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Five things you didn’t necessarily know about becoming a drag king

Gerry's associate producer and co-producer of Drag King troupe PECS, Daisy Hale, tells us five things you didn’t necessarily know about becoming a Drag King!

1.     It’s more than just ‘putting clothes on’

The visual side of being a drag king is so much more than just the clothing you choose. It can be all about the make up! “Male” contouring is very different to “female” contouring, focussing much more on the temples and cheekbones to highlight the angular features of your face. Plus, there’s much to be said for getting the eyebrows right! Your inner man’s eyebrows could be MUCH larger and bushier; you’d be surprised what getting the eyebrows right can do for your look. Beyond visuals though there is so much more to creating your man – we focus a lot on ‘walking the walk’ and get participants to really exaggerate what they perceive as a masculine walk, from the subtle right up to the ridiculous. From this, we hope people will find the masculinity they are comfortable with portraying as their man. We also focus a lot on the pitch of our voices, and how that can completely change how a song or monologue can be perceived.

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2.     There are lots of different Kings

In the same way that all men are made unique, so are Kings. There’s a huge range of different portrayals of masculinity that different people feel most comfortable or sexy performing. So there are a huge range of Kings! Even within our troupe you see a big amount of diversity - from Drag King Cole, very much the classic man, to Cesar Jently who is known as ‘the femme pretender’ which involves not wearing subtle make up in order to make no illusion of being male, but altering things like body language and voice to appear as male as possible. Finding your man can take a lot of experimentation 

3.     It can be painful! 

Many of you may have heard of the horrors of drag queens ‘tucking’. Well, Kinging is not without its pain if you choose to bind. There are a range of ways to bind – several of our kings and the kings we know invest in proper binders, but we also use bandages and at times gaffer tape (Top tip: make sure you cover your nipples before you apply!) A recent great investment we’ve made, which is especially good for more energetic numbers, is medical elastic adhesive bandage, the elasticity means it moves with you and is a lot less likely to ping off if you sweat. Oh and at all costs, avoid cling film… it gets real hot. 

4.     You can LOVE your inner man

That’s not a parody - Our boys love their men! Sometimes you embody what you find attractive in masculinity and that can also inform how sexy you feel.

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5.      It can be political

One of the things we love about Drag is how accessible it can make politics, either through humour or within the arc of one of our pieces. We’ve always seen our work as a form of protest against gender binaries, and we’ve been pushing this more and more recently. In our show The 80s Show we show a powerful piece of lip-syncing by Drag King Cole (Temi Wilkey) to Kendrick Lamar, Malcolm X, Tupac, Public Enermy and Tottenham riot newsreels. But at other points in the show we have friendly banter from Loose Willis (Katy Bulmer) and Cesar Jently (Kit Griffiths) about the American election, Trump and Brexit. We think it’s important as artists and as visible queer artists to make sure we’re holding the state of affairs to account, and are communicating this with to audiences.

Take part in our PECS mansformation workshop - Tue 28 Nov at Gerry's. Book here.

For more information about PECS, click here.

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