Why Drag?

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Magnus Hastings has been photographing drag superstars for more than a decade and now his images have been collected together in this visually stunning coffee table book.

''Why Drag?'' has a strong emphasis on RuPaul’s Drag Show alumni with Courtney Act on the cover, while within there is a rollcall of talent − Bianca del Rio, Adore Delano, April Carrion, Manila Luzon, Milk, Sharon Needles, Miss Fame, Raja, Pearl, Violet Chachki, Darienne Lake, Ginger Minj, and many more. The only one missing is RuPaul himself! Several American legends of drag are also featured such as Jackie Beat, Lady Bunny, Sherry Vine, and Chi Chi Larue, and although the book’s blurb claims to feature the world’s drag queens, in reality they are almost all American − although somehow Vanity Faire from Sydney creeps in on the very last page.

There have been other books published featuring drag queens but ''Why Drag?'' is truly in a class of its own. This large format, beautifully photographed book features bold, colourful, and often witty images that highlight the personalities of the models. Props and settings are also often ingenious – Dulche de Leche delivers Tippi Hendren in ''The Birds'', while Adore Delano is the all-American girl at a McDonalds drive-in. These girls know how to pose and they bring the wardrobe, the make-up and the hair to maximum and outrageous effect! Hastings also asks all his models the same question, ‘why drag’? The answers are sometimes heartfelt, sometimes enlightening, or just the sharp witty quip we would expect − ''Because I like to wear pantyhose!''

Photography by Magnus Hastings

Hardcover (27cm x 31 cm), 224 Pages, Published May 2016  

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