Like a Pro: Crafting Your Drag King PersonaJan 12, 2024
Why are some people able to jump right up on stage and strut their stuff as a Drag King while others are not sure what to do next or even where to start?
I’m Danica Lani, the King Coach and I’ve proudly mentored 102 first-time Drag Kings through Kings of Joy since December 2020. I've also led transformative workshops for hundreds of queer-identifying women, non-binary, and trans individuals, mostly specialising in queer tantra.
I want to share with you a path for developing your skills in makeup, costume, and choreography, and strengthening your Drag King persona so you know exactly what to do next and you don’t have to do it alone. Let’s make this fun. Once your Drag King persona gets clearer, you’ll start experiencing more confidence and you’ll have the balls to make your next bold move.
A couple of days ago I sent out an email asking for your top question about being a Drag King and I was so heartwarmed by the response. I wanted to make a quick video and teach you a little about how to deepen your Drag King persona.
Trying to find your unique self-expression isn’t always as simple as people sometimes make it seem. It comes with its challenges. That’s why I’m going to demystify the process of making your Drag King persona come alive on stage. This is going to save you a lot of time, frustration, and confusion.
When I first started out as a Drag King, I had no idea what to do… It’s lonely doing it by yourself and can take 3 times longer. Before I performed as a Drag King, I had little makeup skills. It was terrifying going out in public with my hand drawn on moustache, but that’s all I had. I struggled to find masculine clothes that would fit my size - all menswear was too big for me. And I didn’t know who I was as a Drag King. It took me 6 years to find a name I really resonated with - Dario di Bello.
What I discovered was that it’s way more fun developing your Drag King persona while in a Drag King crew. Before I started collaborating with That Guy Steve, before I was part of a crew I didn’t have the motivation to get gigs or create new routines. After being part of a Drag King group, I got inspired to start working on an idea I’d had forever. I also gained friendship, bromance, and community that had been missing ever since I’d moved to a new city - Sydney, Australia.
This process was unexpected but worked really well, and that opened the door to doing more gigs together and solo gig opportunities such as Heaps Gay, Sydny Kings, and The Drag Kings, as well as short films, photoshoots, community ad campaigns, and Mardi Gras parade floats.
Imagine if you were able to take your Drag King persona to the next level with ease and without life getting in the way - and your job being such an interruption to your Drag King pursuits. Without having a performance to work towards though, nothing gets done. This is such a common struggle among emerging Drag Kings.
This isn’t just my experience.
I have a really powerful story to share about Max’d Out. They were not a performer and never had any desire to be onstage or dance. In fact, they had a phobia of dancing. After starting Kings of Joy in April 2021, they wanted to continue. And they did. Two Kings of Joy All-Stars group performances and a Drag King solo coaching program later, they achieved their debut solo - an iconic routine of Tom Holland’s Umbrella which they said they never would have done. After participating in Kings of Joy, they have gotten a lot of confidence and have been able to express gender in diverse ways for themselves. In their words, they’ve met amazing people and have had a ball!
There are essentially 4 steps to achieving this transformation:
Step 1: Create your Drag King Persona
Step 2: Crafting Your Signature Look - makeup, costume, binding & packing oh my!
Step 3: Performance Essentials - lip syncing, stage presence, choreo & energy
Step 4: The Business of Being a Drag King - getting gis, kicking goals and building an online presence.
In this video, I want to deep dive into creating your Drag King Persona so that you can immediately boost your confidence in leaning into your masculine. More importantly, however, is that you will open yourself up to learning the other steps so that you can finally become the best Drag King you can be.
Character vs Persona
Draw on your own cultural heritage
- Dapper Gentleman: Elegance, refinement, and sophistication.
- Rebel Rockstar: Edgy, bold, and charismatic.
- Athletic Warrior: A mix of athleticism, strength, and warrior spirit.
- Wise Sage: An mystical embodiment of wisdom and knowledge.
- Gentle Giant: Big-hearted, kind, and a source of comfort for others.
- Extraterrestrial Explorer: Embracing the unknown, futuristic, and intergalactic elements.
Drag King name
- Do you resonate with your name?
- Please note, these examples of Drag King names have been invented by individual Kings of Joy and are already taken. They are examples only, please don't use them for yourself.
