This year for Dolly Drag I performed alongside a series of fantastic student drag queens. As a hyper-queen of six years, I’ve been learning the ropes of drag since my tweens. Many of my fellow contestants, however, were doing drag for the first time, and it’s possible that after the show you might have decided you want to take a stab at drag too. Say you’ve watched a few performances or seen an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but you don’t exactly know what you’re doing: I’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started with creating the ultimate female illusion.
Note: If you need more step-by-step guidance than I have provided, I have included corresponding video tutorials.
One of the most distinguishing features of a drag queen is her eye makeup. The eyes are the part of the face with the most room for creativity. However, the average male eye doesn’t actually have much space at all, which is why nearly every drag queen chooses to glue down her brows and draw new ones higher on her face, creating more lid space.
You Will Need:
Step 1: Male eyebrows are bushy. Tweeze hairs that are out of place and trim the extra long ones. This will make sure you have the least amount of trouble when gluing your brows down.
Try this tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2WhluJKICA
Step 2: Take your glue stick and wipe it onto your brow in the direction OPPOSITE of how your hair grows (think toward your nose). Yes, it might seem crazy to be actually gluing your brows, but, if you use a nontoxic glue stick, it is safe and will wash out with water.
Step 3: Before that glue has dried, rub the glue stick onto your hairs in the direction they are growing. Use your eyebrow brush to comb your brows outward so they are as flat and evenly dispersed as possible.
Step 3: Wait for this glue to dry, then add another layer in the direction of hair growth. Repeat the process until you have completed at least 5 layers (do more if your brows are extra thiccc).
Step 4: Brush a LIGHT amount of powder over your final layer of glue, then take out your orange product. Paint it over the brow area and try to get into all creases, then tap with your finger to blend a little. Brows naturally have bluish undertones, so this color should help to cancel them out.
Step 5: Take your concealer and paint it over your brow. Then blend it into your skin.
Step 6: Set with a ton of powder. Use a powder puff and really press it into your brow to make sure the coverage doesn’t go anywhere. Now, you can draw a new brow on your forehead and use your real brow space for eyeshadow.
Try this tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxGzhrCrWDc
Though bald queens have been all the rage lately (thanks, Sasha), most drag queens opt to use wigs. That being said, there is rarely a wig one will buy that is immediately ready for wearing, especially under $200. As I assume the average Simon’s Rock student can only afford a wig closer within the $20 range, I’ve compiled a few tips to make yours look a little more expensive.
You Will Need:
Wig head (email George Veale—he can probably lend you one)
Needle and thread (if ya nasty)
Step 1: Place your wig on its stand and brush it out from bottom to top in order to get rid of the tangles. Some hair will likely be lost; don’t worry––it’s normal.
Step 2: Establish where your chin would fall in comparison to the wig. Real hair is not all the same length and thins out around the face, so take your scissors and make small diagonal cuts from the chin away from the center to frame your face.
Step 3: Spray the wig with a generous amount of dry shampoo and brush it through. This will get rid of some of the artificial shine.
This tutorial is a little intense, so take what you want from it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a5INpkH5xw
Optional: If you want to spend a bunch more time to achieve a fuller head of hair, buy two cheap wigs of the same color and cut apart the tracks (the lines of hair) on one of them. Then sew these tracks between the tracks of the other wig.
Actual tutorial begins at 7:00: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL-qju9Fdms
One of the hardest parts of drag is creating the illusion of the female physical form. Of course, some queens have chosen to simply paint on breasts (think Pearl) or go full boy-bod (Milk). However, if you want to achieve that curvy physique on a budget, I suggest finding cheaper ways.
You Will Need:
Stuffing (tissues, cotton balls, socks, your pick)
Step 1: Find a bra in your size. If you’ve never had to do this before, grab a ruler and consult the handy-dandy chart below to figure out your band size. Then, pick a cup size that pleases you. I suggest around the B-C range so your breasts don’t cave in when you wear them. Buy a bra with the letter you chose and the number that fits you.
Step 2: When you’re ready to get dressed, put on the bra and stuff it A LOT. Easy.
Step 3: To complete the female form you’re going to need hips. However, making hip pads takes a long time, the precision of a god, and a couple rogue couch cushions, all of which I’m sure no SR student has. The easiest way to create the illusion of hips without padding is by cinching the waist. Waist trainers can be purchased cheaply from Amazon or Groupon, and they don’t hurt as corsets do, so they become the best option for a queen on a budget. If you don’t feel like cinching your waist, you can just pad your butt by carefully positioning stuffing between tights and your panties.
Of course, this is not everything you need to know, but it’s a good start. Do some research, talk to your queer friends, and have fun, because that’s what drag is all about. Maybe, if you’re fierce enough, you could win next year’s Dolly Drag.
Elise Kelly is a junior at Simon's Rock and The Weekly Cad's Editor in Chief and Director of Creative Publications.