How to be a Drag Queen

Words of wisdom from drag artists

 

Ok, so I’m making to push towards performing as a drag artist. I started thinking about it back in 2010 but it was one of those things I regrettable never did at the time. Now I’m looking at ways to go about it. I’ve had a make- up lesson from Jenny Wave, (see photoshoot post) and started burlesque courses at Mizz Twisted Cherry Studios with a Great Gatsby theme routine. And of course I’ve watched countless you tube videos and read up on everything I can find to give me advice and tips. I’ve even started my own Facebook page under the name Cherry Ade in order to start pushing myself out there.
But I figured the best place to get some advice is from some of the drag artists I know and so I asked some of them, what is the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone trying to become a drag artist?”
The first person I turned to was my close friend Miss Felicia, a drag queen for over ten years, bringing her own version of drag race to Gloucester, discovering Misty Monique and thus being the originator of what would eventually become Drag Wars. She now lives and performs regularly at the Golden Cross, Cardiff and has her own Christmas shoe coming up. What did she have to say?

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“Don’t be me.” Maybe meant as more of a joke but still solid advice. One of the things that I’ve found with drag is that the performances and the styles vary greatly. Miss Felicia, Luna Lakes and Isabell End are all very different. I’d love to be able to sing as well as Felicia or dance and look as gorgeous as Luna. And as much as I love Doctor Who Isabell has already scared a number of Daleks in her performance. So simply copying my friend isn’t a great move. What I need to do is to find the persona that suits me that I feel comfortable with. What kind of person is Cherry?
I turned next to Misty Monique. The host of Oh My Drag and Drag Wars at the Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham. She is someone who had helped other drag artists get a chance and recently won a ‘We Are One’ Awards Young Adult Upstander Award, (which I’m really pleased about as I was one of the people who nominated her. Misty also puts on another show. Flock aimed and new artists to get a chance to perform, something to keep my eye on in the future.

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Misty gave me this advice: “my advice would be to research, go online, go on youtube etc. The internet is a fantastic resource for learning the basics of drag. Get to know your local scene and ask those involved for tips etc, but don’t be reliant on having a ‘drag mother’ to teach you everything – you learn so much more without one. Don’t use drag race as your only resource – you will find out so much more by going to local shows”
Along with the Oh My Drag shows in Cheltenham I’ve also visited The Golden Cross in Cardiff. Along with guest artists at both these events and Drag Wars this has allowed me to see a great variety or acts. Most of the artists I have spoken to at these events have been friendly and helpful. I’ve helped Miss Felicia behind stage at the final of Drag Wars this year and will be working backstage at Miss Felicia’s show at Christmas all of which has given me a chance to learn a lot. Even after a year or so of working towards this goal I’m still find stuff on the net.

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Luna Lakes: my advice would be to make sure you do drag for yourself first, always! As a movement, drag is all about non-conforming and embracing the weird, wacky and wonderful parts of self-exploration and it’s crucial you remember that. More often than not, you will find there are people both within and outside of the community that will try to police or censor you on how you should express yourself, but just remember that drag is yours to enjoy, and finding what drag means to you is the key part of the experience. All art is subjective and unique, and drag is art, so don’t dull your shine by sticking to any ideals and traditions thrown your way when presenting yourself as a drag artist. The biggest gratification you get from drag is a pat on the back from yourself! Once you have that, you’ll be ready to conquer the world! ”
I’ve been questioning why I want to do drag. I just really want to do it, I’m not thinking about it as a way to earn extra money and I’m not after fame. To me it feels like a way to express myself, to feel a part of something. It certainly isn’t because it’s easy. I’ve learnt there is a lot of hard work involved. I did my first performance in drag at the end of my first burlesque course this week and despite the practise I put in I forgot the routine half way through and struggled, luckily it was only in front of the rest of the class but it would have been nice to watch the video with pride and not notice all the mistakes. I still take pride in the fact that I got up there and did it though and at times when I did mess up the moves I was able to improvise. And while my performance was lacking I did have plenty of good responses to my drag. I overcame my anxiety at doing it and I think I can pat myself on the back for that.

