Building Your Persona
A huge part of being a drag performer is understanding your persona. The presence you bring through your makeup, on the stage and on the runway says a lot about who you are and what people can expect from you. Many queens pull from the icons (past and present), from things that inspire them or from personas they find not represented in the drag world in order to create their character. Below are some examples of what inspires both renowned and local queens.
“I saw Bebe Zahara Benet and I saw a reflection of myself in Bebe. This beautiful black who was a beautiful black woman.” - Bob the Drag Queen, Season 8 Winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race
“I have a ton of inspirations. I love period pieces, any era where there was ever any ounce of glamour.”- Violet Chachki, Season 7 Winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race
“Being Chinese American has affected my identity formation. Throughout my life, there were just not that many Asian American icons to look up to. And a lot of the icons I did look up to who were Asian American, like Lucy Liu, for example; were women.”- Panda Duce
“The ones that inspired me-was the first time I saw RuPaul’s Drag Race and saw Nina Flowers for the first time. I liked being out in the clubs and to dance, and Nina Flowers is very much of a club kid that can do a pageant look but also can do something avant garde and different. The next one is Latrice Royale. She can dance and she’s a big girl. I like to see people that break the standards.”-Coco Sho-nell, Chicago Drag Queen
“I am a witch, so I bring the witchy-ness. I always loved the crazy witchy-ness of movies and tv shows and thought ‘wow, you all think we’re that fierce, people?!’ A lot of Alexis is a little bit of Endora, Sabrina... fabulous outfits and little bit outside-the-box. “- Alexis Hex, Chicago Drag Queen
You’re persona is how you brand yourself in the drag community. Having assurance in how you describe yourself is key to building your confidence as a performer. It is also essential to be able to communicate who you are in a concise manner. The more specific about each aspect of your persona you are, the easier it will be to figure out how to brand yourself.
“I am Alexis Hex. I am the resident witch to the Call Bar and I bring a little bit of hex appeal to whatever I do”- Alexis Hex, Chicago Drag Queen.
“My name is Yekaterina Petrovna Zamolodchikova, but you can call me Katya. I”m just your average, run-of-the-mill Russian bisexual transvestite hooker”- Katya, Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 7
“Latrice Royale is large and in charge, chunky yet funky, bold and beautiful baby”- Latrice Royale, Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 4
“I’m Jujubee: I love long walks on the beach, big ******, and fried chicken”- Jujubee, Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 2
Try it Yourself!
Now start building your own persona. What influences you and how do you make your mark in the world and be legendary? Try filling out this character profile worksheet to get you started.
Persona (i.e. fierce party queen, sexy Muppet, etc...):___________________________________
Name (i.e. Alyssa Edwards): _________________________________________
How old is your character?:_______________
When is their birthdate?:__________
Where were they born?:__________________________
What is their nationality?:_________________________
Where do they live?:_______________________________________
Are they single? Married? For how long?: __________________________________
Do they have pets? How many and what kind?_____________________________
Is your character a Leader? Follower? Rebel?:__________________________________
Fundamental beliefs: _____________________________________________________
Are they an introvert? Extrovert?___________________________________________
Type of outfit?:___________________________________________________________
If you fill out this sheet for your drag persona, and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org, you will get 50 points.