International Drag Day: 10 Superstar Drag Queens From Around The World

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Today in International Drag Day—a good time to remember that though RuPaul’s Drag Race is a global sensation, other countries and cultures have their own drag superstars. Just look at international Drag Race stars like Bebe Zahara Benet and Courtney Act—not to mention all the girls from Puerto Rico!

Below, we celebrate 10 queens from around the world who are taking the art of drag in dynamic directions.

Logo salutes International Drag Day with a marathon of RuPaul’s Drag Race starting at 4pm.


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DuoRAW, Sweden

Engaged couple Duo-RAW, Ronny (Mr. RAW) and Andreas (Mrs. RAW), describe themselves as “seven-foot disco goblins.”

Andreas is a 24-year-old former professional swimmer in the Swedish junior elite team while Ronny, bored of working as a stylist go-go boy, just finished earning a masters in graphic design.

“You’ll see bits of Sharon Needles, Squeaky Blonde, Phillipe Blond, Leigh Bowery, Bane, Gaga, Marilyn Manson, Adore, GlitzGlam and a little Gareth Pugh in their looks, but the sum total, here, is one of complete originality,” says James St. James.


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Panti Bliss, Ireland

In February, 2014 Irish drag queen Panti Bliss blew away the Internet with an impassioned speech against homophobia at Dublin’s Abbey Theater, delivered a month after Irish TV network RTE paid out $118,000 to journalists who complained about being labeled “homophobic” on a nighttime talk show.

Bliss’ oration was called “the most eloquent Irish speech” in almost 200 years by drama critic Fintan O’Toole and she was praised by RuPaul, Madonna, Alan Cumming and Dan Savage, among others.

During the months leading up to Marriage Equality passing in Ireland, she urged politicians in the North to respond to the swell of support amongst Irish citizens. She’s currently backing the campaign for same-sex civil marriage in Northern Ireland.


Uriel Yekutiel

Uriel Yekutiel, Israel

Yekutiel’s gender-blurring eccentric caricature (he eschews the “drag queen” label) has landed him in nightclubs throughout Europe and South America, Pride parades around the world, and even on an Israeli sitcom. He’s also earned a following for his work with Israeli electro-pop group  The Young Professionals.


Lasseindra Ninja

Lasseindra Ninja, France

We fell in love with Lasseindra when she dressed up like Wonder Woman and got into a vogue-off against a Finnish dancer dressed as Sailor Moon.  Don’t mess with the House of Ninja!


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Verka Serduchka, Ukraine

Quite the chanteuse, Serduchka has sold more than 600,000 records in Ukraine and represented the country in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007, coming in second place.


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Jodi Harsh, England

This British queen named herself after topless model/UK reality star Jodie Marsh, and helped reinvigorate the London club scene in the 2000s with red-hot parties Foreign and Circus. “I don’t want to be a girl and I am not particularly feminine, I don’t wear false boobs and I rarely wear skirts or dresses.” Harsh told The Independent of her drag look.

“I would say that I’m a boy with loads of feminine qualities. My hair, my lips, my makeup, my shoes—everything is big, much bigger than a girl.”


Akihiro Miwa

Akihiro Miwa, Japan

This 79-year-old singer, actor, director, writer and composer first came to prominence in 1957, with an obscenity-laden hit “Me Que Me Que,” but shows little sign of slowing down. And her appeal is intergenerational, from her popular cabaret acts to voice work in Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and 2009’s Pokémon: Arceus: To a Conquering Space-Time.

“Miwa has carried on being a true monster, whereas many amazingly talented freaks have gone back to looking and behaving normally after enjoying a brief boom in popularity,” said noted dramatist Hideki Noda.


 

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Bassem Feghali, Lebanon

While Lebanon, like much of the Middle East, isn’t exactly receptive to the LGBT community, Feghali has garnered acclaim for his impressions of numerous Arab and international celebrities, actresses and singers (whom he impersonates without lip synching).

One year during Ramadan, Bassem had a daily show on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation in which he impersonated a different artist every day for a full month.


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Conchita Wurst, Austria

Since winning the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, Denmark, with her song “Rise Like A Phoenix,” Wurst, 25, has blown up: She’s appeared at London Pride and other LGBT celebrations, walked the runway for Jean-Paul Gaultier and even appeared on the cover of German Rolling Stone.


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Dame Edna Everage, Australia 

One of the grand dames of drag, Dame Edna was dreamed up by Barry Humphries (a heterosexual!) in 1955 and has done it all—film, television, books, Broadway, even performing for the Queen of England! Humphries announced he was retiring Edna in 2012, but decided to bring her back for a tour in 2013.

In April, she finally hung up her wig for good during her Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye: The Farewell Tour.



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