Fiercely You: Be Fabulous and Confident by Thinking Like a Drag Queen

We all want to be fabulous. But too often we let fear and self-doubt derail us from pursuing our passions and accomplishing our biggest goals. This was the situation Jackie Huba found herself in. At the lowest point in her life she serendipitously stumbled upon the wonderful world of drag queens, and to her surprise, she found them inspiring and energizing. They were supremely confident, utterly fearless, strong, powerful, and unabashedly and completely themselves—no apologies, no compromises. So she immersed herself in the world of drag, eventually becoming a female drag queen herself: Lady Trinity.

Fiercely You: Be Fabulous and Confident by Thinking Like a Drag Queen is a creative, playful approach to the serious problems that women face regarding confidence and risk-taking. Drawing on her own experiences and interviews with the world’s top drag queens, Huba offers five Keys to Fierce that will help readers find the courage to ignore criticism and live the life they truly want to live every day—no wigs or stilettoes required.

  1. Create Your Drag Persona. Consciously create the person you’ve always wanted to be.
  2. Always Look Sickening in Everyday Drag. Dress for power.
  3. Strike a Pose and Embody Your Power. Use power posing and physicality to instill inner confidence.
  4. Tell Your Critics to Sashay Away. Quiet both inner and outer critics.
  5. You Better Werk! Take small risks to propel yourself to taking even bigger ones. 

This is not a guide to drag, it’s a guide to life—but in a sense, all life is drag. As RuPaul, the most famous drag queen in the world, says, “We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.” Jackie and her coauthor Shelly Stewart Kronbergs—who explains the psychological research that supports each of Huba’s keys—help readers bring to life the amazing person they see inside their heads and feel in their hearts. Jackie and Shelly warmly invite readers to join a community of people who support and empower each while learning about boldness and bravery from the best in the business: drag queens

Top drag queens featured in the book include Adore Delano, Jujubee, Latrice Royale, Trixie Mattel, Phi Phi O’Hara, Derrick Barry, Katya Zamolodchikova, Laganja EstranjaCourtney Act, Shangela, Yara Sofia, Miss Fame, Coco Montrese, April Carrion, Joslyn Fox and Cynthia Lee Fontaine.

The book is available in paperback (includes b/w photos), ebook (includes color photos), and audiobook.

"A fun, insightful read that takes readers in surprising directions."

—Library Journal

“When you become the image of your own imagination, it's the most powerful thing you could ever do.”
—RuPaul

“By weaving together critical research, compelling examples, and lively storytelling, Fiercely You shows us how to bring our boldest, most fearless selves to any challenging situation. This book is a game changer.”
Claire Shipman, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Confidence Code

“Bold. Brave. Courageous. Confident. The real-life characters in Fiercely You astonish and motivate readers to stop worrying and start werking it.”
—Lisa Grimm, Global Associate Director, Social Media, Whole Foods Market

“Jackie Huba and Shelly Kronbergs aren't just fierce, they're wise. The message at the center of this book is one of empowerment, attitude, self-discovery, and freedom. Anyone can be as fierce as a drag queen! Paint those lips fire-engine red and you're halfway there. These sharp, sassy ladies will take you the rest of the way.” 
—Jill Alexander Essbaum, author of the New York Times bestselling novel Hausfrau

Fiercely You is an inspiring book that provides a creative yet clever approach to being our most confident selves.” 
—Anne Murray, Senior Director, Marketing Communications, Southwest Airlines

“Who knew that the answer to women's problems with self-confidence would come from drag queens? Jackie Huba did—and she explains it all in her groundbreaking book, Fiercely You.
Liz Bullock, Director, Digital and Paid Media, Rackspace

Fiercely You is an inspirational book that takes the reader through a journey of self-discovery. The authors share strategies to eradicate self-doubt and embrace all aspects of life with authenticity, joy, and confidence, rather than fear and uncertainly. It's a must-read for all ages!” 
Kathryn Ferguson, Senior Director, Marketing, SAP Americas

“Jackie has done it again! She has turned drag queens into role models for every woman by making new and surprising connections. This is truly a guide that all women can use to build their own confidence and perform fearlessly in their many life roles.”
Jennifer Hughes, Global Director, Social and Community, Electronic Arts

