The life of a drag king is anything but! Dressing in drag can be empowering, sexy, political, or just plain fun! Drag kings are usually DFAB (designated female at birth) folk who dress or act in traditionally masculine ways for a performance. Generally, this performance is lip synching a song with a few dance moves thrown in on the side, but it can be anything from comedy to live music to performance art.
The best thing about drag is there’s no wrong way to do drag! Drag is about throwing all convention out the window, including it’s own! Some queens don’t shave and some kings don’t bind! Drag is about using gender as a performance on stage. It’s about breaking the binary, it’s about self expression, and it’s about having fun.
WHAT KIND OF KING ARE YOU?
It’s time to start developing your drag king persona. A persona is like a stage character, it will help you begin thinking about how you will dress, act, and move! Everything this website covers will help you develop your persona, but it’s good to start thinking about it early.
What kind of guy are you or would you be? Who would it be fun to be? Think about stereotypes too! Are you a bad boy, a nerd, a sleezeball, an athlete, a gender-bender, a priest, a businsness man, or something else entirely?
WHATS IN A NAME?
Your name is a big part of your persona, so choose carefully! Many drag kings choose names that are funny, explicit, evocative, masculine, ridiculous, or just a name you’ve always liked. Some kings don’t choose one at all and perform under their regular name. The sky’s the limit!
Chuck Roast, Adam Goodlay, Bushrod Washington, Andrew Ogenous, Devon Heir, Buster Open, Johnny Gash, Mike Hunt, Achilles Heel, August Wind, Jack Ripper.
Choose a song you can really get into and enjoy performing. If you’re having a good time, then so will the audience! Make sure you know how the show organizer wants your music, whether it’s an mp3 file or a hard copy burned onto a CD.
Lip-syncing can’t be over-emphasized for drag performers. You must know your song. Memorize the lyrics and anticipate the words. Over-exaggerate your lip movement and practice in front of a mirror. Soon, you’ll be lip-synching like a pro!
HAIR, MAKEUP, AND BEARD
Now we’ll show you how to look the part, and first up is your face! Mouse over the king on the left for more information about hair, makeup, and beards.
COSTUMES AND CLOTHES
They really do! Express yourself, feel confidant, and be resourceful. You don’t have to spend a lot of money either— thrift stores are your best friend. If you can sew or alter clothes yourself you can save on more outlandish costumes as well. When creating a costume, tailor it to your song and coordinate with the music, but don’t be afraid to try new things.
Binding is when you flatten your chest for a more masculine appearance, and there are many ways to do it. That being said, DO NOT USE TAPE TO BIND. This can cut or tear skin, restrict breathing, and cause a host of nasty problems. Instead, the best thing to use is a binder. A binder is a compression tank-top you can buy online from sites like Underworks. If you’re a B cup or smaller, then layering sports bras is another way to flatten your chest.
Decide if you’re going to pack or not! Packing refers to putting something in your pants to create a slight bulge. Some kings do and some kings don’t. You can either do this with a roll of socks or a soft dildo depending on the look you’re going for (packing with a small, stiff dildo can be very comedic with the right song). If you use socks or some other light, cloth material, tape them to the crotch of close-fitting underwear, and then put boxers on over them for a nice, realistic look.
STAGE PRESENCE AND PERFORMANCE
Your performance should be something fun for you. Get into it, practice, and know your lyrics. If you’re having fun, then so will the audience. Being on stage is all about confidence, and so is dancing. You don’t have to be a good dancer, just move!
When you’re on stage get out of your box, and use wide, sweeping gestures. When the songs starts, stand still for about five seconds and let the audience focus their attention on you. When you start your routine, they won’t be able to look away!
So, there you have it! This is the end of Drag King 101. If you learned anything, you pass! It’s not everything, but these are the basics of what you need to know to be a drag king. Hopefully this is a good jumping off point for anyone thinking about doing drag as a king. Now get out there and start practicing! Special thanks to (main sources, DC Kings, etc). Contact into (create email for this).
Designed and hand-coded with ♥ by Michael Elizabeth Johnson