Today in International Drag Day—a good time to remember that though RuPaul’s Drag Race is a global sensation, other countries and cultures have their own drag superstars. Just look at international Drag Race stars like Bebe Zahara Benet and Courtney Act—not to mention all the girls from Puerto Rico!
Below, we celebrate 10 (5) queens from around the world who are taking the art of drag in dynamic directions.
Panti Bliss, Ireland
In February, Irish drag queen Panti Bliss blew away the Internet with an impassioned speech against homophobia at Dublin’s Abbey Theater, delivered a month after Irish TV network RTE paid out $118,000 to journalists who complained about being labeled “homophobic” on a nighttime talk show.
Bliss’ oration was called “the most eloquent Irish speech” in almost 200 years by drama critic Fintan O’Toole and she was praised by RuPaul, Madonna, Alan Cumming and Dan Savage, among others.
Shortly thereafter, “I’m on Team Panti” T-shirts raised nearly $17,000 for LGBT youth services.
Verka Serduchka, Ukraine
Quite the chanteuse, Serduchka has sold more than 600,000 records in Ukraine and represented the country in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007, coming in second place
Jodi Harsh, England
This British queen named herself after topless model/UK reality star Jodie Marsh, and helped reinvigorate the London club scene in the 2000s with red-hot parties Foreign and Circus. “I don’t want to be a girl and I am not particularly feminine, I don’t wear false boobs and I rarely wear skirts or dresses.” Harsh told The Independent of her drag look. “I would say that I’m a boy with loads of feminine qualities. My hair, my lips, my makeup, my shoes—everything is big, much bigger than a girl
Conchita Wurst, Austria
Since winning the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, Denmark, with her song “Rise Like A Phoenix,” Wurst, 25, has blown up: She’s appeared at London Pride and other LGBT celebrations, walked the runway for Jean-Paul Gaultier and is even rumored to be opening for Lady Gaga on tour.
Dame Edna Everage, Australia
One of the grand dames of drag, Dame Edna was dreamed up by Barry Humphries (a heterosexual!) in 1955 and has done it all—film, television, books, Broadway, even performing for the Queen of England! Humphries announced he was retiring Edna in 2012, but decided to bring her back for a tour in 2013. We hope the old gal never goes away.