A drag queen is a person, traditionally male, who dresses in drag and often acts with exaggerated femininity and in female gender roles. Often they will exaggerate certain characteristics such as make-up and eyelashes for comic, dramatic or satirical effect. While drag is very much associated with gay men and gay culture there are drag artists of all genders and sexualities. There are many kinds of drag artists and they vary greatly in dedication, from professionals who have starred in films to people who just try it once. Drag queens can vary by class and culture.
There are many reasons people do drag including self-expression, performing and entertaining. Drag can be a creative outlet, a means of self-exploration, and a way to make cultural statements. Typical drag queen activities include lip-synching performances, live singing, dancing, participating in events such as gay pride parades, drag pageants, or at venues such as cabarets and discotheques. Some drag artists also engage in mix-and-mingle or hosting work in night clubs, and at private parties and events.
I have spend some time doing drag and around drag queens and I’ve learned a lot about the process of transformation that they go through and all the tricks that help them to look like women. Some of them do such a good job that it is hard to guess that they are actually men…
the fabulous Kenneth Blake
The process of getting into drag or into character can take hours. It use to take me about three hours to get ready. A drag queen may aim for a certain style, celebrity impression, or message with their look. Hair, make-up, and costumes are the most important essentials for drag queens.
As a form of art, much work and creativity is put into transforming into a drag queen. Applying makeup is essential in order to achieve a more feminine look. Foundation helps to create a clean canvas by covering all wrinkles, flaws, and blemishes. Once the clean canvas is created, eye shadow will be added to eyes for an dramatic look. Drag queens use a lot of eyelashes to give the eyes a more intense look. Layering different colors of eye shadows, bronzers, and blush is used in creating the finished face of a drag queen. Since most drag queens are men, contouring is very important in creating high cheekbones and a slimmer face, as well as creating a smaller structured nose. Many drag queens often wear wigs or hairpieces. A costume is also needed. Depending on the event and the look that each drag queen is going for, the costumes can consist of, for example, a sparkling sequin dress, a leopard body suit, or a fur coat. Drag queens tend to go for a more exaggerated look with a lot more makeup than a typical feminine woman would wear. But I think Noxzema Jackson from too Wong Foo summed up the definition best-
"A drag queen is a person with WAY TO MUCH fashion sense for one sex!"