Fiercely You is your ticket to finding and setting free your playful, badass, bold, beautiful self. Step back, Jack. Jackie Huba's got one helluva ride for those who are ready to start expressing the version of themselves they've always wanted to be.”
Victoria Labalme, performing artist, performance coach, and founder of Rock the Room

Fiercely You is for every woman who has ever daydreamed about what she should have done or said. This inspiring yet practical book provides an action plan on how to live your life with greater confidence.”
—Virginia Miracle, Chief Customer Officer, Spredfast  

“Hilarious and courageous, Fiercely You is the new how-to guide for women to build self-confidence and realize their true fabulous selves. Highly recommended!”
—Gemma Craven, Senior Vice President, McCann

Fiercely You is a step-by-step powerful guide for women to learn how to be a force to be reckoned with. Using inspiring stories, Jackie and Shelly show us that we have the confidence inside to be whatever we want in this world. Just take the stage!”
—Kathie Jones, Global Controller, frog

Fiercely You provides lessons anyone can take away on how to be strong, bold, fierce, and in control of your life, every day. It's a personal power development tool I would have loved to have had twenty years ago, when just starting my career.”
—Stephanie Pfeffer Anton, Executive Vice President, Luxury Portfolio International

“A wonderful combination of a personal journey, glittering (and fierce) examples, sound research, and delicious process, Jackie Huba's Fiercely You provides women with a fun and fresh tool for building, growing, and leveraging confidence.”   
—Monique Maley, President, Articulate Persuasion, and creator of Command a Room Women's Leadership Program

Fiercely You is an essential read for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance on how to stop worrying what other people think and start living boldly and vibrantly.”
—Lyn Christian, MCC, CFCC, founder of SoulSalt

Fiercely You is packed full of tips and advice to tap into your inner diva and become the fiercest, most confident version of yourself.”
—Sarah Finley, cofounder and CEO, Social Arts & Science Institute

“Jackie Huba is a fearless role model for women who are holding themselves back from greatness. In this book, she shares the secrets to being the badass you always knew you could be.” 
—Amy Swank, Vice President of Operations, Texas Economic Development Council

“Like Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In wrapped in a feather boa, Fiercely You is a masterful and marvelous study of female empowerment in the modern age.” 
—Andrea France, retail software executive

Fiercely You is an inspiring book that provides a creative and clever approach to being our most confident selves.” 
—Maxine Clark, entrepreneur

“Confident. Remarkable. Strong. Courageous. Who doesn't want that for themselves? I do. I know you do too. In Fiercely You, Jackie Huba and Shelly Kronbergs want to outfit you with a new way of seeing yourself in everyday situations. No bustier or thigh boots required!” 
—Jill Silman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Senior Performance Consultant

Fiercely You offers practical insights and creative tips and tools that can help you work through your fears and ignite your confidence.”
—Barbara Miller, international speaker and speaking consultant/trainer

For our audio book listeners who can't see the photos in the book, we have them for you here! Click directly on each photo to get more information on that person.

Get your official Drag Diary!

This journal is a compliment to the  new book, Fiercely You: Be Fabulous and Confident by Thinking Like a Drag Queenwhich helps people learn lessons from drag queens in being fearless in their lives. The book prescribes the "Five Keys to Fierce" and gives readers specific homework assignments to help them personalize each key. The “Drag Diary” is where you record your thoughts, fears, excitement, and progress of working through each key. It’s important to write down one's progress so that you can reflect back on the new things you have tried and be inspired by your past accomplishments.

Click the image to go to our Zazzle.com store to get yours!

As a drag queen, you gotta know your lyrics if you are going to have a convincing lip-sync. One of the best ways I (Jackie) found to practice my lip-syncing was while walking my dog. But I didn't just move my lips, I acted out the lyrics with facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language! I was strutting to the beat like I was on a runway in heels. This helped me practice expressing power through my body as I took every step.