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This also feeds into the advice I got from Isabell End. “I think my main advice would be to enjoy yourself, however the performance is going. The audience love it when you’re having fun and engaging them ”
Despite my mistakes and my panic over doing the routine I loved it. I felt relieved when it was over but I enjoyed doing it. It felt like an achievement and I got a good response from the class.
So to reiterate. Try not to copy another artist and to find myself. Find out how to express myself and don’t let anyone else chance that. But at the same time take time to research and get advice and tips from others. Above all enjoy myself when performance regardless of how it’s going and just try to entertain the audience.

I’m ready for the next time which is in eight weeks’ time with a Rocky Horror Show theme. Yes I was pleased with my makeup this time but there is still a lot to learn and to practice and this time I will put even more practice time in on the routine. The goal is to perform at the Mizz Twisted Cherry Showcase next year. I have song in mind and the first ideas of a routine. Hopefully by next year Cherry Ade will be performing.

 

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As these Queens helpped me out with their advice for this post:

Miss Felicia’s show, Applause: A Christmas Special is on Friday 20th December at Rhiwbina Memorial Hall, Cardiff. Tickets available from;

http://www.ticketlab.co.uk/events/applause?fbclid=IwAR24qm-M_w9o357EcoQyTxpcP60r17Dr1V-UtsgTUM9wtn-3rCT2xpJp8tk

Misty Monique will be at Flock Vol 2 at The Sober Parrot, Cheltenham and Oh My Drag: Nightmare on Elf Street is at the Frog and Fiddle on 7th Dec. Ticket available here;

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/487256?fbclid=IwAR0GTUrxlzv_eZ2uMQEOtT99Flxjsbg6pn-F67E5_Fwbxva3bckmIHd0Pbk

You can also catch Luna Lakes and Isabell End at Oh My Drag. If you want more Luna, she is also performing along side Lilly Love at the Little Vic, Stroud for the next three Tuesdays (7th, 14th & 21st with their Drag Race UK Viewing Extravaganza.

 

OMD – AN X-RATED XMAS

“IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAS.”
And that means one thing. The event I have been looking forward to for months even more then Christmas dinner with my family. Yes it’s time for The Luna Lakes Show.
“Wait, what?……… Oh right. Ok sorry. It’s time for….

MISTY MONIQUE’S OH MY DRAG PRESENTS – AN X-RATED XMAS SHOW

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Back in Cheltenham at the Frog and Fiddle for this amazing show starring five great drag artists. One of the best highlights was that Miss Felicia was added to the line-up after I’d brought my ticket so for me it’s was a case of icing on top of the cake. On top of this Misty actually asked if I was going to write this review as she had loved the last one. I had already planned to but it gave my confidence a great boost to be asked so thanks Misty. We’ll get to the acts in a minute but let’s start at the beginning of the night.
I needed to drop a present off for Miss Felicia, she has been so supportive of me with things over the last year I needed to say thank you. I had hoped to give the present to one of the staff to take through for me. No, Instead I actually got taken backstage where Felicia introduced me to the rest of performers. Suddenly being in the presence of so many artists that I admire, I must admit I got a little tongue tied and probably bright red which is not the best when you have ginger hair. So much for that new confidence. However it was one of the highlights of the night and just a note to future me… ‘If you are ever asked to hang out backstage again do it you bloody moron.’ Anyway back to the show.
Whereas Drag Wars allowed some of the drag artists who were judging the competition a little time to perform it was mainly about finding a new Drag Queen, tonight we got full sets out of the artists involved and Misty had put together a line up where every artist was different to each other. Let’s start with Isabell End, last year’s Drag Wars winner.

