Five Chicago drag queens posing against vibrant backgrounds. From left to right: The first queen is in a blonde wig and a pink bow dress with a sweetheart neckline, the second sports a voluminous red hairdo with a sparkly red outfit, the third queen strikes a pose in a sleek black wig and a hot pink dress with a high slit, the fourth is adorned in a colorful, feathery ensemble suggesting a fantasy creature, and the fifth queen presents a classic look with a blue gown and a tiara, channeling traditional pageant elegance. Each queen showcases their unique style and personality.

Chicago drag queens and kings embody a rich spectrum of artistry, activism, and community, with deep roots, tracing back to the historic 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. During its earliest days, underground balls and speakeasies served as safe havens for drag performers and LGBTQ+ people in the Windy City.

Over the decades, the drag scene has evolved dramatically, paralleling shifts in societal attitudes toward gender and sexuality. Today, Chicago stands as a beacon of drag excellence, home to a diverse array of performers who challenge and redefine the boundaries of gender expression.

The essence of Chicago’s drag scene

Historical venues like the Baton Show Lounge, which has been entertaining Chicagoans and visitors alike for over 50 years, serve as pillars of the drag community, providing a stage for performers to showcase their talents and for audiences to gather in celebration of diversity and creativity.

Newer-comers like The River and Splash and other staples including Lips, Kit Kat Lounge, Roscoe’s, Hydrate, and Sidetrack continue to draw crowds and create lasting memories in the city’s vibrant LGBTQ+ scene.

Meet the drag queens and kings of Chicago

The faces behind Chicago drag offer their own unique flair and style and reflect the diversity of the city itself. Here are some standout drag queens and kings making waves:

Lucy Stoole

Lucy is not just a Black, bearded drag queen; she’s a beacon of inclusivity and fun in the Chicago drag scene. Every themed drag brunch she hosts is infused with her unique blend of warmth, humor, and a dash of rebellion, making each moment unforgettable.


Tenderoni is a drag king who brings a unique blend of old-school cool and modern flair to the stage, captivating audiences with his dynamic performances. He’s not just revisiting the golden era of disco and hip-hop; he’s redefining it for a new generation.

Bambi Banks-Couleé

Bambi’s performances captivate with a mesmerizing fusion of grace, power, and pure talent. From avant-garde looks to flawless makeup, she illuminates the stage, embodying drag essence with every step, leaving audiences in awe.

Mimi Marks

Mimi, a legendary icon of glamour and elegance in Chicago, brings the sparkle of classic showgirl magic to life in her performances. Not a drag queen but a trans beauty queen, performer, and staple of Northalsted, she dazzles and inspires, reminding us all of the timeless beauty and resilience of the drag art form.

Veronica Pop

Veronica, a Mexican drag artist with over a decade of experience, infuses every room with vibrant energy and dazzling performances. Her vibrant energy and commitment to entertaining and engaging with her audience is what makes her shows truly pop.

Batty Davis

Batty, with her unique blend of mysterious elegance and fierce fashion, turns every performance into an unforgettable experience. Her ability to combine camp with attitude, along with her rollerskating and bingo skills, is a testament to her undeniable talent.

Ari Gato

Ari’s performances are a thrilling showcase of her versatility and creativity. Whether she’s singing, dancing, or acting, she brings a level of excellence and excitement to the stage that is truly her own.


JForPay’s standout style and design skills shine in her performances, making an enchanting show experience. Not only does she excel in blending fashion with drag artistry for herself, but she also designs looks for other queens, showcasing her unique voice and perspective.

Kimberly Summer

Kimberly slays with fierce looks and a beat that matches! Hosting Disney Drag Bingo, drag brunch, and other events around the city, her welcoming spaces set her performances apart, making everyone feel the magic!

Kara Mel D’Ville

Kara Mel, with her boldly bearded looks and even bolder performances, challenges and delights in equal measure. Her presence on stage really commands the crowd.

Luc Ami

Luc Ami is an “Alien Drag Deity” who infuses boundless energy into the drag king scene. He hosts a weekly open stage that welcomes drag performers of all experience levels while captivating audiences with their own charisma and uniqueness.

Gina Belle

Gina lets her artistry speak for itself. Each of her performances is a masterclass in humor, class, and sass, captivating audiences with her depth and talent.

Alex Kay

Alex dazzles on stage with her glamorous looks, exuding foxy Kim Petras vibes through vibrant performances. Her shows are guaranteed to be a fun time.

Chamilla Foxx

Chamilla enchants with her sophistication and captivating performances, each moment on stage a testament to her artistry and dedication to the craft of drag.

Venus Carangi

Venus, with her custom creations and breathtaking looks, crafts more than just fashion; she crafts dreams. Each performance is a window into her incredible talent and imagination. She captivated audiences on Season 1 of Revry’s Drag Latina competition.

Vanity Unfair

Embracing the retro vibes of the 80s and 90s, Vanity has emerged as a key influencer in Chicago’s drag scene. Drawing inspiration from diverse avenues and relishing in nostalgia across decades, she effortlessly blends the classic with the contemporary on stage, epitomizing the unique fashion and nightlife essence of the Windy City.

Kitty Banks

Kitty is another Chicago drag superstar, scooping up the Best Dancer at the 2023 Gaggy Awards with performances that blend high-octane acrobatics with runway-ready looks. She’s more than just a performer; she’s a pillar of support and mentorship within the LGBTQ+ community as a dragmother to others, spreading love and wisdom in the community.

Mz. Ruff N Stuff

Mz. Ruff N Stuff is another iconic Chicago beauty queen, who’s been slaying the Windy City for two decades. Whether she’s cracking jokes, hosting events or showing off her impressive seamstress skills, she’s guaranteed to make you laugh.

Sofonda Booz

Sofonda, the queen of the party, mixes humor, camp, and a splash of glam to create unforgettable experiences. Her commitment to entertaining and engaging her audience is what makes every show and game night she hosts a hit.

Chilli Pepper

A true mother, Chilli Pepper is a renowned drag icon, who has used her platform to advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and promote diversity. She has been a Chicago institution since being crowned the first Miss Continental in 1980.

Robyn Banks

Robyn, as Miss Roscoe’s Drag Race 2024, not only captures the crown but the hearts of everyone who watches her perform. Her blend of high fashion and high energy makes every appearance a royal affair.

Merriam Levkowitz

Merriam, the drag scene’s darling bubbie, mixes humor, warmth, and wisdom like no other. Her performances are a heartwarming blend of storytelling and song, enveloping audiences in a hug of humor and humanity.

Help us spotlight more drag stars!

It’s clear that the Windy City is bursting with creativity, charisma, and unparalleled performance art. But in a city so rich with talent, we know more stars are waiting in the wings, ready to sashay into the spotlight. That’s where you come in! Did we miss your favorite Chicago drag queens or kings? Are you in a city that’s got some iconic drag talent that also deserves to be seen?

Fill out this short Google form and tell us why they (or you!) should be featured in this or our next city spotlight. Whether they’re a local legend, a rising star, or a hidden gem, we’re eager to celebrate the diversity and artistry of drag performers across the country.

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