What You Need
The 11 Most Common Styles of Drag
Faux or Bio Queen
The term ‘faux queen’ is used to describe a drag queen that is is a biological female. These days, the term is used very loosely because it can have two separate meanings that might vary depending on where you live. I have also heard a faux queen being referred to as a genderfuck queen.
Androgyny / Genderfuck
This type of drag queen is also known as an “anti-queen,” using a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. These queens tend to be very artistic, with constant blurs of gender boundaries. They are sexually ambiguous with fashion, gender identity, sexual identity, and/or sexual lifestyle.
This type of queen takes pride in looking like an authentic woman; they want to look as close to the real thing as possible. Coming beat to the gods and padded down serving body, these ladies give you real day to day whoa-man! They are known for being very polished and they take their drag very seriously, sometimes throwing shade at the types of drag they don’t represent.
A club queen is a queen that either comes from the 1980s/1990s NYC club kid scene or has drawn inspiration for their drag persona from there. They are known for slaying “Drag Balls,” with fierce yet sometimes outrageous fashion and unique make-up techniques.
A goth queen is exactly how it sounds: dark and gloomy! This type of queen thrives off of creating looks inspired by classic goth and horror films. You won’t see an eclectic group of colors in this queens closet… it’s all black! Most tend to do white face and very dark themed makeup stylings.
A pageant queen is a queen that thrives in the heat of competition. By taking drag to its extreme seriousness, these “ladies” invest everything (literally, thousands of dollars) to compete in competitions where only one lands on top. These beautiful ladies take “fish” to a whole new level. Because they are judged on every tiny detail, they keep their drag on point and extremely polished. They exceed in the dimension of elegance and fashion, employing elaborate jewelry and gowns to snatch the crown.
Camp drag queens employ a drag aesthetic based on clown-like values, such as exaggeration, satire and ribaldry. These queens are sometimes known for being brutally honest, exhibiting insult comic-like techniques. Camp is not just a style, it’s a lifestyle. These queens tend to be very humorous in their every day lives, which might explain why their comedic delivery is so flawless.
A transdrag queen is a queen that still performs as a drag queen although she has begun a gender transition from male to female. Although not all of these queens fully transition, many begin taking transitional steps to further their female look, including breast implants and growing out their hair.
A fluid queen is one who does not stick to one type of drag, rather, they use many influences that create a melting pot of techniques and styles to create their look or persona. These queens tend to be very versatile in performance and style.
A.K.A. “terrorist-drag,” tranimal drag deconstructs fashion and makeup, often using found objects, elements of surrealism and mixes of performance art, punk rock, racial and social issues. These drag queens often purposely use unkempt wigs and clothing. Most still hide male attributes, but don’t necessarily shave or tuck , creating a constant push and pull between the genders.
A queen or group of queens with a unifying identity and shtick, usually in order to perform a charitable and/or activist function in their communities. Many perform to raise funds for other charities, which may or many not be LGBT-related, and some even protest for LGBT and civil rights. The most well-known group among this style of drag includes the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Sisters), which have local chapters all over.
Some of the groups within this drag style, such as the Sisters, perform a quasi-spiritual function or act as social counselors, consciously reviving the ancient archetype of historical drag queens as shamans and spiritual functionaries. The common practice and aesthetic is flamboyance in service.
Drag culture has its own vocabulary. In the paperback and ebook versions of Fiercely You, drag terms are italicized on their first usage in the text and readers can find their definitions in the Glossary of Drag Terms at the end of the book. For our audio book listeners, we include the Glossary here so you can look up the terms.
Beating your face: To apply the perfect amount of makeup on the face, resulting in a flawless look, i.e., “her face is beat for the gods.”
Busted (adj.): the act of appearing to be unkempt, messy, unrefined, unpolished, or poorly presented.
Bye Felicia: An expression used to dismiss someone. This person is usually irrelevant and annoying. The term is a reference from the film Friday.
