Pride Month is winding down- parades are over, and celebrations of the LGBTQ community and its myriad contributions are beginning to tapering off. In this twilight, let's dedicate time to learning more about some of the most vibrant and ground-breaking members of this group: the drag queens. Here are three drag performers you should know:
Dame Edna Everage is a character created and performed by Australian comedian Barry Humphries. Known for her “wisteria hue” hair, cat-eye glasses ( or “face furniture”), and biting social commentary, the character grew from impressions of non-plussed Australian suburbanites Humphries developed to entertain fellow actors in the touring Union Theatre Repertory Company. Over fifty years Edna has evolved from a drab Melbourne housewife into a Dame replete with outlandish dress and a huge media presence; her ability to lampoon the cult of celebrity, class snobbery and prudishness on stage and screen remains constant. Notably, she has performed on Broadway, in London and for the Royal Family.
Humphries and staff keep character and performer completely separate; the team believes precision allowed a rich character to develop and succeed across cultures, paving the way for diverse performers like Rupaul and Conchita.
RuPaul Andre Charles is an American drag queen and artist best known for RuPaul’s Drag Race (the Emmy-Award winning show he hosts and produces). Born and raised in San Diego, RuPaul studied performing arts in Atlanta and then moved to New York City, quickly becoming a popular fixture in the local nightclub scene. His rise to fame was marked by the 1993 release of “Supermodel (You Better Work)”; soon after, he became a spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics (the first drag queen to land a major cosmetics campaign). RuPaul is noted for indifference to gender-specific pronouns, "You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don't care! Just as long as you call me." In 2017, RuPaul was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People.
Conchita (formerly known as Conchita Wurst) is the stage persona of Austrian singer, recording artist and drag queen Thomas Neuwirth. Neuwirth studied fashion, appeared on Starmania (an Austrian casting show), and was a founding member of the boy band Jetzt Anders! before beginning to appear as Conchita in 2011.
Conchita Wurst represented Austria and won The Eurovision Song Contest 2014 with her song “Rise Like a Phoenix"; this victory cemented her status as an international gay icon, leading to performance engagements at The Sydney Opera House and The London Palladium, and invitations to speak at the European Parliament and the United Nations Office in Vienna.
1. Watch RuPaul's Drag Race: it's heartwarming, fun, and informative.
3. Shop MAC cosmetics!