A leading agency which has taken on a number of drag queens after appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race has revealed how they can make up to six figures after the show.
Jacob Slane, an Associate Manager at Producer Entertainment Group (PEG) and David Charpentier, the founder of PEG, told Billboard that with the right music, march and tour deal some queens can earn upwards of six figures.
Miss Peppermint, the semi-finalist of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9
PEG works with a whole host of queens who rose to fame after their stints on Drag Race including Alaska Thunderfuck, Bob the Drag Queen, Jinkx Monsoon, Katya and Peppermint.
Slane explained: “When touring, recording, merchandise and endorsements are factored in, top queens are earning in the low to mid-six figures annually. Some even higher.
“Having an experienced team behind them to cultivate the best deals makes a big difference, obviously.”
He added that being able to launch huge careers for the queens he works with is largely due to shows like Drag Race moving into pop culture.
“The larger industry is just starting to catch up and see the entertainment value and commercial value of these artists,” Slane noted.
Charpentier said that the industry’s attitude towards drag queens had quickly changed as just a few years ago queens were often asked to release music as males.
“When [PEG] was starting, nobody in the industry was taking them seriously.
“I remember music meetings where we would take artists in to meet with a label or a radio promotion company and they would say, ‘This music is great. But can you release it as boy or not in drag?’ This wasn’t very long ago.” Charpentier added.
Since acceptance has grown, the demand for drag queens and their art is booming.
Charpentier went on to explain that the industry still has room to grow though, as many queens have their sights set on “global domination”.
“As big as drag feels right now, we still have a long way to go,” said Charpentier. “The plan for us and a lot of these queens is global domination.”
Bob the Drag Queen
Slane added that currently, a top drag performer could easily fill a mid-sized venue and anybody familiar with the performance industry predict that drag is “lucrative”.
He said: “A top drag performer in today’s market is working in mid-sized venues around the world, between 2,000-5,000 capacity, up to six nights a week.
“For group tours, it can be bigger. Anyone familiar with the touring industry can do the math: drag has become a viable, lucrative entertainment career path.
“However, it is still crucial for an artist to have professional, qualified representation that understands this very specialized market.”
Charpentier added that the bigger the drag industry grows, the more freedom queens will have with their art on stage.
He said: “It’s great for the queens because they have a much bigger stage that they can present their art on. And much higher quality in terms of sound and lighting and video and everything. It’s a much better platform for them.”
Slane added: “Our whole philosophy is that drag, as an entertainment form, has as much commercial value as other established areas of entertainment.
“It’s an art form that we have been celebrating for awhile. It’s really nice to see the entertainment industry, which overall is still pretty conservative, slowly, over time realize the commercial value of these artists.”