Owning the Spotlight: 10 Essential Tips for Handling Media as a Drag Artist

Mar 22, 2024

Hey, gorgeous! Stepping into the media limelight isn’t just about strutting in killer heels, honey. It’s a full-time gig of being aware, prepared, and always on point.

From dancing the night away to ensuring every click captures a fab side, there’s a bit more to handling the media as a drag artist than just batting those luscious lashes.

For all the queens out there, grab a seat (or a throne!), and let’s spill the tea on how to navigate that dazzling world of media, flashing lights, and all eyes on… well, YOU!

10 tips for handling media as a drag artist

The glittering world of drag isn’t just about fierce looks, stunning performances, and iconic one-liners (though let’s be real, those are essential). There’s another layer to this fabulous cake: handling the media.

Now, media might sound like just another fan waving a camera, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a powerful tool that can elevate a queen’s career to new heights or, if not navigated carefully, could capture less-than-flattering moments.

Whether it is a pro photographer catching the best (or worst) angles, a news network wanting an interview, or an online publication writing a review, understanding how to work with the media is crucial for every queen who’s ready for her close-up.

Now, without further ado, let’s dive into these essential tips, darling!

1. No Zippers, Please!

Dancing with your back to the audience? Well, sweetie, unless you’re doing a dramatic turn, let’s save the crowd from inspecting that zipper. No one came to see it. They came for the show upfront!

Recall that any RuPaul’s Drag Race episode with Jinkx Monsoon? She was doing sultry numbers, and while her performances were flawless, her darn zipper stole the spotlight on a few occasions.

A valuable lesson: keep those zippers under wraps, queens!

2. Lock Eyes with the Lens

Spot a camera? Throw a smile or a pout, but never turn your back. Whether it’s an interview, a candid shot, or a video, always give ’em the money shot. After all, every snapshot could be the next viral sensation!

Handling media as a drag artist is best understood through story, right? 

Valentina once said, “I’d like to keep it on, please” regarding her mask, but when she’s performing, she never hides from the camera. Those alluring eyes always find the lens, making every viewer feel special.

3. Know Your Audience to Get Those Coins

While it’s lovely to entertain those bridal showers, remember they might not be as generous with their tips.

And let’s get real: Drag brunches? They’re practically a gay national holiday. Prioritize your performances and energy accordingly.

Although this tip isn’t about handling media as a drag artist, it’s a friendly reminder that we will pay you far more than any party of breeders. 

Instead of spending an hour serenading a bridal shower, thinking big tips are coming…

You could be at the bar with a bunch of enthusiastic gays with dollar bills waiting for your attention. Lesson? Learn to read the room.

4. Always Glue That Wig Down

Nobody, and we mean nobody, wants a diva’s wig falling off in the middle of a performance, especially when cameras are rolling.

Double-check before hitting the stage, and keep that crown in place!

Could you imagine handling the media as a drag artist whose wig has just fallen off? 

It’s gonna be somewhere along the lines of a Donald Trump, and the media is going to be Donald Trump looking at the sun during an eclipse.

5. Media in the Room? Step it Up!

Media presence is the cue to step up that game. They’re not just there to watch; they’re there to showcase. Every performance could be the next big story or viral video. Give ’em a reason to feature the most fabulous diva around – you!

Handling the media as a drag artist isn’t always positive vibes, though. When you are encountering negative media, be Bob the Drag Queen. 

When Bob the Drag Queen knew the media was covering a protest she was at, she made sure her voice and message were heard loud and clear. Knowing the media’s reach, she used it to amplify her cause.

6. Claps, Applause, and A Whole Lotta Shade

Let’s face it, not all attention is positive. And when those nasty anti-LGBTQIA+ groups or websites try to crash the party, it’s crucial to be vigilant. Quickly alert the club owner and take proactive steps. No room for hate here, darling!

Trixie Mattel and Katya once spoke about the importance of creating a safe space in drag shows. When they sense negativity, they ensure it’s handled promptly. As queens, creating a hate-free zone is paramount.

Handling the media as a drag artists in this fashion ensures you are always amplifying your reach, platform and inspiring change in the world.

7. Embrace the Reviews, but Don’t Live by Them

Got a rave review? Fabulous! Was a little shade thrown your way? Brush it off.

While feedback can be helpful, it’s essential to remember the true star – the one shining on stage and living their truth.

Handling the media as a drag artist will always have its ups and downs. 

If a great article is published about you, or a show you’re in, share it on all your socials and tag the publication. And if they tag you in photos on Instagram, you really need to Like, share, and comment. You want your fans to know that you’ve been in the media – third-party endorsements are huge street cred for you, hun!

Raja, after winning her season, got both love and shade. She took it in stride, picking constructive critiques while staying true to her unique style. Your essence is what wins hearts, not changing with every review.

8. Safety First, Diva!

If media or hate groups invade personal space or try to cause chaos, always ensure personal safety. Have security protocols in place. And remember, darling, your safety is far more important than a moment in the spotlight.

Peppermint, a fierce advocate, always stresses the importance of queens’ safety. Her mantra is to be aware of your surroundings and to ensure there’s a security protocol, especially when handling the media as a drag artist.

9. Network Smartly

Use media exposure as a platform to make connections. Engage with influential figures in the community. But here’s a secret to handling the media as a drag artist: always prioritize genuine connections over the glitz and glam of who others think you should network with. 

10. Stay True to You

The camera loves authenticity. Regardless of the pressures or opinions swirling around, the most magnetic force in the room is authenticity. Embrace it, love it, live it. Handling media as a drag artist is a mix of fierceness, brains, and tact. 

What do you think of our tips for handling media as a drag artist?

Well, queen, it’s been a roller-coaster of insights and stories, hasn’t it? Every diva, from a seasoned superstar to an emerging queen, has had her unique brush with the media.

As you step into or continue to strut in the limelight, it’s crucial to remember that those camera flashes, and interviews aren’t just about the here and now; they’re about shaping a legacy and handling the media as a female (or male – we didn’t forget about all you kings out there) impersonator with thoughtfulness.

Now, these tips were handpicked and curated based on some iconic moments and a dash of sisterly advice. But you know what they say, “art isn’t one-size-fits-all.” It’s an ever-evolving practice, and everyone’s journey with the media is a tale of its own.

While we sincerely hope that these pointers serve as a helpful guide in your fabulous escapades, we’re also incredibly eager to hear your stories, experiences, and of course, those golden tips you’ve garnered along the way.

This art, which we’ve perfected over time, is as much about community as it is about individuality. If you’ve found these suggestions helpful or know a fellow queen who could benefit from a bit of media wisdom, don’t hesitate to share this page.

And before you sashay away, drop those personal tips in the comments. After all, there’s always room in our fabulous family for more wisdom, more stories, and more sparkle.

Your voice matters, and we can’t wait to hear it!

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Brian Webb

Brian Webb

Author

Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award. An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content. Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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