True Story: I’m a Drag Queen

 
What it's like performing as a Drag Queen

This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/challenging/amazing things. This is the story of Ginger/Briceson and his career in drag.

Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Briceson Douglas Ducharme, I am 31-years-old and live in Denver, CO. I grew up in a small farm town northeast of Denver called Eaton, CO. I currently work for MAC cosmetics, paint, read, write and sleep in my spare time. I also love to go to movies, I have been to 90% of movies made in the past year and a half.

For those of us who don’t know, what’s a drag queen?
A Drag queen is a gender-bending illusionist. This can either happen when a man has too much fierceness and dresses like a woman, or when a woman has too much swag and dresses like a man. In both cases the drag persona lipsyncs and performs to major artists, sometimes even mimicking the artist they are performing.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about drag queens?
The biggest misconceptions of drag:
1. That all drag queens want to become a woman.
2. That we are all bottoms.
3. That we are all “femme” and can’t play sports or act like girls all the time.
4. That we are all bitches
How did you get your start in the business?
I ran for a pageant called Miss Gay Pride Youth when I was 17, I won that crown and am the first and only to go from being Miss Gay Pride Youth to Miss Gay Pride and win both as youth and adult. I have been doing drag ever since.
I’ve learned to perfect my skills, learn choreography, make wigs, sew outfits and raise a crap ton of money for those who need it more than I do. My first time in drag though was on my golden birthday, when I turned 14 on the 14th. That day changed my life and helped me be where I am today. I remember watching To Wong Foo and wanting to be just as glamorous as all the “girls” in the movie. I feel now that I have come full circle and am that girl.

How long does it take you to prepare to perform? What goes into your preparation?
Honestly, the time is a variance of what character, runway or avant-guard look I am going with. It can either be 45 minutes or a couple of hours depending on how detailed I need/ want to be.

Can you tell us about an average work day?
Are we talking drag or both? Hmm, usually I start work at the counter at 9 on a show day. I work until 6, doing everyone’s makeup and making them feel fabulous. Then I leave work, rush home shave like I’m cutting down the rainforest, pack my bag, (sometimes eat something), rush to the club, and paint (put my makeup on) like Michelangelo on crack. Then when it’s my turn, whether I am tired or not, I get on stage and TURN IT OUT!
You were a runner-up for RuPaul’s Drag Race – tell us about that!
I have auditioned for RPDR (RuPaul’s Drag Race) Every year from the initial season, and yet am still not on it. It’s been a very good journey for me honestly, I have evolved in my persona, I gained more confidence, and I have performed with the best of the best in my home terf.
Although I haven’t made the show yet, I am blessed to gain the knowledge experience and exposure that I have just from auditioning for that crazy amazing show. I really hope that one day I make it on the show so that I can voice my opinions, share my love for humanity, and slay the competition with my views and workings on drag.
How have your friends and family reacted to your career?
My mom and sister, and my in law’s (I just got married last June to the love of my life Aaron) are all hella supportive. I have an annual ball every year that I created to raise money for those with HIV/AIDS and my family has been there EVERY year for those shows as well as coming to major events that I have been apart of in the past. I am very lucky and blessed to be in the family I have.
What are the best parts of being a drag queen? The biggest challenges?
The most rewarding part of being a queen for me is being a voice in a community that isn’t always heard. I get to speak up for those who are less fortunate, raise money and awareness for those who might be too weak and am able to give a fierce fresh face whenever I go out.
The biggest challenges in life are always those around you with a negative energy that try to steal your thunder, inner light or your spotlight. Drag is a very competitive sport, (yes, I said sport) because eventually, you have to hang up your heels, just like a football player hangs his jersey. Queens aren’t always the nicest to one another, and even though we are all “sisters” you always have those who want to be on top, no matter what it takes. Those are the people I avoid at ALL costs.
What advice would you give to anyone who’s interested in doing drag?
MY advice is this, just because you can put on a wig, some heels and beat a mug (another way of saying putting on makeup) doesn’t make you a drag queen. A Queen is someone with heart, sophistication, humility, inner and outer beauty, and someone who can slay a song so full of emotion that time gets lost in the room for those few minutes that you are performing your soul out.
You see, you can be pretty, and everyone hates you, you can be mediocre and everyone loves you, and you can be average and perfect yourself inside and out, and always be on top. No one wants to work with a stuck up boy in a dress who thinks that they are the ‘ish and doesn’t realize but they aren’t. And yes so you can walk, talk and chew gum in heels.. SO WHAT! Be kind to one another, and help your sister, your community, and your world.
Thank you so much for sharing your story!  Do any of you guys do drag?  Any questions for Ginger/Briceson?
P.S. More True Stories you might like: I’m fat and happy & I’m a sex worker
main photo juan felipe rubio // post photos norman dillon photography

12 Comments

Anonymous

This was a super interesting read! Briceson is really kind and awesome in that he does something he's passionate about and helps others at the same time! That's pretty inspirational! Thanks for sharing!

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Kate

Queens. The sexiest. The fiercest. So brave. I will be at your show the next time I'm in CO!!

I'm curious if Briceson shares the same view as another drag performer I met – I asked him why he was doing this particular performance NOT in drag (a karaoke competition both he and I were in) – he said that his drag persona wasn't as personal to him as being himself.

Briceson, would you say that Ginger is an extension 'greater' than yourself, or a fully realized 'part' of yourself? Or, maybe more personal, how would you describe Ginger in relation to Briceson?

Thank you for sharing!!

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Jessica

This was really interesting; inspirational, funny (like Michelangelo on crack) and wise.
I hope it will be some time before you have to hang up your heels!

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Jessika Garcia

This was an amazing interview! My sisters and I look up to drag queens because they have so much confidence! If all young women could have as much confidence as a drag queen and lift each other up instead of tear each other down we would be so happy!

xo Jessika
Jessclassy.blogspot.com

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The Divine Miss Em

Loved this interview! When I was a kid, I wanted to be a drag queen. Then my parents had to explain to me that wasn't exactly how it worked. All I saw was fabulous, confident women who rocked it and lots of sparkles. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

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Angie Bailey

Such a fabulous interview!!! I've sadly never attended a drag queen performance (can be hard to find in Utah), but being such a huge part of the LGBTQ and gender bending community, I fall in love with the outfits, and make-up, and fucking SKILL of the performers. I hope I can actually attend a performance rather than watching online, sometime.

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Anonymous

I've been a transvestite since I was 13, I'm in my 70s now. I'm certain I could have had a successful career as a professional drag queen, having learned all the skills and makeup techniques of transforming my male persona to the image of a very alluring and seductive female. I was fortunate to be blessed with a rather androgynous slender body with broad hip, a nice full bubble butt and rather feminine facial features. I taught myself to do that OTT draggy style makeup exactly like the drag queen performers that are my role models. No one could possibly recognize me as the same person if I posted my pictures as my male self alongside my painted up drag queen image. With due diligence, I have refined and perfected my body language to feminine mannerisms, albeit a bit in the overt swishy exaggerated feminine style we queens are prone to. Like many queens, I'm a natural born exhibitionist that loves to flaunt her queenly ways. My only regret is that I was born fifty years too soon, when I came out of the closet no one had ever heard the term "Drag Queen".. Thanks to Ru Paul and other show stoppers, even kids in elementary school know what a DQ is. In many places, we are not the social pariahs we once were.
I'm delighted to see some of the DQ headliners making world tours and making a decent living doing what they love.

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