Clock (v.): (a) To spot what someone is trying to hide; (b) to call out a person’s flaws; (c) to uncover or reveal the truth in a situation. For example, “You cannot clock that mug,” or “Phi Phi clocked Willam for his five o’clock shadow.”
Condragulations: The drag queen version of “congratulations.”
Death drop (n.): A fall, drop, or descent backward onto one’s back with one’s leg folded underneath, in dramatic style. Usually part of a dance routine. This move is part of the voguing style of dance.
Drag daughter (n.): See Drag mother.
Drag mother (n.): Also drag daughter, drag family. An experienced drag performer who acts as a mentor and guide to someone who wants to learn the art of drag. Often, the new drag queen, who is referred to as the drag mother’s drag daughter, takes the last name of her drag mother to pay homage to her. A drag family is made up of a drag mother and all of her drag daughters.
Dusted (adj.): The act of looking polished, flawless, or perfect. The opposite of “busted.”
Feeling the fantasy: The giddy feeling you get when you absolutely love what you are doing in a particular moment.
For the gods (adv.): Abbreviated use of the phrase “fit for the gods,” used to qualify an act done perfectly or flawlessly—e.g., (a) “Her face is painted for the gods,” (b) “That dress is clinging to her like a second skin because it is tailored for the gods.”
Gag (v.): To react intensely, usually as a result of shock; may also be used as an exclamation—e.g., “I am gagging on that three-foot-high wig!”
Giving me life: A phrase that shows how much you enjoy something.
The house down: Another term used for an exclamation point at the end of a sentence to indicate how extra fabulous something is—e.g., “Kennedy is dancing the house down.” Another usage is the house-down boots.
Hunty (n.): A contraction of the terms “honey” and “cunt,” used as a term of endearment among drag queens.
Kai kai (n.): The circumstance in which two drag queens engage in sexual activity in drag. Not to be confused with kiki.
Kiki (n.): A term used for gossip, small talk, chatting, or a heart-to-heart.
Let them have it!: A phrase that refers to impressing people with your fabulous drag.
The library is open: A phrase announcing that a queen is about to share some criticisms about another person or queen. These criticisms are known as reads. See Reading.
Mug (n.): A queen’s face.
No tea, no shade: A phrase meaning “No disrespect.”
Paint (v.): To apply makeup to one’s face—e.g., “It takes two hours to paint my mug.”
Reading (v.): To wittily and incisively expose a person’s flaws (e.g., “read them like a book”), o en exaggerating or elaborating on them; an advanced form of the insult. Another usage is to read someone to filth, which just means that you are being extra nasty with your insults.
Realness (n.): A likeness that is deemed to be as close as possible to a specific category or genre—e.g., “She is serving warrior princess realness.”
Serve (v.): To present oneself in a certain way. See Realness.
Shade (n.): The casting of aspersions. A form of insult. Subtly pointing out a person’s aws or faults. Derived from the term “reading”—e.g., “I don’t tell you you’re ugly, but I don’t have to tell you because you know you’re ugly,” a quote from the movie Paris Is Burning.
Shady (adj.): Possessing a blunt and insulting manner.
Sickening (adj.): Incredibly amazing; excessively hot.
Slay (v.): To achieve something spectacular. Sometimes also written as slay the children with the same meaning.
Tea (n.): A back-formation from the letter T for “truth”; refers to gossip, news, information, or true facts, e.g., “What’s the tea?”
Throwing shade: The act of criticism delivered in a blunt and insulting manner, e.g., “Tyra was throwing shade at the other queens on the show.”
Tuck (v.): To arrange one’s male genitalia in a way that they are not visible so that one resembles a woman; (n.) the result of a man containing his genitalia (typically with duct tape and multiple pairs of pantyhose) so that they are not visible.
Turn the party: To captivate, enthrall, and overwhelm an audience with one’s fabulosity.
Werk (v.): (a) A term meaning to “work your body”; (b) to strut, especially on the runway; (c) to give an outstanding presentation.