New book – Big Wigs: Stories of a Straight Girl in a Drag Queen’s World

Big Wigs: Stories of a Straight Girl in a Drag Queen’s World

Publisher description:

Author Heather Haneman has an obvious way with words. In her delightful debut book, she brings a smart, sassy style to the world of drag. Big Wigs: Stories of a Straight Girl in a Drag Queen’s World will entertain, enlighten and inform. For nearly twenty years, Heather has been a backup dancer in some of the most extraordinary revues imaginable. Not bad for a Missouri girl, an admitted “late bloomer” who thought that drag described the life of someone involved in professional auto racing. Then she arrived in Chicago. As a straight girl in a drag queen’s world, Heather has developed a saucy, street-smart attitude, along with an unblushingly provacative persona and an always energetic wit. She already had the breasts. Bigs Wigs is funny and flamboyant, but at its heart is an appreciation and respect for people, no matter what type of equipment that they’re packing. In the end, it’s an odyssey of humor and humanity. What a ride. What a read.

“In support of drag queens everywhere,” Chicago Sun-Times

The first time she was mistaken for a man — in a Dallas elevator during the Miss Gay U. S. of A. pageant — she was hooked. Soon she was dancing in competitions all over the country.

Nobody does “over the top” like a drag queen, says Haneman. “One minute we’re doing ‘Hairspray,’ now we’re doing ‘Evita,’ now we’re doing this crazy Cher medley. You kind of get lost in it. You forget it’s a female impersonator and you feel like you’re dancing with Cher, and that you’re this amazing celebrity.

“It’s so spectacular that it would be hard to give that up,” she says. “Another 10 years is probably it.”

Haneman, who grew up in a St. Louis suburb, has a daytime “nerd job” as a health club business director. She’s also graduating from Northeastern in December. She’s single, but she doesn’t fault the crowd she runs with.

“It’s a true test of people’s comfort and acceptance if you say, ‘I’m dancing in a drag show this weekend, wanna come?’ ” says Haneman. “At first, they’re a little confused by it. But if it’s a person of quality, they say, ‘OK, let’s check this out.’ ”

As for the book, she had assumed that gay men would be her target audience. But “the people who are most interested in it tend to be Midwest housewives and straight men,” says Haneman. “They have these misconceptions in their minds, that it’s seedy or X-rated.”

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