Glasgow drag queens on RuPaul, lockdown and the return of live shows

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Ru Jazzle, Chucky Bartolo and CJ Banks chat to GlasgowWorld about RuPaul’s Drag Race and being able to partake in live shows now that restrictions have eased.

What is drag? Drag is an art form that has existed since ancient times and has recently rocketed to mainstream popularity and is a pop-culture phenomenon.

This has stemmed from reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race that has epitomised dramatic shifts in the practice of drag in British culture, and internationally.

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What part has RuPaul’s Drag Race played? Queens often lip-sync to songs, walk runways, do celebrity impersonations, design and create custom outfits alongside wearing elaborate makeup and extravagant wigs, putting forth enormous effort and financial cost.

Establishing and developing skills at using these means to transform themselves into their highly adorned characters, RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has showcased 13 seasons in the US, two in Thailand and has recently crossed the Atlantic for the third season of UK’s version. It has exposed some of the geographical and regional differences between the forms.

Drag Performer, Ru Jazzle said: “Every Queen wants to move on to Drag Race as their next career move. It’s a huge phenomenon around the world and is a big franchise. It opens up a global audience and takes your career much further.”

Dressed in stereotypical feminine clothing, Drag performers usually adopt an eccentric persona or a character that might act as a means of self-expression of their own personalities or allow them to characterise various personality attributes in order to entertain.

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Drag Artist CJ Banks said: “I love storytelling through my drag and being able to take the audience through a journey with me. Whether it being a pop song they know, or that we’ve created from scratch - we are entertainers and the leaders of our community.”

She added: “We get to stand on the stage with our mics and not only perform, but to speak on important issues and highlight certain aspects that need it. A balance between being stupid but important when need be.”

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