- Punny: Chase Cocks or Christain Values
- Alliteration: the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. Jim Junkie
- Draw on your own cultural heritage: Kaizer - means emperor in German. Tal Keshet ((Tal masculine/non-gendered, Keshet means rainbow) A Bang means…
- Use your Drag King’s profession: The tradie called, Night Shift or the cleaner, Glen 20, high tech guru Cyber Prince
- Use your Drag King’s hobby or likes: The basketballer called, Slam Spunk or the Ultimate Cat Daddy, Max Mews.
- Change or sexualise a historical figure’s name: Phallaxander the Great or John Howhard or Dumblewhore, Mick Shagger, Dildo Baggins
- Combine the names of inspiring or influential male figures: The lovechild of Boy George and George Michael - Boy Michael. David Blowie
- Food inspo: Slaychuan Peppa
- Take a well known saying or statement: Choking Hazard or Lincoln Bio
- Take a political stand or comment on cultural values: Trans Mission who’s mission is kindness
- Use the archytpe: The viking Drag King, Ragnor the Ravishing
- Thomas the Skank Engine Dandy Rawhole
- Personality: Jack of All Babes or
- Kink: Aftercare Bear
- Your profession
- Social life
- Lifestyle - how you eat, move, socialise, work
- If you had been assigned male at birth, who would you have become?
- Study male movement
So imagine for a second what it would feel like to have confidence as your Drag King persona and to come alive on stage. What would your experience be? What kind of impact would that have on your life off the stage - in your relationships?
Imagine that this is your experience. You are rehearsing regularly with your Drag King buddies and fall about laughing every time. Your Drag persona takes to the stage with his mates and the crowd whoops and hollers throughout the whole show. You get a standing ovation! Your group starts getting gigs to perform in shows around town. Your Insta following is growing and people love your Drag persona. This is so much fun! Then, as your confidence and experience grows, maybe you get your first solo gig. People come up to you at queer events and let you know how much they love your Drag King persona.
Getting from not knowing what to do next to being confident in your Drag King persona is absolutely possible for you. When you are able to lean into your masculine expression on stage then you can be confident in yourself as a Drag King and attract the gigs you want, the self-expression you want, and the freedom on stage that you want.
As you can tell, I just love sharing about gender, sexuality, and Drag performance. I’ve been coaching so many Kings of Joy about finding your inner Drag King and have received so much positive feedback. Lately, I’ve been getting so many questions that I've decided to offer an online program to bring together Kings from around the world.
This program is going to be specifically about taking your Drag King persona to the next level. It's going to go deep on each of those steps I just talked about.
There will be 5 weekly sessions starting on Friday 19 January (Or Thurs 18 Jan in North America/Europe). During each session, we will explore the 5 steps to mastering your Drag King persona. You’re also going to get additional resources and recordings to support your progress. All of this so that you can be confident on stage, lean into your masculine, discover the unique self-expression in your Drag King persona, and be 100% at home in your own skin.
Now, one important note… You do not have to do this alone. Think about it. How quickly could you do this on your own? It took me six years to come up with a Drag King name that I really loved. It took Gabriel Angel three years to really nail their Drag King persona. It doesn't have to take such a long time for you to master your Drag King persona.
So join me. There’s going to be a limited number of spots in order to really serve each King who joins me.
It’s going to be coming out very, very soon. Watch your inbox for an email in the next day or so when I open up registration for the very first Crown Your King: Mastering Your Drag King Persona. There will not be another program like this for months and it’s very likely the price will be going up next round.
So watch your inbox for this time-sensitive offer for Crown Your King. You don’t want to miss it!
The King Coach
P.S. Wanna be part of Kings of Joy? Click here to sign up for the waiting list.
Hello my friend, 🌈 I'm Danica Lani, here to empower you in your exploration of gender, sexuality, and performance. Known as The King Coach, I have proudly mentored, choreographed, and produced 102 first-time Drag Kings since December 2020 and built the uplifting Kings of Joy community. With decades of coaching and facilitation, I've led transformative workshops for hundreds of queer-identifying women, non-binary, and trans individuals, specialising in tantra within a queer context. My mission is that we can be 100% at home in our own skin.
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