I’m sure I was a spectacle to other joggers and dog walkers as I was feeling the fantasy, walking around the park over and over, and gesticulating to music that no one else could hear. At first the looks I got made me self-conscious, but after a few more walks I didn’t care! I was living for my lip-sync walking, or “dragercising” as I began calling it. Who knew there was a way to get your fitness time in and practice your lip-syncing skills and power moves all at the same time? Plus you get to hone your “I don’t give a crap what people think of me” skills as well.

Now it’s time for you to try it. Put a few songs on your phone or iPod that are upbeat and you know the words to. Or use our Spotify playlist below. Put on your workout gear, bring your earbuds, and make your way to a place that is good for walking. With your earbuds in, turn the music on, begin walking, and start your lip-syncing! Use your facial expressions, your hands, and your body to act out the song as you walk with the beat (get dance songs for some good cardio!). If you see someone looking at you, just smile and keep on going. Sunglasses really help here, because you can pretend you aren’t seeing people. You’ll be surprised at how amazing you feel as the energy of the songs propels you onward. You’re belting out the songs but you aren’t making a sound! I can’t wait for you to try it and report back! Tweet me @jackiehuba with #fiercelyou and tell me how it went.  

One of our Keys to Fierce in Fiercely You is "Always Look Sickening in Everyday Drag" aka "dressing for power." In the book, Jackie’s fabulous stylist Irene Scott, who has been helping women look their best for the past ten years, guides readers on how to showcase their inner fierceness and confidence through their wardrobe. 

The first thing that Irene advises is to take the "No More Oatmeal Dressing Pledge."

“Oatmeal dressing,” as Irene describes it, is a “kind of nondescript, non-exciting [way to dress]. It’s kind of just disappearing. It’s comfort, but it’s in a way that it’s blah.” Sweatpants. Flip-flops. Baggy T-shirts. Oversize sweaters. These might be fine for cleaning out the garage, honey, but not for showcasing our most fabulous and confident self. We’re not kidding. We want you take a “No More Oatmeal Dressing Pledge.” Say the pledge below out loud. Or even better, click on the Pledge image to get a full size version, and print it out. Fill in your name and post it in your closet. Take a picture of it and tweet it to @jackiehuba with the hashtag #NoMoreOatmeal. 

Learning to do drag was a incredibly hard for me. When I (Jackie) found myself being afraid to try things outside my comfort zone, I would say to myself “What Would a Drag Queen Do?” Well, a drag queen would work through her fears and just do it! This really helped me in both challenging personal and business situations to have more confidence. “What Would a Drag Queen Do?” or "WWDQD?" became an empowering mantra for me. I encourage you to say WWDQD? the next time you need a boost of confidence!

In fact, surround yourself with WWDQD? to remind you to be as fierce as you can be everyday! Check out these fun WWDQD? items! Click on the image and it will take you to our Zazzle.com store where you can customize each item, including the color.

Drag culture has its own vocabulary. In the paperback and ebook versions of Fiercely You, drag terms are italicized on their first usage in the text and readers can find their definitions in the Glossary of Drag Terms at the end of the book. For our audio book listeners, we include the Glossary here so you can look up the terms.

Beating your face: To apply the perfect amount of makeup on the face, resulting in a flawless look, i.e., “her face is beat for the gods.”

Busted (adj.): the act of appearing to be unkempt, messy, unrefined, unpolished, or poorly presented.

Bye Felicia: An expression used to dismiss someone. This person is usually irrelevant and annoying. The term is a reference from the film Friday.

Clock (v.): (a) To spot what someone is trying to hide; (b) to call out a person’s flaws; (c) to uncover or reveal the truth in a situation. For example, “You cannot clock that mug,” or “Phi Phi clocked Willam for his five o’clock shadow.”

Condragulations: The drag queen version of “congratulations.”

Death drop (n.): A fall, drop, or descent backward onto one’s back with one’s leg folded underneath, in dramatic style. Usually part of a dance routine. This move is part of the voguing style of dance.

Drag daughter (n.): See Drag mother.

Drag mother (n.): Also drag daughter, drag family. An experienced drag performer who acts as a mentor and guide to someone who wants to learn the art of drag. Often, the new drag queen, who is referred to as the drag mother’s drag daughter, takes the last name of her drag mother to pay homage to her. A drag family is made up of a drag mother and all of her drag daughters. 

