25 drag queens over 50 who are still turning the party

Here's our list of some of the most iconic drag queens over 50 still turning it out on gay bar stages around the world. 

Split screen of 3 drag queens over 50. From left to right, portraits of Lawanda Jackson, Dina Jacobs, and Shawna Brooks
Image: Instagram @legendsofdrag

Earlier this month, Kitten Kaboodle, a drag artist based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, became the oldest queen to ever appear on a Drag Race franchise at 57 years old, beating out the previous record holder, Charlie Hides, who was 52 when she walked onto the set of Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2017. The two are some of the very few drag queens over 50 to appear on the franchise. 

While the vast majority of drag artists, both kings and queens, working around the world today begin their drag careers in their 20s and 30s, a great number of drag artists have carried their drag careers for decades, with many working well into their 70s and 80s. To highlight the decades-long careers of some of the world’s unsung heroes of drag, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most iconic drag queens over 50 still turning it out on gay bar stages around the world. 

Barbra Herr, 67, The Bronx, New York
Blonde bombshell Barbra Herr has been kicking and strutting her way across New York City’s nightclub stages since the 1970’s. Born in the Bronx, Herr moved to Puerto Rico with her parents when she was 15. It was here that the legendary queen began working in theatre and drag. Since returning to New York in the 1980’s and beginning her transition, Herr has worked tirelessly as an advocate for the trans community.



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Chad Michaels, 52, Arcadia, California
Known as one of the world’s foremost Cher impersonators, Chad Michaels originally appeared on Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race before going on to snatch the crown in All Stars 1. Throughout her drag career, Michaels has appeared in drag on a variety of film and television sets, primarily as a Cher impersonator, including series like 2 Broke Girls, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and MADtv. 



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Charlie Hides, 59, Boston, Massachusetts
After a years-long drag career in Boston, Charlie Hides made her world-wide debut when she appeared on Season 9 of Drag Race. At the time, Hides was the oldest-ever queen to appear in the franchise at 51 years old. Today, at 59, Hides continues to turn the party, primarily as a comedian and impersonator. Prior to moving to the States, Hides began her drag career in London.



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Darienne Lake, 52, Long Island, New York
Having most recently appeared on All Stars 8, Darienne Lake began her drag career in 1990 in Rochester, New York, before appearing on Season 6 of Drag Race. In addition to her Drag Race appearances, Lake has appeared in series such as The Ricki Lake Show, where Lake discussed her experience as a plus-size drag queen. 


Dina Jacobs, 75, Houston, Texas
Dina Jacobs is a legend of the drag pageantry scene, having scored titles including Miss Gay Montrose USofA 2017, Miss Gay New England USofA Classic 2016, and Miss Illusion Continental Elite 2013, amongst others. Still working today, well into her 70s, Jacobs continues to compete in drag pageants across the US, most recently placing in the Top 5 of the 2021 Miss Continental Elite pageant. While we found plenty of working drag queens over 50, Jacobs is one of the few queens on our list working well into her 70s!



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Dolly, 54, Madrid, Spain
Dolly began working on the Madrid drag scene after appearing in a 1996 Spanish film titled Más Que Amor, Frenesí (Not Love Just Frenzy). In an interview with The Guardian, Dolly explained how the film altered her career trajectory from acting to drag: “The producers needed three actors to play drag queens and I was to be one of them. It was fun, but I assumed when we wrapped my time in drag was over. But the reception to the release was huge: the public and critics adored it. A few months later, I got a call from a drag and cabaret venue, asking if I’d perform in character. Why not, I thought. I brought my costumes from the movie with me.”



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Kelly Ray, 59, Durham, North Carolina
This drag legend has been competing in drag pageants since 1985 when she was 1st alternate in the Miss Gay North Carolina competition, a preliminary pageant ahead of Miss Gay America. While Ray might not have snatched the crown in her first pageant appearance, the queen has gone on to win titles at pageants including Universal Show Queen (1992), Miss Gay Showgirl (2014), and Miss Gay Heart of America (2016). 


