Simon Doonan’s Top 3 Drag Queens | Fast Company

Simon Doonan’s Top 3 Drag Queens | Fast Company


(upbeat electronic music) – Back in the ’90s, people
used to say you know, drag will fizzle out. (upbeat electronic music) Now, 20 years later, drag
has never been more explosive and creative and
all-consuming than it is now between RuPaul’s Drag Race
and Saturday Night Live work. You know, all the women
are dressing up as men and everywhere you look,
people are using drag to sort of make a point,
sometimes political, sometimes not and, hello, RuPaul. You know, RuPaul’s been
around a long time, very accomplished, incredible. I bet you he never could have anticipated this explosion of interest. He’s done an incredible job. I mean, I don’t think
there’s any way to measure or express the impact that RuPaul has had on the broader culture,
you know, globally. The surprising thing I learned
about drag doing this book, which took three years, there’s a tremendous
amount of research in it, was just how consistently
drag occurs throughout culture going all the way back to Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, mythology. Drag is just this through line up to the Baroque period, Versailles. You know Louis XIV’s
brother was always in drag. He loved a frock. The Duc d’Orleans. My top three drag queens. Probably the most humorous
drag queen is Dame Edna. You know, she’s just a
tour de force of humor. She’s just really incredible
and had an enduring career. Been around since the ’60s and if you’ve never seen her
perform, you’ll just die. It’s unbelievable. Secondly, I would say Violet Chachki because a, she’s on the cover of my book. B, I think she epitomizes
this new artistry of drag. In the old days, drag
queens were like ugh. Bit of blue eye shadow, pull
on a wig, and off you go. The artistry and the
finesse that you see today with Kim Chi and Sasha Velour
and these drag queens today is truly remarkable and
it’s one of the things that’s propelling drag forward along with the gender revolution. This artistic meticulousness,
that did not exist before. Let’s have a drag king. There’s some incredible
ones throughout history. At the turn of the century, there were all these Edwardian women who dragged up as men and made a fortune. They were like the Madonnas and Lady Gagas of the Victorian musical era. Paid an enormous amount of money, they would perform on Broadway,
they would go to New York. Imagine being, you know,
transatlantic back then. So they were huge stars like Hetty King and Burlington Bertie from Bow. I love them. So lets say Hetty King. I never remember a period where I wasn’t seeing
men in women’s clothes. Like I have pictures of me taken by my mum in the backyard with my best friend and we’re all wearing dresses.

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