When Champagne Munroe wanted to try drag back in July 2014, she turned up at B-Bob’s bar in downtown Mobile with a few old Halloween costumes, a little makeup, and a promise to herself to get on stage and have fun.
“When I first started coming up, being gay and all of that, going downtown and going to the bars, I’d watch the drag shows and you’d see Queen’s up there and I’d be like ‘okay, this is cute, I could do that,’” said Munroe in a recent interview with Reckon.
Nearly seven years later, she’s still going strong and is now an established drag queen who tours the South.
But getting started can be tricky.
“There’s not really a manual for becoming a drag queen. You just find your way slowly,” said Munroe, who will be 34 in late June. “I was lucky in a way that I’ve been performing my whole life. I did choir in school and church before taking up theatre in high school and college.”
Once a misunderstood artform, drag meandered its way through the conservatism of the 1980s and became an escape for many as the AIDS crisis ravaged gay communities across the country. More recently, drag has exploded onto the mainstream pop culture landscape thanks to the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
After over a decade on tv, the show has turned its contestants into stars. Most have thriving social media accounts, podcasts, and post makeup tutorials and other videos on Youtube. For Munroe, this is a valuable resource in getting started and understanding the nuances of life as a drag queen.
She shared some of her favorite go to resources.
“There are different Facebook communities where you can do drag swaps,” said Munroe. “That’s where queens will post stuff that they’re selling, whether it be hair or jewelry, or costumes or services like flyers or mixes that you can buy stuff from them.”
Munroe also said Facebook communities offer support and can be a rich source of news and gossip.
For example, All About Drag is a Facebook where drag queens can promote shows, sell and buy clothing and discuss issues within the community.
But several cities and states have their own drag pages, making it easier for newcomers to get a feel of what’s going on.
Houston Drag: an easy way to find drag shows in Houston.
Drag Queen North Carolina: all drag related information in North Carolina.
Drag Queens of Birmingham: showcasing drag talent in the Magic City.
Austin Pride: an LGBTQ friendly landing space that includes information about drag in Austin.
“As far as makeup is concerned, YouTube is your friend,” said Munroe. “Especially the drag race girls. Once they get done doing the show, they go home and they get on YouTube. And they create all kinds of tutorials. YouTube.”
Fortunately for us, Youtube has grouped all the makeup tutorials from RuPaul Drag Race contestants in one place.
Jaymes Mansfield appeared in the ninth season of Drag Race. The Wisconsin-native has a Youtube channel that offers makeup tutorials and dives into the history of drag. She also owns a wig company.
LISTEN (Podcasts and Youtube)
One of Munroe’s favorite things to do is listen to podcasts hosted by former drag race contestants, especially after someone is eliminated from the show.
“’Hey Queen is more like a talk show and most of the time they got the Drag Race girls on once they are done with the show,” said Munroe. “They also have people who were influential of the drag scene like New York or L.A. and all of that.”
Here’s a couple of other podcasts Munroe loves.
Sibling Rivalry is a comedy podcast hosted by Bob The Drag Queen and Monet X Change. Bob is originally from Georgia and won season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Monet hails from Brooklyn and competed in season 10 of the show. The podcast pretty much pokes fun at everything going on in the drag race world.
Race Chasers with Alaska Thunderfuck and Willam. The two Pennsylvania-born queens rose to prominence competing in Drag Race season five and four, respectively.
The podcast discusses and dissects every Drag Race episode ever, and there have been a lot. They hit on the hot gossip coming out of the drag world, while also talking about politics and answer emails from their dedicated listeners.
Both podcasts are also available on Youtube.