What can drag do for me? The multifaceted influences of RuPaul's Drag Race on the Perth drag scene

Document Type

Book Chapter


Palgrave Macmillan


Originally published as:

Alexander, C. (2017). What Can Drag Do for Me? The Multifaceted Influences of RuPaul’s Drag Race on the Perth Drag Scene. In RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Shifting Visibility of Drag Culture (pp. 245-269). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. Original chapter available here


Anthropologist and documentary photographer Claire Alexander offers a unique perspective on the ways in which the reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race (RPDR) has influenced drag culture in the city of Perth, Western Australia. Using an ethnographic approach, Alexander explores the ideas and concerns of a group of local drag queens who entered the Perth drag scene at various stages in its development from 1983 to the present day. Alexander’s data indicate the value of using four critical lenses to explore how Perth drag has changed over the years, especially in its response to RPDR. Accordingly, the chapter draws primarily upon: participants’ personal history and inspirations; their general knowledge of drag history; perceived changes within the wider queer and non-queer community; and adaptations made by Perth drag queens to “new ways” of doing drag. Alexander draws from photographic images created throughout her research that depict queens local to Perth as well as contestants and winners of RPDR including Jinkx Monsoon, Yara Sofia, Milk, Latrice Royale, and Trixie Mattel.




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