When people hear the words “drag queen,” they most likely think of big hair, false lashes and seven-foot-tall men in heels lip-synching to Madonna. Drag queens are so much more than that, though! Drag queens are smart, resourceful performers who never shy away from taking creative risks and being themselves. In fact, we would argue that drag queens are role models, capable of giving much better life advice than any of those Dr. Phil types. Here are eight life lessons we can learn from the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
1. Don’t be afraid to take risks
When RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Sharon Needles came stomping down the runway looking like a Walking Dead extra, viewers and contestants alike were in complete awe of her styling decision. Throughout the season, her competitors constantly judged her for her ghoulish and unconventional style, calling her a Party-City-shopping goth. And you know what happened? Sharon went on to win the entire season and is now a super-famous drag queen.
Drag queens aren’t afraid of taking risks because they know that every risk is an opportunity to showcase uniqueness, adaptability and tenacity. However, just because we aren’t strutting our stuff looking like a glam corpse doesn’t mean we can’t take creative risks in our own lives! The next time you’re asked to pitch an idea at your internship or you’re presented with a new opportunity, take the risk!
2. Don’t rely on being pretty
During the celebrity impersonation challenge of RuPaul’s Drag Race, season-six winner Bianca Del Rio played the infamous Judge Judy. In her most memorable moment, she said Judy’s famous catchphrase: “Beauty fades, but dumb is forever!”
Certain Drag Race contestants, like Courtney Act and Vivienne Pinay, have been both praised and criticized for using their natural beauty as a way of staying in the competition. RuPaul challenged these queens to stop relying on their beauty and to show their other talents, such as any singing abilities or comedic chops that set them apart from their competitors. And when these queens did, they showed they deserved to be in the competition.
Being pretty is great, but it isn’t everything. We are so much more than our looks! Embrace all of the talents you have and don’t rely on your physical appearance to get you everything you need in life. People care a lot more about what’s on the inside, anyways!
3. Don’t care about what other people think of you
While RuPaul’s Drag Race may be a hit TV show, drag queens still face prejudice and discrimination (even from other LGBTQ+ folks!) for who they are as people and performers. But do queens let that bring them down? Of course not! Drag queens embrace everything about their art and don’t apologize for being themselves. Drag queens don’t care about what other people think and never second-guess who they are. It’s like RuPaul always says, “Unless they paying your bills, pay them b*tches no mind.”
The next time someone spreads a rumor about you or judges you for something, tune it out! Don’t live your life in a certain way because that’s how others want you to. The world will always be full of haters, so just continue being your fabulous self, and things will work out in the end.
4. Support others
As a show, RuPaul’s Drag Race is so much more than drag queens making elaborate costumes and lip-synching. It’s a show about LGBTQ+ individuals who stand by each other in the midst of whatever life throws at them. When season five contestant Roxxxy Andrews had a mental breakdown recounting how her mother abandoned her at a bus stop as a child, her competitors and RuPaul reminded her that they were her family. When contestant Monica Beverly Hillz came out as trans*, her fellow contestants applauded her bravery and told her they would support her 100 percent. Drag queens remind us, specifically LGBTQ+ folks, that we are a community that mustn’t be divided. We have to support one another, because at the end of the day, the LGBTQ+ community is the only family some people have.
The next time you go to an LGBTQ+ club meeting, go out of your way to meet a new person. Introduce yourself to the person who is coming for the first time and show them that they aren’t alone. And besides, you can always use more friends!
5. Work for what you want
At the end of every RuPaul’s Drag Race episode, two queens compete in a “Lip Sync for Your Life” in a last-ditch effort to show the judges that they deserve to stay in the competition. Queens do anything and everything to prove their worth, from executing incredibly intricate dance moves to tearing off their outfits. They break out all of the stops because they know that their dream of becoming America’s Next Drag Superstar will never become a reality if they don’t fight for it.
Don’t be afraid to work as hard as you can for what want! Work for that job you’ve dreamed of having or leadership position you’ve always wanted. Fortune favors the bold!
6. Make your own success
While RuPaul may have a full-force glam team behind her to turn her into the stunning glamazon that she is, most drag queens aren’t so lucky. Many drag queens have to apply their own makeup, create their own elaborate costumes, choreograph their dance routines and find clubs to book them… all while oftentimes working a full-time job. A lot of work goes into being a drag queen!
You don’t need a huge team or lots of resources behind you in order to be successful. You can make it happen! If a guy who looks like Danny DeVito can make himself look like Cameron Diaz, you can do anything. Don’t be discouraged by a lack of resources or by inexperience. You can make it work if you put your mind to it!
7. Embrace your mistakes and never let life get you down
Drag queens know that not all creative risks pay off. They know that life is full of mistakes and that it isn’t always smooth sailing. Queens like Latrice Royale, who spent several years in jail as a young adult, remind us that who we are now is infinitely more important than who we used to be. Latrice didn’t let the fact that she went to prison dictate how the rest of her life would go. She picked herself up, picked out some eye shadow and became an incredibly successful drag queen.
Don’t be embarrassed of your mistakes or let your past define you. You’re where you are now because of where you’ve been.
8. Love yourself
At the end of every RuPaul’s Drag Race episode, RuPaul says her most famous mantra: “Learn to love yourself, ‘cause if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
What better advice is there? Drag queens remind us that we must be happy with ourselves in order to find happiness in other people or things in our lives. We must acknowledge when we need to work on ourselves and our own happiness and learn how to find happiness within.
It turns out there’s a lot we can learn from drag queens! Here’s to taking creative risks, being our authentic selves and loving ourselves. Who knew the contestants of a reality television competition about drag queens would be so wise?