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Melissa Sleiman 21 Oct 2022

Lebanese Drag Queens Pay Homage To Arab Stars In Recent NY Times Feature

Lebanese drag queens have routinely used their art as a means of expression and to pay tribute to the many Arab icons that inspired drag culture.

In a recent NY Times feature, queens Andrea, Latiza Bombé, Zuhal and Diva Beirut talked about some major Arab stars on the intersection of queer and Arab culture who had been their inspirations.

Although the Arab region does not seem most friendly to queer or drag culture, these Lebanese queens were able to draw inspiration from their own surroundings. Before RuPaul’s Drag Race took the world by storm, queens looked to overdressed aunties at Lebanese weddings and major TV stars of the Arab world.

Lebanese queens worked to break the glass ceiling with little to no representation in the region, apart from comedian and drag artist Bassem Feghali.

Here are some of the stars that inspired the drag scene in Beirut.

Lady Madonna

Most known for her avant-garde fashion sense, it comes as no surprise that this Lebanese icon was an inspiration. There is no dull moment with Lady Madonna, from her charismatic personality to her showstopping outfits.

Here she is dressed as a literal Christmas tree.


When a drag queen thinks of Ramadan, they’re reminded of Sherihan’s famous Fawazeer, as she served multiple costume changes and elaborate outfits paired with lots of singing and dancing.

Over the top and radiating positivity.

Haifa Wehbe

Haifa Wehbe drenched in the rain wearing that red dress in her music video “Agoul Ahwak” in 2002 – that was a cultural reset. She embraced her femininity, a major inspiration to high femme drag queens in Lebanon.


Lebanese icon Sabah was known for her glamorous performances and over the top media appearances (what can we say, she loved the spotlight). Bassem Feghali was mostly known for impersonating the star, but many drag queens such as Diva Beirut have also expressed their love for Sabah’s forward personality and charisma.

To read the full article, click here!

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