Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Family and Consumer Sciences
My thesis project was spilt into three parts. The first part was gathering inspiration and experiencing drag shows. The second part was designing three different dresses for drag queens and showcasing them in the spring MODA fashion show. The final part was participating in Outspoken’s Drag Show as a drag queen. My goal for my thesis was to explore the world of drag and how I can use it to inspire my own creative endeavors.
The first part of my thesis was a ton of fun. In order to experience drag and gather inspiration for my own drag, I visited a lot of different LGBT clubs around the Midwest. I attended drag shows that featured both professional and amateur drag queens and kings. I met some pretty famous queens that have been on Rupaul’s Drag Race as well, including Adore Delano, Tatianna, Shae Coulee, Trixie Mattel, Wilam, Miz Cracker, Kameron Michaels, and Acid Betty. Some of the clubs I went to included Roscoe’s Tavern in Chicago, Necto in Ann Arbor, Partners in Battle Creek, and The Dunes in Saugatuck.
The second part of my thesis was the most difficult part. To incorporate the fashion design aspect of my thesis, I decided to make three dresses that were made to be worn by drag performers. A major part of drag performance is called The Reveal. This is where the drag queen takes something off, a wig or an outfit, to reveal another wig or outfit underneath. It adds a touch of magic to the performance and I wanted to create these dresses with this in mind. Each of the dresses I made can transform. To showcase these dresses, I entered them into the Merchandising Opportunities and Design Association’s Spring Fashion Show.
The third part of my thesis was taking the inspiration I gathered and the dresses I made to create my own drag persona. I came up with the name Pariah and started learning how to apply drag makeup and how to style a wig in preparation for Outspoken’s Drag Show. For the drag show, you had to prepare two different performances. My first performance was a lip sync and dance to the Cash Me Outside remix by DJ Suede. I incorporated burlesque and vogue dance moves into this performance. My second performance was a cover of Praying by Kesha. I decided to sing this song live because I thought it would make the performance more meaningful. I also wore one of the transforming dresses for this performance.
Overall, I ended up learning a lot about what it takes to be a drag queen. There is definitely a lot involved. I have a newfound respect for drag queens. They have to be good at so many different art forms in order to be successful. They have to be makeup artists, hairdressers, dancers, singers, sewers, designers, stylists, and stand up comedians. It makes me so happy that drag queens are finally getting the attention they deserve.
Green, Avery, "Drag: The Herstory and Phenomenon" (2018). Honors Theses. 3006.
Honors Thesis-Open Access