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Updated on 1 Sep 2020. Posted on 3 Mar 2016

19 Secrets About Drag Queens You've Always Been Curious About

So many makeup tips.

BuzzFeed spoke with Charisma Belle, Courtney Act, and Tora Hymen about what it's like to be a drag queen.

1. Most drag queens take about two hours to get ready, and most of that time is spent on makeup.

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There's often a lot of body hair removal," says Charisma. "We're changing our faces completely and we're not using any of our actual features to create our drag looks. So it takes a while to get all of that perfected."

2. Most drag queens use stage makeup.

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"When you have a man's bone structure, you need that extra thickness to create the illusion," says Tora. So if you're looking to get the same coverage and staying power of drag makeup, you might need to look outside of Sephora.

3. Never underestimate the power of primer.


"Primer is a must have," says Charisma. "It creates a barrier so it protects your skin and the makeup stays on it."

4. And if you don't have makeup setting spray, hairspray works just as well.

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To keep you looking flawless all night long.

5. Always carry a powder compact with you.

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If you want your makeup to stay fresh all night, use powder whenever you see shine. "You remove your makeup with oil, so when your skin starts to get oily, it'll remove your makeup from the inside out," says Courtney. "You need to just keep powdering your face, especially the forehead, nose, and chin."

6. Don't wear lip gloss.

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Your hair will just stick to it. "Instead, put glitter on with eyelash glue. Put a touch of eyelash glue on your lips, and put good-quality craft glitter over the top. It dries hard but still looks shiny," says Tora.

7. Use oil to take off your makeup.

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Most drag queens use baby wipes, followed by baby oil, to take off all their makeup. You can also use coconut or olive oil. "I just pour coconut oil into my hand and rub it all over my face," says Courtney. "Then I wipe it off with a towel, and cleanse with warm water." This is especially good for hard-to-remove oil-based foundations.

8. Never put your false eyelash straight onto your eye.

"You put your eyelash glue on to the false eyelash, you pop it onto your eyelid where you know you want it to be, then remove it for about 10 seconds," says Charisma. "Then put it in place. It allows the glue to get tacky so once you pop it on it'll stay."

9. And try wearing more than one pair.

"We often put three or four pairs together for extra thickness," says Tora. "Stick all four pairs together, and then stick them to your eye in one hit."

"Always put your lashes on last. If you put them on any earlier, makeup gets all over them."

10. Remove stubborn eyelash glue with coconut oil.


If you have any glue left on your eyelids, use coconut oil on a cotton bud to clear it all up.

11. Most drag queens design their own outfits.

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Though often they'll get a sewer to make them. "You need to have a strong input because you have an image in your mind of what will go with your song and your shoes and your headdress," said Tora. "You need to achieve the look that you're looking for."

12. There's not as much bitchiness in the drag community as TV and movies would have you believe.

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"We put most of it on," says Charisma. "In any job that you do there's always going to be someone that you don't get along with or you don't like. And in this industry where there are limited jobs, of course sometimes, there is going to be some form of rivalry. But for the most part, we help each other out and we're all friends."

13. Only so long as you start from the bottom and work your way up.

Drag queens work really hard to get to a point where they get enough jobs. "You get a lot of new people who come in and think that they can have that straight away," says Tora. "As long as you're respectful of the people who come before you, and are thankful of the opportunity you're given and respectful of the hierarchy, you'll do just fine."

14. Drag ≠ Trans.

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"The general misconception is that drag queens want to be women," says Courtney.

"There is a definite difference between a man in a dress for entertainment value and creating a character, and someone who is genuinely questioning their gender in day-to-day life," says Charisma.

15. Drag queens live their day-to-day lives as males.

"Someone at an office will go home at the end of the day and take off their suit and tie," says Tora. "Drag queens go home at the end of the night and take off their makeup and dress and shoes and wig. We wear regular clothes just like everyone else."

16. Don't call a drag queen "bro".

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"When we're in drag and we're dressed as a woman, we want to get referred to with female pronouns," says Charisma. "It's annoying when people make a point of saying 'we know whats underneath that'."

17. It costs a lot of money to fund a drag wardrobe.


"For anyone starting drag, you have to be prepared for the fact that for the first few years, you're not going to be making any money," says Tora. "Every single cent is going back into doing it. You need to make sure you look good, and have a decent wardrobe, and buy makeup and wigs. A good wig is about $450, and new dress may cost about $350 to have it made properly. Then you need to buy stockings and jewellery and earrings and shoes. It takes a while to get to the point where you have enough drag jobs to support your career."

18. And there's a lot to learn.


"You initially have to really prove yourself and learn the craft, before you are taken seriously," says Charisma. "You have to learn the design and makeup, and learn the skills that are involved in becoming a professional queen. It's just like anything else. You don't become a doctor overnight."

19. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert isn't really accurate anymore.

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"When it was released, it was a great representation of what drag was at that point in time," says Charisma. "But now we have a much bigger variety of what drag is and can be."

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