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She performed a little at the final of Drag Race but tonight I felt I was seeing the real Isabell End. She is what I would consider a traditional Drag Queen taking us through some familiar Christmas tunes even if the words were different and, how should I put it, not exactly child friendly. Ok they were as blue as the Tardis on my Christmas jumper. And I’ll never be able to look at my R/C Dalek in the same way again after what she did with one on stage tonight. But she got the crowd singing along, was extremely dirty and above all very fun to watch. The first part of her act she was very Kate Bush so it came as no surprise that one of her numbers was Wuthering Heights, a brilliant performance.

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Now let’s talk about my friend, Miss Felicia. Of course I’m going to heap on the praise here but rightly so. When I told her that I’d be writing this review I told her that she would be fabulous tonight and or course I was right. Her style is very much in line with Lady Gaga only with a bit more humour thrown in. Vary adaptable to any hiccups that comes along and very quick with the retorts as well. But she also did two rather nice and meaningful songs that were very personal to her. A slight insight to this performer that it just made my estimation of her raise up a few more notches.

Oedipussi Rex. I just don’t know what to say here. Ok I’ve seen a few drag artists but I have never seen an act like this. The first part of the act was a pseudo magic act, swallowing light up fire wands and blowing glitter over the audience and using fairy lights in a way I’d never imagine. Having travelled all the way from London to do this show I felt we were in for something special and I wasn’t wrong. The barbarian show that she did for her second act was funny, inventive and as far as I know totally original.

So that’s the guest artists out of the way lets go for our two hosts. Of course we have the talented and gorgeous Luna Lakes.

 

At one stage during her act she came up close to me, I felt like a rabbit caught in headlights and I forgot how to breath. She’s hot (literally apparently as Misty says she sweats more than meat on a barbie during a heatwave)
But who can blame her with the amount of energy she puts into her routines dancing around the stage. All joking aside I love her act. She has great comic timing, her lip sync is spot on. Her look is flawless. Luna as a character is so believable. If I could become a drag artist myself I’d probably be in the same vain as Miss Felicia, Isabell End and Msdemeamer. That’s the type of personality I have but in my heart I would love to look and perform just like Luna.

As for the chemistry between Misty and Luna, which I mentioned in the Drag Wars post, it truly is something special to see these two together. If Dec ever follows Ant out of the jungle then these two should be the new hosts of I’m a celebrity. No scratch that. If the rumours of Ru Paul bringing Drag Race to the UK is true let him stay in America and let Misty and Luna host it. Watching her and Luna together performing Santa Baby was definitely high on my list of favourite parts of the night.

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Finally let’s talk about our host then. The equally talented Misty Monique. She has a fantastic presence on the stage weather its introducing the acts or performing and it’s not just down to the outfits she wears. But that’s not the great thing about her. This is the sixth show she has put on this year and three of those would be Drag Wars which in itself must be a phenomenal amount of work. She has to put in so much time and effort into this. Tonight’s show was on the whole amazing. Yes there were a few unrehearsed moments such as the final number of Last Christmas with all five artists. You’d think one of them might actually have known the words to the verses. But really this just added to the fun of the night. Add in a quick lip sync battle between three of the audience about half way through, of which I was too terrified to volunteer then jealous that I didn’t (bear in mind a, I was on soft drinks and b, probably would have emptied the room)
I can’t level one bit of criticism at this show. The audience loved it. I loved it. The atmosphere was great and if I do nothing else this Christmas I don’t care because this was the best thing about Christmas this year. And the artists are so friendly, the nicest people on this planet.
Not only can I not wait for next year’s Christmas show but I can hardly wait until February for Misty’s next show. I’m hooked. Happy Christmas everybody.

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Ok I think that’s good enough, Can I get some free tickets now Misty? Misty? Misty?

Links to these fabulous artists because they deserve recognition. Also I must make a small correction to the above. I have since been informed that Isabell End is also a residential act and not a guest. Which is great cause I’ll get more chance to see her perform again.

https://www.facebook.com/themistymonique/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/Miss-Felicia-215562955978/

https://www.facebook.com/delunasional/

https://www.facebook.com/BellEnd17/

https://www.facebook.com/oedipussi.rex.9