The 10 Best Drag Queens Who Aren’t Really Drag Queens

BY MICHAEL MUSTO | It’s Pride month…a time to celebrate how integral drag queens are to the queer community for their humor, nerve, and facility with a mascara wand. Drag is so revered (if controversial) now that it’s become contagious to the point where there are public figures who seem like drag queens who aren’t even! But they might as well be. Here are the 10 best examples of this inadvertent gender bender phenomenon (though some of them are nothing to brag about):

An appropriately dressed Dolly Parton unveils patriotic nose art featuring her image on one of the 134th Air Refueling Wing’s KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. | Photo via, via; 2004 U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Kendra M. Owenby

DOLLY PARTON | The country queen famously quipped, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap,” which was the perfect drag queen thing to say. Her cartoonishly top-heavy looks rival Arnold Schwarzenegger’s and her frosted blond mountain of hair seems like something created by Carvel. What’s more, Dolly’s breasts prove that guys can focus on two things at once. For looking like she frequented a 1980s Times Square boutique while layering on a sparkly personality and self-effacing humor, Dolly is an honorary drag queen for all time.

CHER | Even more than Madonna, Cher has always struck me as a fabulous drag queen. Her eternally boyish body and seemingly baritone voice add to the sense that she’s either a man dressed like a woman or a woman dressed like a man. The time she played virtually all the characters, both male and female, in West Side Story—for a segment on a 1978 TV special—confirmed my suspicions early on, as did her equal aplomb with a Bob Mackie gown or a minimalist tomboy look. Long live Cher, whoever she is.

MELISSA MCCARTHY | Bawdy and funny, McCarthy did a flawless tribute to the late drag icon Divine in EW in 2011. She was so good at it, I wouldn’t even mind her playing Divine in a movie. And she sort of already has. McCarthy was Ursula in the live action The Little Mermaid (2023), a part originally based on…Divine! Adding to the movie queen’s drag queen cred, McCarthy famously got flattered by Barbra Streisand, who this April asked her on Instagram if she’d been taking Ozempic. The back handed compliment seemed very drag queeny, and so did the way the whole story grabbed gossip headlines, with Melissa playing along.

JOJO SIWA/MILEY CYRUS | JoJo, 21, was a bold young thing on Dance Moms and since then has had hit records and controversies, not to mention Goth/glam looks that make every day Halloween. And the openly LGBTQ entertainer wishes there was a genre called “gay pop”! Miley, 31, also went through a public growing up process, complete with various scandals, and has survived nicely, thanks to her self-determination and fashion fearlessness. Both stars strike me as rather forceful drag queens—or at the very least, women who’ve been influenced by them. And who influenced them right back! (Special mention to Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and of course Lady Gaga, who’s one of the world’s best-styled drag stars.)

EVERY KARDASHIAN AND EVERY REAL HOUSEWIFE  | Judging from their rotund lips—and asses—these gals go to the same doctors as various trans divas I know who do drag. They are enjoyably larger than life and have redefined what is acceptable as to the sheer volume of facial and bodily features. Put them on Drag Race already!

Fiddle-de-dee: Lindsey Graham’s chances at butchness are gone with the wind thanks to this popular meme of the South Carolina Senator as an antebellum drama queen. | Image courtesy of Michael Musto

LINDSEY GRAHAM | One of the funniest memes ever seen had an altered photo of the South Carolina Senator as the silly, endlessly swooning Aunt Pittypat from Gone with The Wind. The abundant curls, the lace trimmings, and the disapproving look in the eyes all fit “Lady G” to a tee. Whenever I glance at that photo, I hear Glinda singing from the same year’s The Wizard of Oz: “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” All that’s missing is the proper footwear for the constantly self-contradicting politico: flip flops.

RON DESANTIS | And speaking of footwear: For such a flaming homophobe—who seems to think drag queens are more dangerous than neo Nazis—the Florida Governor sure likes to doll himself up. Those high heels he wears are more elevated than anything they used to sell at the drag/trans boutique Lee’s Mardis Gras. And then there’s that weird tongue darting and awkward smile thing he does. One suspects that the lady doth protest too much. I hereby pronounce him Rhonda Santis.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE | The very special lady of Donald Trump Jr., Guilfoyle thinks nothing of taking the stage at various GOP events so she can shimmy around like a Hooters waitress looking for tips. The hunger for attention—and money (she famously demanded and got $60,000 to speak at the bogus Stop the Steal rally in ‘21)—makes her a sharky looking drag queen whose shellacked nails are either scarily glamorous or glamorously scary.

SARAH SANDERS | Not all drag queens are ravishingly sexy. There’s always the oddball one who shops at Holly Hobby and seems to pick her ensembles in total darkness, just for the hell of it. With her picnic table dresses and patronizing smirk, the Arkansas Governor is the kind of drag queen we like to leave behind, to clean up the mess after we’ve all partied. Someone has to do it.

And speaking of parties…have a gratifying and safe Pride, everyone. And let’s stick to applauding the real drag queens from now on.


For More Michael Musto on the Topic of Drag Queens, Click on the Below Links

Happy Pride! Here’s Why Drag is Important!

The 100 Best New Drag Queen and Drag King Names!

100+ More Fab Drag Queen and Drag King Names!

222 Drag Queens I’ve Met: A Glittery List of Gender Benders

The 150 Best New Drag Names: Try One On!

Photo of Michael Musto by Andrew Werner.


Michael Musto is a columnist, pop cultural and political pundit, NYC nightlife chronicler, author, and the go-to gossip responsible for the long-running (1984-2013) Village Voice column, “La Dolce Musto.” His work appears on this website as well as and, and he is writing for the new Village Voice, which made its debut in April of 2021. Follow Musto on Instagram, via @michaelmusto.



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