Drag performers aren't just men or women dressed up to look like the opposite sex- they're actors who create (often zany) characters and try to perfectly embody the role in every way.
That's why many drag performers are unrecognizable without their wigs or their makeup, because the people behind the flamboyant personas are often more reserved than their stage show would suggest.
It’s the transformation process that is interesting to me, rather than the final look. It’s the amount of time and the attention to detail, from walking off the street and into the dressing room, to walking on stage. That’s a three-hour period of hair and makeup. …It’s really interesting. With most of the drag artists that sit for me, their before shots are slightly awkward—it’s a slightly uncomfortable process for them. But once they’ve transformed into their drag persona, they’re very confident and know exactly how to model for the camera.
-Via Laughing Squid