The other day I was thinking back to all the movies that inspire me as a drag queen. The ones that you channel to find your inner diva, that remind you of the power of drag queens or why you do what you do in life. I even watched one of my favorites that night. Then I thought why not share some with you. Get some popcorn ready!
#1. “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar” — Released in 1995
Drag queens trek across the country and break down in a small town. I only wish it were my hometown back in the 1990s. Save me now!
Best Moment: When Vida Boheme, played by Patrick Swayze, clocks the husband after he continues to abuse his wife and leaves her with a black eye. Vida nails him and simply flips her hair and tells him to get out.
My Favorite Quote: “When a gay man has way too much fashion sense for one gender he is a drag queen.”
#2. “Pretty Woman” — Released in 1990
The story of a businessman who falls in love with a prostitute. Like Cinder*fu@kin*rella!
Best Moment: Where Vivian, the prostitute played by Julia Roberts, returns to the high-end fashion store that had turned her away from shopping. She comes back with designer clothing on and her hands full of bags. “I was in here yesterday. You wouldn’t wait on me…You people work on commission, right? Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.”
My Favorite Quote: “I want the fairy tale.”
#3. “Paris Is Burning” — Released in 1990
Focuses on New York City drag queens in the black and Latino queer communities and the “house” culture of fashion, family, flamboyance and the elaborate ball competitions. Definitely a must-see documentary.
Best Moment: It’s toward the end of the documentary where the drag queen is talking about leaving something behind: an impression. Her wisdom is simple as an entertainer, a drag queen, a woman: “If you just get through it and a few people remember your name, then you left a mark. You don’t have to bend the whole world….if you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, then hooray for you.”
My Favorite Quote: “You don’t have to be biologically related to be ‘family.’”
#4. “The Birdcage” — Released in 1996
Gay cabaret owners pretend to be straight to impress the soon-to-be inlaws. By the end everyone ends up in drag on the catwalk.
Best Moment: You can’t teach a queer to be straight. But imagine John Wayne and you can be a man. “Get off your horse and head into the saloon.” One of my favorite scenes that pokes fun at masculinity.
My Favorite Quote: “Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I’m a middleaged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took me 20 years to get here, and I’m not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that. Fuck the senator, I don’t give a damn what he thinks.”
#5. “Clueless” — Released in 1995
This was the first movie date my husband Tommy and I went on. Being clueless is what makes it work 22 years later. I even have a replica of her yellow plaid jacket and skirt outfit.
Best Moment: The scene that defined a decade where Cher responds to unwanted attention from high school boys. “Ugh, as if!”
My Favorite Quote: “She’s my friend because we both know what it’s like to have people be jealous of us.”
#6. “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” — Released in 2017
The New York Police called her death a suicide, but the evidence says otherwise. A timely and haunting story of legendary drag queen and civil rights leader Marsha P. Johnson. The documentary came out this year in a time when trans deaths are still on the rise and little is being done. Everyone should watch this — no question.
Best Moment: There are so many. But I will not forget the scene where protesters are demanding justice for Marsha. The whole movie you learn just how much Marsha was loved, the impact she had on the lives of many in her community.
My Favorite Quote: “I don’t bite my tongue for nobody.”
#7. “Soldier’s Girl” — Released in 2003
Based on a true story, this is one of the best love stories of two people. When I first saw it, I loved every minute, and yet cry every time at the tragic ending.
Best Moment: Where they kiss and make love for the first time.
My Favorite Quote: “Does that make me a freak if I’m in love with a freak?”
#8. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” — Released in 2001
Born in a trailer park in a small town in Kansas, “internationally ignored” rock singer Hedwig shares her search for stardom and love. This movie hits home, as I’m from Kansas, and I loved every angry inch of it.
Best Moment: The music is really beautiful in this movie. The song “Origins of Love” where he performs with the animated drawings being split in two. Definitely my best moment!
My Favorite Quote: “I had tried singing once back in Berlin. They threw tomatoes. After the show, I had a nice salad.”
Drag Queen Tip: You can’t go wrong with any of these movies. Have a Netflix night!
SHOUT OUTS: You have heard of Black Friday, Cyber Monday? Giving Tuesday is Nov. 28 — a day for you to give back to your favorite local charities doing good work this holiday season. Go to ShareCharlotte.org to learn more.
info: Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs to fuck the binary (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her monthly Sunday drag brunch and regular Friday night party bus. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye