Sierra Santana, left, and her drag child Buff Faye. Photo Credit: Tommy Feldman, Tyvola Design

Mothers are special. It shouldn’t take Mother’s Day, which we celebrated in mid-May, for us to remember that. And for drag queens, it is always important to remember your drag mothers too. These are the drag queens who helped you be who you are today.

My drag mother is Sierra Santana, the big, the blonde and the beautiful. She retired from doing drag in 2014, but she had been doing drag for 20 years. She worked at all the clubs in the Carolinas, including O’Henry’s, Scorpios, Club Cabaret, Scandals, Oleens, Patricks and Chasers. She first put me in drag in 2007 for the Miss Crown Royal Rugby Pageant for the Charlotte Royals Rugby Football Club fundraiser. And I won! Buff Faye was born. That’s one way to give birth to a drag queen, I guess.

Even though I missed Mother’s Day with my column, I wanted to share some of my drag mothers “rules for being a drag queen.” This sage advice is for new and old drag queens alike.

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12 Rules for Being a Drag Queen

1. Be yourself. Drag queens are like snowflakes. No two are alike.

2. Don’t be just a Diva. Feel your oats and be the queen. But also be sure to keep your head about you. Nobody likes a bitchy queen who doesn’t appreciate others.

3. You stand in the heels of others. Don’t F@&% it up! Remember that drag has a long history. You are part of influencing the art form for the future. Take that responsibility seriously.

4. Keep it professional. Be a person of your word. Show up for bookings and be sure to show respect for other entertainers. Tomorrow your popularity could be gone.

5. Originality is hard to come by. Be a showstopper and keep your drag fresh and unique. Don’t do what all the other queens do. Forge your own way and deliver your point of view.

6. Go all the way, Dancing Queen. No matter your size or ability, put everything you have into your drag performance. Dance, jump, roll…whatever you got, give it your all.

7. Find your staying power. Is your performing as a drag queen going to last? Find out if this is a hobby for you or if you have what it takes to be a career queen. Both are respectable; just realize you have to have longevity and change with the times to stay relevant.

8. Break the boundaries. Be a rule breaker. Follow your own lead, and do things your own way. It’s okay to go against the grain.

9. Don’t be afraid to fall down. Make mistakes, whether you’re new or old. That is part of growth as an entertainer. Nobody has been successful without some failure.

10. Pretty is nice too. Drag is a personal expression. Fishy is good but not everyone has to be fish to be a queen. You can express across a spectrum of  gender.

11. Mind your business. If you want to be successful financially, you must treat drag as a business. Invest in your hair, costumes and performances. And chill out on all the drag drama.

12. Shine bright. Inside you are a star. Never forget that, and sell that to the crowd.

Well, 10 years later, my drag mother has not only shaped who I am today, but also given me tons of advice. Just like with a real mother, sometimes you listen and sometimes you have to learn the hard way. Her teaching me these 12 rules is just one of the reasons why I love my drag mother — Sierra Santana. Love you, Momma!

DRAG TIP: Paint for the back row!

SHOUT OUTS:  Don’t forget we are having  Buff Faye’s “Country Hoe Down” Drag Brunch at noon on Saturday, June 10 at Pure Pizza off Central Ave. And please come out to a special benefit on Monday, June 12 at 9:30 p.m. at The Bar at 316, and show your love one year later for the loved ones lost at the Pulse Orlando shooting. More information is available online at

info: Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs to make her Drag Momma proud (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hotspots. Plus don’t forget her monthly Sunday drag brunch and regular Friday night party bus. Learn more at Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye

Buff Faye

Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs to help save the world from Republicans (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her monthly...