Kitten Kaboodle, 57, Toronto, Ontario
Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Kitten Kaboodle made history this November when she became the oldest-ever queen to appear on a Drag Race franchise when she walked through the werkroom doors onto the set of Season 4 of Canada’s Drag Race. Now 57, Kaboodle began her drag career in 1981 when she snuck into a gay bar at 15 years old where a trio of trans drag queens introduced her to the art of drag. 



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Lady Bunny, 61, Manhattan, New York
The ever-iconic Lady Bunny began her nightlife career as a go-go dancer in Atlanta, Georgia, alongside RuPaul. In the decades since, Lady Bunny has become one of New York City’s most prominent entertainers and is famous for organising the first-ever Wigstock festival, an annual drag festival that ran from 1985 to 2005. In 2018 Wigstock was revived by Bunny with the help of drag-loving celebrity couple Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka. 



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Latrice Royale, 51, South Beach, Florida
She’s large and in charge, chunky yet funky, she is the bold and beautiful Latrice (mother-f*cking) Royale. Born in Compton, Los Angeles, Royale began her drag career in the mid-1990’s before going on to appear on Season 4, All Stars 1, and All Stars 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. During her time on the show, Royale opened up about her experience being incarcerated and her advocacy work campaigning to reinstate people with felony charges with the right to vote in Florida, where she now lives and works. At 51, Royale just cracks our list of drag queens over 50. 


Lavinia Co-Op, 71, Hackney, London
Beginning her drag career in the ’70s, Lavinia Co-Op got her start as a member of the famous BLOOLIPS radical gay theatre group in London. While the theatre group ran until 2002, Lavinia has made a career for herself as a club host, a comedian, and a theatre performer. Similarly, Lavinia travelled the world in the 1980s as part of legendary club promoter Suzanne Barsh’s ballroom tour, which brought Lavinia’s drag from Tokyo to Venice and beyond. 



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Lawanda Jackson, 61, Las Vegas, Nevada
This pageant queen began her career in 1979 when she won the title of Miss Rose Bud, a pageant for gay youth, in Oregon. Since then Jackson has gone on to win numerous titles, including, most prominently, Miss Gay USofA in 2012. Apart from her pageantry, Jackson is similarly known for her impersonation skills, impersonating celebrities like Tina Turner, Michael and Janet Jackson, Dionne Warwick, and Mary J Blige. 



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Lulla La Polaca, 84, Warsaw, Poland
Lulla La Polaca is Poland’s oldest working drag queen and the subject of the 2022 documentary Boylesque. Throughout her drag career, La Polaca has witnessed everything from World War II to the Warsaw Uprising and beyond. Coming from a country that has been less than kind to LGBTQ+ people, La Polaca has spent much of her career campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights in Poland. 



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Maisie Trollette, 90, St Ives, Cornwall
Born in 1933, this British drag legend has been performing for more than 50 years throughout the UK. In the 1960s, Maisie began experimenting with drag. Shortly after, her life partner suggested that she glam up her look a bit, saying that she looked like a “troll”. Maisie took the comment and used it to form her drag name, Trollette. Since then, Trollette has been a staple of the UK’s drag scene, having made regular appearances at Brighton Pride since 1973. 



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Minnie Cooper, 51, Sydney, Australia
Before beginning her drag career in her 30s, Cooper started out as a chorus singer in musical productions in Sydney. In 2016, Cooper followed in the footsteps of fellow Australian drag legend Courtney Act when she became a semi-finalist on the eighth season of Australia’s Got Talent. More recently, Cooper became the oldest queen to appear on a season of Drag Race: Down Under. Cooper, who was 50 at the time, was eliminated in the fourth episode of the series. 



