By: Paige Turner
Lets talk about drag!
The world seems to be obsessed with drag queens; RuPaul‘s Drag Race had a record number of viewers for season 6 and articles have been popping up all over the Internet calling it “the best reality show on TV.” If you think about it, it’s all for good reason! The show has “5 G’s,” as Latrice Royale from Drag Race Season 4 might say: glitz, glamour, gossip, grit, and girls (well, “girls”).
With Drag being such a unique art form, having endless possibilities of looks and transformations, there always seems to be an argument about “how its supposed to be done.” I for one believe that there is no certain or correct way to do drag. As public characters or personas, us drag queens get to decide (on our own) the type of drag we choose to represent our own style.
They are so many types of drag queens: faux, androgyny, fish, club, goth, pageant and the list goes on and on. I am obsessed with them all. I tend to incorporate many of these styles into my own drag persona, making me what is consider to be a “fluid” queen.
Although the art of drag is so diverse, there are many queens who feel there should only be one type of drag: fish. Gia Gunn, from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6, was very vocal on the show about “fish” being the only way. She read other queens for their faux looks and looks that she thought were “unpolished.” Her pick to win the crown was Courtney Act (a “fishy” queen), however, RuPaul and America opted for Bianaca Del Rio, who’s more of a campy queen.
The 11 Most Common Styles of Drag
The term ‘faux queen’ is used to describe a drag queen that is is a biological female. These days, the term is used very loosely because it can have two separate meanings that might vary depending on where you live. I have also heard a faux queen being referred to as a genderfuck queen (see below).
Pictured: Holy McGrail
Androgyny / Genderfuck
This type of drag queen is also known as an “anti-queen,” using a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. These queens tend to be very artistic, with constant blurs of gender boundaries. They are sexually ambiguous with fashion, gender identity, sexual identity, and/or sexual lifestyle.
Pictured: Nina Flowers
This type of queen takes pride in looking like an authentic woman; they want to look as close to the real thing as possible. Coming beat to the gods and padded down serving body, these ladies give you real day to day whoa-man! They are known for being very polished and they take their drag very seriously, sometimes throwing shade at the types of drag they don’t represent.
Pictured: Gia Gunn
A club queen is a queen that either comes from the 1980s/1990s NYC club kid scene or has drawn inspiration for their drag persona from there. They are known for slaying “Drag Balls,” with fierce yet sometimes outrageous fashion and unique make-up techniques.
Pictured: Kayvon Zand
A goth queen is exactly how it sounds: dark and gloomy! This type of queen thrives off of creating looks inspired by classic goth and horror films. You won’t see an eclectic group of colors in this queens closet… it’s all black! Most tend to do white face and very dark themed makeup stylings.
Pictured: Sharon Needles
A pageant queen is a queen that thrives in the heat of competition. By taking drag to its extreme seriousness, these “ladies” invest everything (literally, thousands of dollars) to compete in competitions where only one lands on top. These beautiful ladies take “fish” to a whole new level. Because they are judged on every tiny detail, they keep their drag on point and extremely polished. They exceed in the dimension of elegance and fashion, employing elaborate jewelry and gowns to snatch the crown.
Pictured: Alyssa Edwards
Camp drag queens employ a drag aesthetic based on clown-like values, such as exaggeration, satire and ribaldry. These queens are sometimes known for being brutally honest, exhibiting insult comic-like techniques. Camp is not just a style, it’s a lifestyle. These queens tend to be very humorous in their every day lives, which might explain why their comedic delivery is so flawless.
Pictured: Bianca Del Rio
A transdrag queen is a queen that still performs as a drag queen although she has begun a gender transition from male to female. Although not all of these queens fully transition, many begin taking transitional steps to further their female look, including breast implants and growing out their hair.
A fluid queen is one who does not stick to one type of drag, rather, they use many influences that create a melting pot of techniques and styles to create their look or persona. These queens tend to be very versatile in performance and style.
Pictured: Paige Turner
A.K.A. “terrorist-drag,” tranimal drag deconstructs fashion and makeup, often using found objects, elements of surrealism and mixes of performance art, punk rock, racial and social issues. These drag queens often purposely use unkempt wigs and clothing. Most still hide male attributes, but don’t necessarily shave or tuck , creating a constant push and pull between the genders.
A queen or group of queens with a unifying identity and shtick, usually in order to perform a charitable and/or activist function in their communities. Many perform to raise funds for other charities, which may or many not be LGBT-related, and some even protest for LGBT and civil rights. The most well-known group among this style of drag includes the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Sisters), which have local chapters all over.
Some of the groups within this drag style, such as the Sisters, perform a quasi-spiritual function or act as social counselors, consciously reviving the ancient archetype of historical drag queens as shamans and spiritual functionaries. The common practice and aesthetic is flamboyance in service.
Pictured: Sister Roma
So, what’s your favorite style of drag?