Drag Week 2015 – Have a Kiki With a Queen

Flo McQuibban
8 February 2015

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Image credit: https://www.tumblr.com/search/teamtrixiemattel

Reality shows are often criticised for their poor attempt at making celebrities’ lives seem both interesting and real at the same time. Whilst undoubtedly not completely stripped of fabrication and exaggeration, RuPaul’s Drag Race takes “realness” to an unprecedented level.

For those who are unfamiliar with this gem, RuPaul’s Drag Race, hosted by Ru Paul, is the search for America’s Next Drag[1]Superstar (yes, hunty[2], yes). It is best described as a cross between Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model – but who wouldn’t take a “sashay away[3]” over a “you’re out!” any day? It’s time to untuck[4] RuRaul’s Drag Race.

Although most of the contestants seem to have made up their own grammar rules and vocabulary along the way, bless them, it is important to understand that the drag world has a culture and language of its own (and that’s the T, mama[5]). If a drag queen is caught reading whilst the library isn’t open, then she’s most likely throwing a bit of shade. Reading someone (and not something) is perhaps best translated as “telling someone how it really is”, but beware miss thing[6], because if it’s uncalled for, then it’s shady. It is also worth mentioning that often, but not always, drag queens are adept when it comes to self-deprecating humour.

It becomes harder to keep your laughter in as the show progresses, as it includes increasingly absurd and hilarious expressions such as: “Mama has arrived!” (Vivacious, Season 6), “It’s very…that!” and “Partay!”(Adore Delano, Season 6), and “Oh no she better don’t” (Ru Paul), as well as some recurring ones such as: “Eleganza, Extravaganza!” and “Oh, pit crew!” (Ru Paul), usually followed by the entrance of a dozen extremely buff, half-naked men, whom are sometimes used as props, prepared to serve the queens in their mini challenges.

Needless to say, RuPaul’s Drag Race will make you laugh so violently it could hurt, whilst astutely prompting you to stay fierce and sickening[7] always (so don’t split too hard in case you need to serve[8] some executive realness[9]).

This being said, lest some forget, it’s worth noticing that many people are still unaware of what drag is. Even more people reject drag completely, dubbing it a disgusting lifestyle. During the show, heart wrenching stories about being abandoned at a bus stop, living with HIV, or having an abusive family member, are sometimes unexpectedly revealed. A devastating majority of the participants have been perpetually reviled throughout their lives due to their sexual orientation, or drag career. RuPaul’s Drag Race has a side-series called “Untucked” in which feuds and rivalries are exposed, as well as unanticipated calls from home that are often followed by crying and glamorous embraces. The show is touching due to the amount of support the drag queens provide each other with, despite their differences. Ru often reminds his girls that it’s important to love yourself before you love somebody else. So if you feel comfortable in your own skin, why not go have a kiki[10] with someone who doesn’t.

Whilst it is important to remember that drag queens have often suffered hardships, and aren’t just all about saying “Mama!” and “Werk[11], girl!” – always respect a drag queen, never pity her. Laugh with her, not at her. Unless the library is open[12]. Then by all means, give her the T.

Keep your smize[13] on the prize gorl[14]  – season 7 airs on March 2, 2015.


[1]Drag typically refers to clothing associated with one gender role when worn by someone of another gender. A Drag Queen is a person who was born physically male dressing as a female, often acting with exaggerated femininity, wearing dramatic makeup and extravagant clothing. Dressing in drag can both be a hobby and/or a career.

[2]“Honey” in drag lingo.

[3]“Sashay away” is the term used for “You’ve been eliminated” in RuPaul’s Drag Race. “You’re out” is the term used in Project Runway, which is arguably very dry.

[4]“To reveal”

[5]“That’s the truth, my friend”

[6]  Someone (usually a drag queen) who is so well-groomed and confident that it is hard to criticize said person; however, it is usually used ironically towards someone who is overly-confident and has become arrogant because of it.

[7]“Amazing”

[8]“To serve” means “to give” or “to dish out”.

[9]Expression meaning, “to dress in formal business wear”.

[10]“Party” or “get together” where one gossips.

[11]“Work”

[12]Expression meaning that it is safe to tell someone what you think, or how you feel, about him or her, often in a witty manner.

[13] Smiling with your eyes, popularised by Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model

[14] Another variant of “girl”

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