Dusted (adj.): The act of looking polished, flawless, or perfect. The opposite of “busted.”

Feeling the fantasy: The giddy feeling you get when you absolutely love what you are doing in a particular moment.

Fishy: A term used to describe a drag queen who looks extremely feminine or one who convincingly resembles a biological woman. The term refers to the supposed scent of a woman’s vagina, which is colloquially likened to the smell of fish. (As feminists, we don’t love this word, but drag doesn’t take itself seriously, so we shouldn’t either. Besides, fish is healthy and delicious.)

For the gods (adv.): Abbreviated use of the phrase “fit for the gods,” used to qualify an act done perfectly or flawlessly—e.g., (a) “Her face is painted for the gods,” (b) “That dress is clinging to her like a second skin because it is tailored for the gods.”

Gag (v.): To react intensely, usually as a result of shock; may also be used as an exclamation—e.g., “I am gagging on that three-foot-high wig!”

Giving me life: A phrase that shows how much you enjoy something.

The house down: Another term used for an exclamation point at the end of a sentence to indicate how extra fabulous something is—e.g., “Kennedy is dancing the house down.” Another usage is the house-down boots.

Hunty (n.): A contraction of the terms “honey” and “cunt,” used as a term of endearment among drag queens.

Kai kai (n.): The circumstance in which two drag queens engage in sexual activity in drag. Not to be confused with kiki. 

Kiki (n.): A term used for gossip, small talk, chatting, or a heart-to-heart.

Let them have it!: A phrase that refers to impressing people with your fabulous drag.

The library is open: A phrase announcing that a queen is about to share some criticisms about another person or queen. These criticisms are known as reads. See Reading.

Mug (n.): A queen’s face.

No tea, no shade: A phrase meaning “No disrespect.”

Paint (v.): To apply makeup to one’s face—e.g., “It takes two hours to paint my mug.”

Reading (v.): To wittily and incisively expose a person’s flaws (e.g., “read them like a book”), o en exaggerating or elaborating on them; an advanced form of the insult. Another usage is to read someone to filth, which just means that you are being extra nasty with your insults.

Realness (n.): A likeness that is deemed to be as close as possible to a specific category or genre—e.g., “She is serving warrior princess realness.”

Serve (v.): To present oneself in a certain way. See Realness.

Shade (n.): The casting of aspersions. A form of insult. Subtly pointing out a person’s aws or faults. Derived from the term “reading”—e.g., “I don’t tell you you’re ugly, but I don’t have to tell you because you know you’re ugly,” a quote from the movie Paris Is Burning.

Shady (adj.): Possessing a blunt and insulting manner.

Sickening (adj.): Incredibly amazing; excessively hot. 

Slay (v.): To achieve something spectacular. Sometimes also written as slay the children with the same meaning.

Tea (n.): A back-formation from the letter T for “truth”; refers to gossip, news, information, or true facts, e.g., “What’s the tea?”

Throwing shade: The act of criticism delivered in a blunt and insulting manner, e.g., “Tyra was throwing shade at the other queens on the show.”

Tuck (v.): To arrange one’s male genitalia in a way that they are not visible so that one resembles a woman; (n.) the result of a man containing his genitalia (typically with duct tape and multiple pairs of pantyhose) so that they are not visible.

Turn the party: To captivate, enthrall, and overwhelm an audience with one’s fabulosity.

Werk (v.): (a) A term meaning to “work your body”; (b) to strut, especially on the runway; (c) to give an outstanding presentation. 

Have a book club and looking for a new book to discuss? Fiercely You is perfect for that. Work through our "5 Keys to Fierce" with members of your discussion group and share how you are unleashing that inner queen with each other.

If you have a large book club and you make a bulk purchase of 50 or more books, Jackie or Shelly would be happy to dial into a Skype or phone call to do a 30 minute Q&A with the group. Email jackie [at] jackiehuba.com for more info. 

Download our Fiercely You Discussion Guide by clicking on the Download button below.