My love affair with drag 

I adore drag and I’m sharing some business lessons we can learn from it this week. I got to thinking about where this love affair came from. Here’s my story… 
Back in the mid 80’s I made friends with three people who came to the pub in Loughborough where I was working at to supplement my student grant. Oliver and Carole (names have been changed) were managing the pub and Richard lived with them. The story was that Oliver and Carole were in a relationship and that Richard was Carole’s brother. I liked all of them a lot. I spent a lot of time with them, drinking after hours once my shift had finished, and we got on well. I went out for drinks around town with both Carole and Richard separately and enjoyed the company of both of them. Richard and I got on particularly well and had a lot of fun. 
However, something didn’t quite add up about this brother, sister thing. I realised that they were telling lies. I twigged that Oliver and Richard were gay and in a relationship, and the sister story was a cover up. I was scared of letting it slip after a few drinks, that I’d twigged as I figured all three of them had their reasons for keeping the story going. Worried about saying anything and losing my job I went along with the pretence for a while. 
My suspicions were confirmed one Saturday night during a lock in. Richard and I were sitting on the floor in the DJ booth (yes it was a weird pub!) quite a few vodkas in, having a chat about my recent holiday. I asked Richard if he’d ever been camping and his reply was ‘not in a tent’!  There was also a conversation about something he’d done with his sisters, Carole didn’t feature in the story. That was the start of our lifelong friendship. Him and Oliver split up a few years later but Richard and I are still in touch almost 40 years on. 
There was a bit of a falling out between Oliver and Carole and the whole pub management thing fell apart the following year. Richard and Oliver moved back to Nottingham. I visited them a few times and decided I liked the city and would follow suit once I graduated. July 1988, I packed up all my worldly goods into cardboard boxes and moved in with one of their friends, Gary (aka Grace, a part time drag queen) who had recently split up with his long-term partner and needed a flat mate to help pay the rent. The flat was above a disused former sex shop in a rough part of town, not that far from the red-light area. (I’m not sure I ever disclosed that to my parents!) 
By this time Oliver was running a bar in town and gave me a job. All my friends had gone to London to make their fortunes. I was on my own, I didn’t know anyone except the people I worked with in the bar and the group of camp queens who were friends with Oliver, Richard, and Gary! I was ‘adopted’ by them and spent all my time in their company. The fondly referred to me as a ‘fag-hag’. I adored them all and particularly loved how quick witted they all were at throwing shade on each other. The banter was incisive, sharp, and very funny. It seemed we never stopped laughing. I have very fond memories of those carefree fun filled days. 

Celebrating self-expression 

I have been drawn to the aesthetically kitsch and high camp humour ever since. Which is where my love of all things drag comes from these days. I’m so pleased that it is becoming more mainstream and even the BBC are embracing the culture by showing Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK on the telly. Thankfully my husband is also a fan, and it is something we watch together. In fact, my stepdaughter got into it with us too a couple of years ago and loves the costumes and the make up. For Christmas presents, we all had tickets to DragCon, which was held at ExCel in London last weekend. 
WOW! What an event that was! It’s an expo of drag culture and celebrates the art of drag and self-expression for all. It was AMAZING! It’s billed as ‘the most inclusive party on earth – a safe place to laugh, dance and celebrate every colour of the rainbow’. There was a whole array of performances, meet and greets with the queens and stalls to shop at and of course, the people watching (my favourite thing to do ever!) was incredible. 
I realise that while drag is not everyone’s cup of tea there are business lessons we can take from the culture and I’m sharing a few with you this week. Buckle up… 

1. Reverse engineer your goals 

Getting into drag can take HOURS therefore preparation and planning is essential. There’s the make-up, costumes and wigs that are obvious and on show but there’s also a whole host of other stuff you don’t see that goes on behind the scenes before they get to strut their amazing stuff. It can be uncomfortable corsetry and extra padding to create curves. When you have a business deadline or goal in mind it makes sense to work the steps backwards to make sure you give yourself enough time to do everything required thoroughly and plan for every detail with due care and attention. 

2. Resilience and determination are key 

Everyone has a story. One of the things that I find really interesting about the queens are the personal stories and how  the majority of them have had to overcome adversity in order to be themselves and express their identity. In business things aren’t necessarily going to be plain sailing and there can be many bumps in the road. You have to be prepared to ick yourself up and dust yourself down to achieve what you really believe in. 
3. Stand out from the crowd. 
Drag is all about self-expression and being unapologetically extra. It’s about performance and amplification; ramping up aspects of your personality to put on a show. No good being a well-kept secret in business. Imagine you are at an expo with your business and want to draw attention to your business, what could you do to attract the punters while remaining on brand? 
4. Be inclusive 
Drag challenges societal norms and expectations believing that everyone deserves to be seen, heard, and celebrated. There’s respect for representation, diversity, and inclusivity. Now, as the FAB Business Club owner I’ve wrangled with this because I want the organisation to be inclusive, yet I exclude men from joining.  So I might say something like - I want to create a safe space for marginalised genders including women, women identifying individuals, and non-binary and gender non-conforming people who are comfortable in a space that centres around the experiences of women in business. There’s work to be done as we grow. How can you be more inclusive in your business? 
5. Celebrate your uniqueness. 
This is a big one for me, drag queens are shining beacons of empowerment. The whole culture is about the richness of human expression and is something I actively encourage all of us to embrace. It’s about not worrying about putting on  a show, being ‘professional’ and having a ‘business suit persona’  but gathering your tribe of fans who love what you do because of how you do it as opposed to anyone else. The whole ethos of my business is about inspiring my clients to tap into the truth of who they are and skyrocket their VIBE. 
Raise Your VIBE 
I’m delivering 3 x 30 minute live training sessions this week to get you started on embracing your uniqueness and raising your vibe,  17/18/19th Jan at 2pm in my Facebook group. You’ll have tasks to do and then on Monday 22nd Jan at 7.30pm there’ll be a Zoom call to help you pull the tasks together into a content strategy plan that works for you and your business. Register for it here. 
🦩It will help you connect at a deeper level with yourself AND your ideal client so that they are magnetically drawn to you and super keen to work with you because you'll be accelerating the know, like, trust factor. 
🦩You'll never be stuck for content ideas again, knowing exactly what you want to say to engage, educate, and inspire your audience so you're front of mind as the go to expert when they're 
🦩You'll have a structure to work with that will help you stay consistent with your promotional strategy and keep you on track while still allowing flexibility, creativity, and fit around what works for you and your business. 
I hope you’ll join me – in the meantime what would your drag name be? 
Take your grandmother’s first name and the last dessert/sweet you ate – I’m Trudy Panettone, pleased to meet you. 
Share this post:

Leave a comment: 

Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings