Drag 101: Do You Have What It Takes?

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Have you ever wondered how much effort drag queens dedicate in looking “cheap” and stylish at the same time? It takes quite a lot of effort to be a drag queen because the makeup and styling alone will take hours to complete. Drag queens also have to look into ways where they can make money and support their art.

Want to try it out yourself? Here are the things you need to know about the drag queen life:

What is drag?

Drag is a unique entertainment artform where people dress up in gaudy but glamorous costumes and makeup that will accentuate the performer’s beauty. While under this look, the performer will do skits that will showcase their talents or their response to issues like HIV and gender roles.

Anyone can do drag, whether men or women. It is also important to take note that drag queens or kings do not try to trick you into thinking they are male or female. For these performers, they are using the art as a way to show who they really are and perform the way they want to.

How much do drag queens spend for their art?

Drag queens can spend as much as $10,000 every year just for their glam and it can increase if they will be using branded items to make their art more realistic. Fortunately, these drag-related expenses can be written off as a business expense to reduce the drag queen’s tax liability.

Here are some of the things a drag queen needs to purchase and how much they usually are:

1: Wigs – Unstyled wigs can start around $50 while styled wigs can be around $200 or more depending on their length and volume.

2: Makeup – Every drag queen must have in their makeup kit a foundation worth $30 or more, a contour palette that can be around $50, a $20 to $100 eyeshadow palette and a variety of lipsticks that can be around $10 or less. Aside from these basics, the kit must also come with moisturizers, makeup removers and primers, shaving creams, razors and other important personal care items.

3: Eyelashes – Faux eyelashes can start around $10 to $45 depending on how thick and realistic these lashes are. Some drag queens buy them in bulk to save money and modify them to get the right eye look they want to achieve.

4: Padding and tights – Paddings are important for drag queens to add more realism to their image and they can start from $30 to $150. Meanwhile, dance tights are used to hide these paddings and they usually start around $15 per pair.

5: Heels – A drag queen’s shoes must have heels as high as 13 feet and they roughly cost around $75 since they are often custom made.

6: Jewelry and costumes – To complete the look, drag queens must have flashy and eye-catching costumes and jewelry for the look. Costumes can start around $200 or more depending on the style, while jewelry can be around $75 or more. Drag queens recommend going to special stores like Charismatico dancewear drag queen costumes that sell both costumes and accessories for better savings.

How much do they earn?

Now that you have the gear, you need to know where to make money and showcase your art. Income varies depending on your location but if you are able to hustle, it can be a successful career. New drag queens can earn around $50 per event they go and receive additional money through tips. Once you are able to establish your name in the industry, you can earn up to $800 or more per night, especially if you are performing in top theaters and clubs.

Ways to make a name in the industry

If you want to turn your drag art into a career, there are many ways to do it successfully and help you stay afloat. Here are some tips that you can apply as you transition your art to a lifelong career:

1: Always budget your finances carefully and have some funds reserved to promote yourself and your brand.

2: Invest on your social media profile so your clients and fans can see how you develop your art and what they can expect from you next.

3: Don’t hesitate to perform with bigger personalities and hustle even in small gigs to maximize your exposure to the public. This can also help you with cash tips to support your craft.

4: Find other hustles that you can do to support your career, like selling drag-related items for other interested performers.

5: Be wise in sorting out your booking fee and only charge based on your exposure and fame!

6: Don’t forget to attend drag shows for additional exposure.



Being a drag queen may seem simple at first, but it requires immense dedication. You not only have to look your best and feel good to showcase your talents, you must not be afraid to hustle to make it a lifelong career.

If you want to unleash the inner diva in you and try out the glamorous life of drag queens, check out Charismatico dancewear drag queen costumes. The shop showcases a wide variety of costumes that can elevate your art and even sell accessories like wigs and jewelry to match their looks. No matter what budget you may have, the store has got you covered.

When you see a drag queen, don’t be afraid to speak out to them because every queen has a story that will definitely surprise you.


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Written by Lola McQuenzie

Lola is one of our busiest writer. She has worked for Catwalk Yourself since 2007. Lola started working with us after she graduating from Central St Martins

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