20 Dazzling Drag-Queen Portraits Showcase Intriguing Alter-Egos


Plenty of women feel transformed when they put on their faces in the morning. A little makeup, like lipstick, mascara and foundation, for instance, can magically make us act as if we’ve gone from drab to fab on the outside despite how we feel underneath with just a few brush strokes.

Drag queens — men dressing as ultra-glamorous women — also go through a metamorphosis in order to go from he to über-she. Photographer Leland Bobbé‘s Half-Drag . . . A Different Kind of Beauty series (which we first saw on the New York Daily News) explores the male and alter-ego female side of some of New York’s most famous drag queens “in order to explore the cross over between males and females and to break down the physical barriers that separate them,” Bobbé says.

There’s no digital fancywork involved in the portraits — each subject is completely transformed into a queen on one half of the face while the other shows the male side.

The photos are half-glamorous and entirely and fabulously riveting. Take a look:

  • Half Drag . . . A Different Kind of Beauty 1 of 21
    Half Drag . . . A Different Kind of Beauty
    By photographer Leland Bobbé
  • Azraea 2 of 21
    According to photographer Leland Bobbe, "These images are a series of portraits of drag queens in half-drag."
  • Crystal Demure 3 of 21
    Crystal Demure
    "With these images my intention is to capture both the male and the alter ego female side of these subjects in one image in order to explore the cross over between males and females and to break down the physical barriers that separate them."
  • Epiphany Get Paid 4 of 21
    Epiphany Get Paid
    "This in turn questions the normative ideas about gender and gender fluidity."
  • Heidi Glüm 5 of 21
    Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 5.09.41 PM
    "Through the power of hair and makeup these men are able to completely transform themselves and find their female side while showing their male side simultaneously."
  • Honey LaBronx 6 of 21
    Honey LaBronx
    "These are composed in camera and are not two separate images digitally composed."
  • Jessica Payge Daye 7 of 21
    Jessica Payge Daye
    "Half-Drag offers a unique perspective on the men behind the make up."
  • Jordan Fox 8 of 21
    Jordan Fox
    Half-Drag also provides "provocative social commentary on gender identity, normative ideas about gender roles, and the traditional male/ female paradigm."
  • Kittin Withawhip 9 of 21
    Kittin Withawhip
    Bobbé says his "influence comes more from a state of mind fueled by rock and roll, Miles Davis and great films."
  • Maddelyne Hatter 10 of 21
    Maddelyne Hatter
    "A boldness and simplicity runs through my work," according to Bobbé.
  • Magnolia Applebottom 11 of 21
    Magnolia Applebottom
    "In all of my portraits, although the subjects vary greatly, I always direct them in a similar way; which I think reflects my personality."
  • Miss Fame 12 of 21
    Miss Fame
    "I find that the photos that might make me a bit nervous and uncomfortable to shoot are often my best."
  • Pattaya 13 of 21
    Bobbé's photographs "tell more than they are showing."
  • Pusse Couture 14 of 21
    Pusse Couture
    "Images delve beneath the visible surface of the world we see and provide a glimpse of a hidden dimension that lies beneath."
  • Roxy Brooks 15 of 21
    Roxy Brooks
    "Like a poker player that blinks, each image has a 'tell' . . . a crack in the facade that allows us to delve more deeply into the psychology and inner workings of his subjects."
  • Sabel Scities 16 of 21
    Sabel Scities
    According to the New York Daily News, "Bobbé first came up with [the Half-Drag] idea after meeting drag queen Sabel Scities at a carnival-themed Workbook party. This shot was the first in his series of half-drag photos, and the response to the photo caused the photographer to delve further into the idea."
  • Sherry Vine 17 of 21
    Sherry Vine
    "I got great feedback on the image so I decided to reach out to other drag queens using Facebook as my main means of communication," Bobbé wrote on his blog.
  • Stormy Weatherz 18 of 21
    Stormy Weatherz
    The drag queens in Bobbé's series all hail from New York.
  • Tara Miso Rice 19 of 21
    Tara Miso Rice
    Each queen did her own makeup for the shoot.
  • Vikki Villianese 20 of 21
    Vikki Villianese
    The queens use 'the power of hair and makeup to completely transform themselves and find their female side while showing their male side simultaneously."
  • Vivienne Pinay 21 of 21
    Vivienne Pinay
    For more of Leland Bobbé's work, visit his website.

All photos used with permission from Leland Bobbé

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