13 of the Best On-Screen Women in Drag


In continued celebration of International Drag Day, we’re listing some of our favorite movie and TV characters who donned some menswear, cut their hair and momentarily went over to the other side. Whether it was for a job, an education, a spot on the soccer team or survival, these women took on the challenge of convincing the crowd they were men, even if it was for a moment of performance and titillating enjoyment.

*Note: Dressing in drag is not the same as being transgender.*

Barbara Streisand in Yentlyentl

Not only did Babs star in this 1983 film, she directed and co-wrote it, too. As Yentl, Barbara played a young Jewish girl who dressed as a boy to be able to go to school. She wanted to get LEARNED!

Marlene Dietrich as Amy Jolly in Moroccomarlene

Amy Jolly is a nightclub singer with swagger in this 1930 film. The top hat is part of her act, but the bravado is all her.  

Imogen Stubbs as Viola/Cesario in Twelfth NightMSDTWNI EC008

Viola poses first as her twin brother and later as a page to try and get out of marrying the Duke. But “trouble” arises when Countess Olivia finds herself crushing on Cesario. Like it’s such a terrible thing for Helena Bonham Carter to want to kiss you.

Kelly Lynch as Ivan on The L Wordivan

Ivan took his drag very seriously, and was ready to perform at the drop of a dime. Sadly, he didn’t like Kit dropping by unexpectedly, and we didn’t see much more of him after helping Kit buy The Planet.

Rachael Stirling as Nan in Tipping the Velvet


Nan wins over Kitty because, well, Kitty broke Nan’s heart. They were both “mashers,” but Nan was the one we felt (and fell) for.

Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs in Albert Nobbskbobbs

If you’re a single, middle-age woman in 19th century Ireland, your best bet at finding work is as a man. That’s exactly what Albert did, and he took his job very seriously.

Lady Gaga as Jo Calderone at the MTV VMAs

2011 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

More of this, please. Lady Gaga’s male alter-ego was our favorite part of the VMAs that year.

Mulan as Ping in Mulanmulan-drag

When Mulan goes to war as a soldier named Ping, she learns how to “behave like a man,” but it’s her true spirit that made it weird for us to crush on a cartoon character.

Julie Andrews as Victoria Grant/Count Victor Grazinsk in Victor/Victoriavictori-victoria

When people don’t hire you as a female performer, you recreate yourself. Note: This only truly works if you are an androgynous babe like Julie Andrews and are part of a Hollywood musical.

Kristin Davis as Charlotte on Sex and the Citysatc-drag

Otherwise known as the episode Charlotte let a guy put a sock in her pants so he could take a photo and then make out with her while she wore a mustache.

Janet McTeer as Hubert Page in Albert Nobbsanobbs

Hubert and Albert become buds and bond over their shared plight of lying about their true gender to the world. They both feel like they have to hide, and it’s a really sad movie but Hubert helps make the ending not hurt so bad.

Joyce Hyser as Terry Griffith in Just One of the Guysjustone

Sometimes you have to dress in drag for journalism. That’s what Terry Griffith did, but it complicated things for her when she had a girl at school trying to sleep with her while Terry herself found herself falling for her new dude BFF. 

Amanda Bynes as Viola/Sebastian in She’s the Manstm

In this updated version of Twelfth NightAmanda Bynes gets a super dykey haircut so she can join the dude’s soccer squad. But then she wants to do it with teammate Channing Tatum and her real brother comes back to town, so she has to come clean. Don’t worry—it worked out for Viola in the end. 

Who is your favorite on-screen character who went all out in drag?

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