How to Become a Drag Queen

Drag queen at Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Mariana Coan/

Drag queens (or female impersonators) are men who generally wear exaggerated female clothing and accessories, often performing in nightclubs, entertaining at social events, entering beauty pageants or simply assuming another identity. Personality and larger-than-life qualities certainly give drag queens an edge, as some have become household names, including Dame Edna Everage, Divine, Amanda Lepore and RuPaul.

Pick a name. Drag queens often use satirical plays on words to shape an identity. For example, "Misty Meaner" may take on the persona of an erotic officer. Allow your drag queen name to represent your attributes or traits, like "Bubbles," "Blue Eyes," "Princess" or "Spoiled Rotten." Many drag queens simply feminize their real name -- "Jon" may become "Jonetta."

Choose a persona. Before entering the physical transformation to become a drag queen, visual direction and inspiration are a must. Some drag queens choose extreme exaggeration and comedy (almost in a clown-like manner) as part of their persona, while others become fashionistas that showcase elaborate gowns and jewelry. Another common approach is to impersonate specific celebrities and divas, such as Madonna, Cher, Marilyn Monroe and Dolly Parton.

Select a wig. Choosing the best-fitting and realistic wigs can pose a challenge. Sticking with tones closer to your natural hair coloring is one of the safest ways for beginners to become a drag queen. Gradually experiment with different wig colors, multi-tones and highlights. It's often recommended to choose wigs with synthetic fibers over human hair to decrease the level of maintenance. In addition to full wigs, drag queens may also use other hair pieces, such as wiglets, clip-ons, extensions and cascades, to add length, body and to achieve different hairstyles.

Get comfortable with typical women's clothing and accessories. To become a drag queen, you must familiarize yourself with the art of transforming into a woman. False eyelashes, hair clips, pantyhose and undergarments (such as corsets and bras) are commonplace. Experiment with silicon breast forms, implant holders, cosmetics, taping pecs closer together using medical tape and push-up bras for cleavage enhancement. Since height naturally encourages people to take notice, wear heels to lengthen your body and create an eye-catching appearance that calls attention to your overall look.

Shave. To become a drag queen, a close shave on the face and body hair removal--including arms, legs and armpits--will enhance your appearance as a woman. Find a hair removal cream that doesn't irritate the skin to avoid the rashes, bumps and ingrown hairs of constant shaving.

Learn how to apply make-up. Use cosmetics and theatrical make-up to soften your face, draw attention to your best features and elevate your drag queen persona. Bold lip colors and eyeliners help downplay features such as a strong jaw line. Become familiar with typical procedures of applying and blending concealers, foundation, eye shadow, mascara and lip pencils. Read beauty magazines to learn the latest trends, products and application techniques.

Dress to impress. Use your chosen persona as a guide when choosing a drag queen wardrobe. Browse the women's section in clothing stores to gain inspiration. Pay special attention to skirts, dresses and ball gowns. Over-the-top personalities may want to browse drag costumes designed for men. Accessories also enhance the look of a drag queen, such as feathered boas, tiaras, fake nails and formal gloves.


  • If you have long legs, choose big hairstyles to balance out the proportions of your body.

    If you are interested in performing as a drag queen, contact local bars that have sponsored drag shows or beauty pageants in the past.


  • Because some male body parts are hard to disguise when wearing a dress, purchase a gaff (similar to thong underwear), which is designed to create a clean line and hide male genitals.

    Invest in several pairs of high-heeled shoes, but do not venture into public until you have practiced how to properly walk, including going up and down stairs.