those fabulous gowns, wigs, and makeup, can put a dent in your wallet. But don’t let that stop you. Start small. A little creativity can go a long way.


Finally, let’s talk about competition. The drag world can be cut-throat, but don’t let it get to you. Instead of looking at other queens as competitors, view them as co-performers. Learn from them, collaborate with them, and most importantly, support them.




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So there you have it, sweetheart. Your step-by-step guide to sparkling stardom. Remember, being a drag queen star is not a destination but an ongoing voyage of self-discovery. Each step you take strengthens your persona, sharpens your performance, and liberates your spirit.


So tighten those corsets, fasten those stilettos, and let your passion for drag guide you.

The world is your stage, so slap your name all over it!






What is the first step in becoming a drag queen?


The first step is often the most exciting: deciding on your stage name! This name will be your alter ego, the embodiment of your art, and a reflection of your unique persona. Start by brainstorming ideas that resonate with you. Tip: Think glamorous, daring, and tongue-in-cheek!


H3: How can I maintain my drag queen costume?


Spend more dollars on a good fabric cleaner and learn basic sewing. If you can, dedicate a space for your costumes to avoid damage. Plastic garment bags are a great way to protect them from dust and moisture too.


H3: How can I market myself as a drag queen and build a personal brand?


Social media can be hard work, but it pays off great. Enroll in some content marketing masterclasses to learn the best ways to promote yourself. Some basic SNS advertisements are regularly posting relevant content, engaging with your followers, and being consistent with your brand voice. Consider having a professional photoshoot for promotional material for an added wow factor.


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