I love all things drag queen. If there is a movie with queens in it, I will rent it. If there is a TV show about queens competing (gasp!) I’ll watch it. Now there is a show about queens making over real women. I WANT TO BE ON IT!
I first heard about RuPaul’s Drag Race from Henry Rollins. Yes, that Henry Rollins. I saw him on a spoken word tour and he talked of his experience as a judge on the show. I’m not a big fan of reality shows. But I thought, if it has queens and Henry Rollins, how bad can it be? Now, I am completely hooked.
The funny thing about Drag Race is that some of the queens I like better in the workroom (as men) than I do on the runway (as women). Some of them I like better on the runway. Weird, huh? For example, I love Willam Belli when he’s in drag. His character is hilarious. She is alternately vapid and razor sharp. Willam Belli the man comes across vain and mean. I love Chad Michaels in drag. Chad out of drag is boring. But, the winner of Season 4, Sharon Needles is the opposite. I love Needles in the workroom. He’s funny and smart. Needles on the runway is stupid. She even describes herself as stupid. Beautiful, but stupid. Stupid is not entertaining. Stupid does not take any effort. Of course, I love the grand dame of all queens RuPaul herself.
There is so much effort and art that goes into drag. I am mesmerized by their talent with makeup and design. Also, it is not lost on me the irony involved in queens teaching real women how to be women again. It sort of supports a sexist ideal. But, at the same time, I feel that it sort of reclaims some of the power of being feminine that so many of us lose. There is power in being fierce and serving up some curvy realness. There is power in the confidence it takes to stomp the runway in three inch platforms and a five pound wig.