Drag: Artists and their Inspiration

soft boy. Photo by Mara Rago.

Drag is a combination of inspiration and perspiration. Most queens emulate strong, positive female role models, Cher, Beyonce, Madonna, Aretha Franklin, Cyndi Lauper, and more.

Phoenix Fatale said, “I am a Britney girl. Growing up, I fell in love with dancing and performing because of Britney Spears. Also, I love those blonde bimbos of the 90s, like Pamela Anderson and Anna Nicole Smith. I was a huge fan of Zena the Warrior Princess and the studio wrestler, Chyna.” 

Calipso cites her mother as her inspiration. “Personality-wise, I see a lot of her in me in and out of drag, but when I’m on stage, I am inspired by my favorite celebrities. I do a lot of JLo (Jennifer Lopez), Nicki Minaj, and Ariana Grande numbers. I love the feeling I get when I’m giving the crowd a cute ‘pop star’ moment.” 

Dixie Surewood. Photo by G Michael Beigay.

Dixie Sherwood, who is originally from Buffalo, celebrated seven years in drag this April. Dixie said, “Musical Theatre is a huge inspiration to me. Also pop culture.” Dixie laughed, “Where would any entertainer be without their pop culture references?” 

Cyndi Lauper inspires Indie Skies. “My mom, who is super supportive, took me to see Cher perform at Pride when I was fourteen or fifteen. Cyndi Lauper performed in that show. I felt empowered by her.” Now, Indie Skies performs Cyndi’s songs, such as True Colors, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, and Sally’s Pigeons. 

Luna Skye, who grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, became interested in drag through RuPaul’s Drag Race. Now Luna Skye has come full circle, hosting 5801’s Drag Race viewing party with partner Indie Skies.

Trista Storm cited the late Chelsea Pearl and Lady Bunny as inspiration. Storm added, “I’m a big old boy with tattoos all over but I get out there and become a glam showgirl. I love it because I can become something I can’t be during the day.” 

Kierra Darshell was inspired by the late Denise Darshell, Kierra’s drag mother, and her friend the late Legendary Misty Knight. Both performers have since passed on.

Leia Way LeStat. Photo courtesy of Leia Way LeStat.

Inspired by androgynous performers like Prince and Christine and the Queens, soft boy hosts the only monthly all-king show called, Heartthrob with fellow kings such as Kenny Would, Ricky Rosé, and Peter Pansy. 

Leia Way LeStat said, “I’m inspired by my friends. My drag family. Myself.”