Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places and I’m currently sourcing life lessons from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Each season starts with a group of drag queens who compete for the chance to win $100,000 and the title of America’s Next Drag Star. It’s America’s Next Top Model with bigger lashes and a truckload more shade.
The show has actually taught me a lot so check out the five life lessons that I learnt watching this cult favourite:
Get feedback from a Panel of Peers
Like most reality competition shows, the queens face weekly critiques from a judging panel that is as catty as it is glamorous. These experts expect the best and have short thrift for the excuses that come when contestants are faced with feedback they can’t reconcile with. What makes Drag Race so special is that, post-panel judging, you get to see the other contestants help each other understand their individual critiques. Often this additional support is invaluable in helping each queen fulfil her drag destiny.
LIFE LESSON: We all expect the be given feedback from our seniors but it’s just as important to consider the perspective of trusted peers. The people that work with you daily will know you best, warts and all. They will also have more patience for your reasons why. Even if it is just to listen to your woes, empathise and ultimately tell you to build a bridge.
Try to broaden your horizons
For the uninitiated, it may come as a shock to find out that there is more than one type of drag queen. There are look queens, character queens, pageant queens and dance queens. The most successful contestants are often those who challenge themselves to borrown from other queen genres.
LIFE LESSON: Hone the skills that come naturally but don’t let them be all you have in your armoury. Fortify your natural abilities by switching things up with new skills and experiences.
All or nothing
A half-hearted effort is a recipe for disaster! There have been too many challenges where a contestant will be so confident in their abilities that they don’t push themselves. Only to end up in the bottom three because their competitors worked harder.
LIFE LESSON: Confidence is great but it’s not a reason to rest on your laurels. If you think you can do something well with little effort. Consider how astonishing you could be with enough time and work to perfect it.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone
Too often I have watched a fabulous queen unravel because they’ve compared themselves to another and come to the conclusion that the other contestant is prettier, funnier, winning more challenges. In doing so, they focus on all the things they don’t have and lose sight of their own qualities that landed them on the show in the first place.
LIFE LESSON: Looking at others can be useful for inspo or motivation but don’t let their success make you feel down. We each have our own merits and there is space for everyone to win.
Be bold and go for what you want
Every season there are queens competing despite their self-doubts. It could be worries about their runway walk or insecurities about a speech impediment but there they are, doing it anyway.
LIFE LESSON: We all have dreams and things we want for the future but they can’t come true unless we go for them! My least favourite learn but the most important.
It’s unlikely that you will be in a workplace lip sync battle because you wrapped a piece of fabric around your waist and called it a costume. However, it’s so important to keep yourself open to receiving inspiration and knowledge from anywhere!
Words by Ife Adedoyin