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Mrs Kasha Davis, 52, Scranton, Pennsylvania
When it comes to drag legend Mrs Kasha Davis, there’s always time for kindness! Prior to appearing on Season 7 and, more recently, All Stars 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Kasha Davis got her start as a drag artist in Rochester, New York, alongside Drag Race alum Darienne Lake and Pandora Boxx. On her most recent Drag Race appearance, Davis spoke broadly about her struggles with alcoholism and celebrated having been sober since July 2015. 


Pandora Boxx, 51, Rochester, New York
Featured on our list alongside her Rochester drag sisters Darienne Lake and Mrs Kasha Davis is the 51-year-old Pandora Boxx. As a drag comedian, actress, and recording artist, Pandora Boxx has appeared on three seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, including Season 2, All Stars 1, and All Stars 6. Most prominently, Boxx was named Miss Congeniality of Season 2 after being called the “Susan Lucci” of the competition. 



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RuPaul Andre Charles, 63, San Diego, California
We simply couldn’t leave out the self-proclaimed “Queen of Drag” from our list of drag queens over 50. At 63 years old, RuPaul is perhaps one of the most famous drag queens to ever walk the earth. With a net-worth amounting to more than $60 million, RuPaul built herself up from the go-go scene of Atlanta, Georgia to the club kids scene of 1980’s New York City. Today, RuPaul sits at the head of the Drag Race empire, a franchise that has amassed at least 20 spin-off series since it debuted in 2009. 



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Shawna Brooks, 54, Atlanta, Georgia
The mother of Drag Race alumni Nicole Paige Brooks, Shawna Brooks is a legend of Georgia’s drag pageantry scene, having won the title of Miss Georgia Continental in 1991. Since then, Brooks has won titles including Miss Gay Georgia USofA (1992), Miss Gay Atlanta (1995), and Miss National (1999). 



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Tamisha Iman, 53, Birmingham, Alabama
Before she appeared on Season 13 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Tamisha Iman was a staple of Alabama’s drag pageantry scene. Most notably, Iman developed and led the Iman Dynasty, a drag house that has spawned as many as 78 drag daughters and relations including the late Tandi Iman Dupree and Drag Race alum Lala Ri. Iman was originally cast to appear on Season 12 of Drag Race, but was forced to defer her casting due to an ongoing battle with colon cancer. 



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Tempest DuJour, 56, Tucson, Arizona
The final Drag Race queen on our list is Tempest DuJour. Despite being the first queen to be sent home on Season 7 of the series, DuJour has been voted the Best Drag Queen by Tucson Weekly five years in a row. Outside of her career as a drag artist, DuJour works as a professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Theatre, Film, and Television. 



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Teryl Lynn Foxx, 65, New Orleans, Louisiana
Teryl Lynn Foxx is one of many drag queens over 50 who has taken the drag pageantry scene by storm. Foxx won her first title in 1992 at the Miss Gay Louisiana USofA pageant before going on to rack up more and more titles, including Miss Tennessee Continental (1996) and Miss Continental Elite (2016). Today, at 65 years old, Foxx lives her life as an out and proud trans woman in New Orleans, Louisiana.



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Witti Repartee, 50, Metro Area, Washington D.C.
Since 1997, Witti Repartee has been based in New York City’s drag scene, working with organisations like the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus, the Imperial Court of New York, and the Cycle for the Cause foundation. Throughout the course of her decades-long drag career Repartee has appeared at more than 500 events as a performer, a volunteer, and a guest of honour. More recently, Repartee has lent her talents and her advocacy to organisations like Delta Brotherhood International and Kaleidoscope Collaborations, of which she is a co-founder. 



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Darcelle XV, 92, Portland, Oregon
Closing out our list is the late Darcelle XV. While Darcelle passed away earlier this year, prior to her death she was the oldest living, working drag queen in the world – a feat that was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2016. Over the course of her 56-year-long drag career, Darcelle appeared as the Grand Marshal of the Portland Rose Festival’s Starlight Parade in 2011. The same year, Darcelle released their ground-breaking memoir, Just Call Me Darcelle


That concludes our list of drag queens over 50 that are still turning the party!

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