Nerdy drag artists highlight the intimate connection between drag culture and pop culture. References ranging from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Pokemon are elevated into stunning and campy fun looks.
Shows such as Rupaul’s Drag Race and Boulet Brother’s Dragula have made whole episodes out of pop culture references. Parodying Dungeons & Dragons and Get Out to name only two, these episodes show the potential of incorporating pop culture imagery into a queen or king’s look.
Among the wide selection of cosplay looks and makeup references, we’ve picked our top 9 nerdy drag artists.
Phi Phi O’Hara
The Queen of Cosplay herself! Phi Phi O’Hara changed the game for nerdy drag artists with her phenomenal 365 days of Drag challenge in 2016. If that wasn’t enough, she is back at it again with her stellar Harry Potter cosplay looks. Breaking away from being one of the most controversial queens since her appearance in Rupaul’s Drag Race, Phi Phi has elevated nerdy drag to a whole other level.
The world was left shaking after Florida Man’s performance of Voldemort lip-syncing to Arianna Grande’s Dangerous Woman. It is a sensational performance made all the better for the incredible Lady Voldemort look. Speaking to GCN, she described how this all came about: “I’d previously performed a different number as Lady Voldemort a few months back for a Harry Potter-themed drag show I organised. The character resonated well there, so I decided I wanted to continue exploring new material for Lady Voldemort.”
Tandi Iman Dupree
Tandi Iman Dupree dropping from the ceiling into the splits while dressed as Wonder Woman is the DC movie we all deserve. Lip syncing to Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For A Hero’, this performance is legendary. Tandi was performing at the Miss Gay Black America pageant in 2001 and her show has left us fangurling ever since.
Reigning Miss Nerd New York, Megami served Avatar: The Last Airbender realness at FlameCon 2019. The Ember Island Slay-ers was a phenomenal performance that showed Megami’s love for costuming and attention to detail. Not to mention her reenactment of the opening credits with the inclusion of a fan thwoorp is everything.
Queen of the Miami scene and the original Barbie Bodybuilder, Miss Toto has served looks from the Hormone Monstress from Netflix’s Big Mouth to Garnet from Steven Universe. She channels pop culture into fantastic looks, blending these references into wrestling stunts.
View this post on Instagram
AND WE’LL ALWAYS BE TWICE THE GEM THAT YOU ARE ????❤️ here are some clips from my #Garnet from #StevenUniverse number which is now on my @youtube channel! LINK IN BIO ✨ it was unreal to be able to bring one of my favorite characters from one of my favorite shows to life! #IMINLOVEWITHMISSTOTO ???✨
Since her time on Boulet Brother’s Dragula season 2, Erika Klash has gone on to showcase her exceptional nerdy looks. Bringing a whole new meaning to gaymer, she has drawn from Pokemon to create looks based on cubone, goomy, and bruxish to name a few. She is a queen who wears her nerdy side loud and proud.
View this post on Instagram
In honor of the first two (Pokémon-focused) episodes of Nerd Alert on Trish TV, here are some of my favorite Pokémon looks from all throughout my career. Some of these photos are pretty recent, some date back to 2014/2015 when my career was just starting. I am proud to be a nerdy drag queen 5 years in the biz, and proud to be a lifelong Pokémon fan. Watch the first two episodes of Nerd Alert with me and guest @rockmsakura on YouTube via @trishthedragazine TV! – Episode 1: Top 10 Dragalicious Pokémon https://youtu.be/qaprq-Rf3zM Episode 2: Top 5 Hottest PokéTubers: https://youtu.be/9SlZnpbjIsE – #erikaklash #dragula #pastelgore #pokemon #missingno #bruxish #marowak #lavendertown #zygarde #dragqueen #dragmonster #gaymer #cosplay #crossplay #magikarp #poketuber
Andro Gin would not look out of place as a cartoon villain and we are living for it. This drag king creates high concept makeup looks that blend a cartoony pop of colour with a dark side. He is every Disney Villain brought to life.
View this post on Instagram
?The year is 3309, the elvish mages have taken over, I’m still stunning and could probably put the game controller down cause Dragon Age Inquisition has me by the throat?♂️? — — the lovely folks at @raywigs sent this beautiful unit over (olivia in classic black) and ? it has so much volume and is super soft. Can’t wait to wear it out more often ? ✨ You can use the code “Andro” at checkout and get 20% off your next order ur welcomeee ✨ — — ⭐️products used⭐️ — @nyxcosmetics : Pore Filler Primer — @bennyemakeup : Clown White, Neutral Set Colorless, MagiCake Fantasy Palette, Precision Eyeliner in Ink Black and Gunmetal Gray, Lumiere Ultra Luxe Glitter, and Final Seal Setting Spray, — @strobecosmetics : Creepy Cute Palette — — . . . . . . . . • #drag #dragking #dragkings #dragkingsofinstagram #miamidrag #dragmonster #dragvillain #rpdr #dragrace #dragula #wlw #makeupartist #makeupart #mua #bennyecosmetics #nyxcosmetics #gothicfashion #miami #dragmakeup
The queen behind Kitty Power’s Matchmaker game series, Kitty created this fabulous dating simulation back in 2014. Breaking the fourth wall, Kitty is both an ingame character as well as an onstage performer. Creating a game to give people the chance to either be themselves or create a character that’s otherworldly is such a fun concept. It’s the answer to the question – what if the Sims was supercharged by rainbows and innuendos?
Hashtag Trashly is the reigning twitch streamer in drag. Playing anything from The Sims to Heroes of the Storm, she brings incredible looks each time she streams and is such a joy to watch. Plus her version of Drag Race in Sims form is hilarious.
There are our top picks for the best nerdy drag artists. If we missed any of your favourite nerdy drag artists, let us know!
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.