“You gotta get stoned to stone,” Brooklyn’s Alotta McGriddles told Civilized. It’s the only way to get through something as tedious as hot gluing hundreds of jewels to a pair of leggings.
That’s just one of the many reasons why drag queens use cannabis.
Drag is taxing on the body, mind, and soul. Multiple nights a week, female impersonators tuck back their junk, duct tape a wig to their bare scalp, and jump around on stage, splitting and contorting their limbs in ways that no body should ever have to endure.
Drag queens always begin their night late, often not starting their sets until midnight, or in NYC, as late as 2 AM. For these hard-working performers, marijuana isn’t just a source of creativity — it allows them to keep performing day-in and day-out. It’s no easy feat acting like a fierce glamazon night after night. That’s why these queens need a little help from Mary Jane to keep them looking sickening (read: "incredibly amazing; excessively hot") at every gig.
We spoke to several drag queens around the United States about why they use marijuana and how it helps them werk. Here’s what these fierce-ass queens said, okurr!
Banner image: Biqtch Puddin', Pictured here: Sativa
Marijuana gets the creative juices flowing, hunty.
As any drag queen will tell you, it’s frowned upon to turn the same lewk nightly. Folks will undoubtedly clock a queen for wearing the same ol’ bodysuit with pleather high-waisted boots. The only thing worse than wearing the same outfit is performing the same number.
“I use weed in the creative process of coming up with a number,” Biqtch Puddin’ - the season 2 winner of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula - said. “I find that my best concepts come to me while I’m high in the shower, listening to my ‘most played’ playlist on Spotify.”
Boston-based queen JP also says that getting high sparks creativity, especially while on road trips with friends: "We open my YouTube Music app, shuffle, sing, and have a great time while thinking of funny mixes and good transitions and other gags to engage the audience.”
But smoking marijuana isn’t just good for coming up with new performances; it helps queens serve avant-garde lewks, too.
“I tend to sketch out better costume ideas when I smoke,” said Boujee Cherry, a queen from Portland, Oregon. "[Smoking marijuana] gets me focused on one thing instead of the million things that are typically running through my head."
Cannabis helps with physical pain, sis.
No amount of stretching can save your groin from jumping off stage into a splits while wearing 6-inch heels. Smoking weed helps these dancing queens do a death drop without actually dying.
“I smoke before I perform, not only to ease my normal body aches, but to make it easier to feel comfortable in 7-inch heels, six pairs of tights, hip pads, and duct tape,” Indika Haze explained.
The 32-year-old queen from Tacoma, Washington has a rare degenerative joint disease, which has completely eroded the cushioning cartilage that usually sits in-between joints. But joints, incidentally, are how she helps her joints. She smokes an average of two joints a day along with four bowls of flower and four dabs.
“Smoking weed is the only thing that makes the pain subside,” Indika said.
Cannabis has always been a medicine, even for the most notorious cannabis queen, RuPaul’s Drag Race legend, Laganja Estranja. It was the inspiration for her persona and for becoming a prominent activist.
“Female illusion is very hard on the body,” Laganja said. “From the spray adhesives to super glues to tucking tape, we put ourselves through so much to embody the perfect woman! Cannabis helps with the physical modifications we make to our bodies and alleviates the pain that comes with it.”
Marijuana lets them feel their oats.
From the moment a queen sashays into a club, she is on. She needs to slay the house down boots. Whether that means she’s reading queens to filth or taking a photo with an eager fan, she’s in character turning lewks and stunting pretty.
It’s assumed that all queens are naturally social butterflies, but that’s not always true. Smoking flower helps queens alleviate both social and performance anxiety.
“Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, you’re a drag queen, you must be able to talk to anyone!' LOL. No. Smoking helps me not overthink things. When I smoke, I can talk to anyone,” said Boujee Cherry.
Sativa, a 21-year-old queen from Seattle, said that smoking before a gig makes her performances feel more “natural.” “Performing in front of people can be nerve-wracking and smoking helps takes those nerves away," she added.
Sativa also enjoys the social aspect of smoking when the night comes to an end: “It gives me an opportunity to be around and chat with the other regular smokers, other cast members, and fans outside the show. It creates a nice social setting.”
When it comes down to it, we wouldn’t have our favorite queens like Laganja Estranja without cannabis. Or even worse… we’d have a Laganja without the death drops, and who among us would want to live in a world where she can’t crash down to the floor while tongue popping?
Marijuana contributes to what makes these girls sickening, so next time you’re out at the club, don’t just tip your queens, offer ‘em a hit.