Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: How to Do Drag on a Dime in Second Life!

As my regular blog readers know, I have a drag queen avatar in Second Life, named MissDrag, and I have written about doing drag in SL before (here, here, and here).

Now, in the real world, I have never (yet!) picked up a makeup brush or cinched my waist (as if!) to fit into some eleganza extravaganza ballgown and lipsync for my life, but despite this lack of real-life experience, please let a truly seasoned DIGITAL drag superstar (well, in my own French vanilla fantasy, anyway) share a few tips on how to get started in Second Life drag.

First, understand this: THERE ARE NO RULES IN DRAG. RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN. DRAG WAS AND STILL CAN BE A TRANSGRESSIVE ART FORM. So feel free to break some rules about what a drag queen (or drag king!) should look like.

I mean, in the recently-concluded Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, one of the finalists dressed up as a piñata who occasionally farted out confetti!

Drag queen Crystal Methyd, dressed as a piñata 

Given the virtually endless avatar customization options in Second Life, your drag can be anybody (and anything) you like! Start with a male body, start with a female body, start with something in-between, or start with something completely different: a mermaid, a centaur, or a technicolor whirlwind of animated pixels! Whatever you can dream up, you can create for your own unique, signature look!

I mean, if you stop to think about it, everybody in Second Life is already doing drag. It’s actually a lot harder to recreate your actual, real-life look than it is to start from scratch with a blank canvas! (Although if that’s your scene, more power to you, boo. It’s your Second Life; make it what you want!)

Well, I woke up one morning
Flossed my teeth and decided
“Damn, I’m fierce!” You look good!
You can be just like me! A goddess? Yeah!
Don’t just pussy foot around and sit on your assets
Unleash your ferocity upon an unsuspecting world
Rise up and repeat after me: “I’m beautiful!”

I’m Beautiful, by Bette Midler

In real life, I am a 56-year-old, gay, divorced academic librarian who spends waaay too much time on the Internet, and is significantly overweight, asthmatic, and sometimes struggles with clinical depression, but in Second Life, I am Vanity Fair, the absolutely fabulous former supermodel 😉

I mean, if this is not drag, then what is? I just choose to unleash my ferocity upon an unsuspecting virtual world instead of the real world!

My main avatar Vanity Fair: Everybody in Second Life is doing some form of (digital) drag. (This delightful Lou belted minidress is a free gift from Asteria, by the way!)

Now that we have firmly established that there are no rules, there are, however, a few general tips and guidelines. First: BIG HAIR, mawma! (Although many well-known real-world drag queens like are rocking the bald look, too!).

The higher the hair, the closer to God.

—Dolly Parton

If Dolly speaks the truth, then this next hairstyle is truly divine! This is the Hunny wig from Zsa Zsa’s House of Beauty, home of the finest drag queen wigs on the grid.

It comes the fabulous wig wall at Zsa Zsa’s Haus of Beauty (exact SLURL, open your map and follow the red arrow from your initial spawn point on the Tableau sim):

Here’s the full look, from head to toe:

Another guideline which can be observed or discarded as you see fit: accessories are all-important.

Purse first!

—Bob the Drag Queen

This wonderful purse is the Love Loca handbag from Vive Nine/Ryvolter (here’s the exact SLURL):

This purse comes in various versions with different Bento poses, hanging from your shoulder, elbow, hand or even just one finger!

This avatar is wearing:

  • Mesh Head: Freya by Catwa (free group gift, no longer available for free; more details here)
  • Mesh Body and Nail Polish: Romeo by Altamura (this was a free group gift for Valentine’s Day 2019; the Altamura group costs L$100 to join, but I had joined back when it only cost L$50)
  • Hair: Hunny wig by Zsa Zsa’s House of Beauty (L$235)
  • Eye Shadow: Pride Galaxy eye shadow by Dotty’s Secret (free group gift; group costs L$75 to join, but I took advantage of a free group join period in the past)
  • Lipstick: the high-definition lipstick is included in the Catwa Freya package
  • Dress: this green Liam dress was a freebie from the SL Marketplace! It comes in just the Signature Gianni size, but I was able to make it fit the Altamura body using the alpha sections on the HUD.
  • Purse: the Loca Love handbag in black from Vive Nine/Ryvolter (L$249 per colour)
  • Shoes: I picked up these female sandals and tintable feet by Ydea (which completely replace the masculine feet of the Romeo mesh avatar!) from The Free Dove, but they are no longer available there, and unfortunately, I cannot find them anywhere else in-world or on the SL Marketplace. No matter. I’m sure you can get similarly creative for your own drag look!

TOTAL COST FOR THIS DRAG LOOK: Only L$534! (L$50 to join the Altamura group, L$235 for the wig, and L$249 for the handbag)

Now we turn from day wear to evening wear! Check out this sickening lewk!

This avatar is again wearing the Freya mesh head by Catwa (which includes the lipstick you see here) and the Romeo mesh body by Altamura, plus:

  • Hair: Eleganza wig from Zsa Zsa’s House of Beauty (L$180)
  • Eyeshadow and Eyebrows: Vanilla makeup set by Dotty’s Secret (L$200)
  • Choker: the Nefert golden choker was a free gift from Poison Rouge at the recently-concluded 5th anniversary round of the Très Chic shopping event
  • Dress: This gown is my own unique creation! I bought the full-permissions Men’s Long Sleeve Skirt Dress from White Canvas Templates from the SL Marketplace for L$200, and textured it myself using a red bandana pattern I already had in my inventory, adjusting the tiling (i.e. how often the texture repeats) to get this look.
  • Purse: the Loca Love handbag in red by Vive Nine/Ryvolter (L$249 per colour)
  • Shoes: The same Ydea sandals and shoes as above (no longer available)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS DRAG LOOK: Only L$879! (L$50 to join the Altamura group for the Romeo body, L$200 for the Vanilla makeup, L$180 for the wig, L$200 for the full-perms gown, and L$249 for the purse)

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and put together your own drag on a dime! And feel free to send Auntie Ryan pictures of your eleganza extravaganza!

And don’t forget to hit the SL Pride Festival to pick up some free gifts to help you create that signature look; the festival closes today! Here is more information on the Pride Festival.

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Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Ryan’s Eight Rules for Freebie Hunting

Here are 8 rules for freebie and bargain hunting that I have compiled over eleven years in Second Life:

  • Be patient: Freebies can come and go; freebie stores like The Free Dove and Ajuda SL Brasil rotate their freebies regularly, so it’s worthwhile to visit every couple of month just to see what’s new. It can take some time to pull together a complete look from various components picked up as freebies at different times from different stores and events.
  • Monitor the various freebie news sources: Here’s the best six groups to join for freebies. Here are four blogs and four Flickr groups to follow for news of freebies. And read my blog 😉 and other SL fashion blogs and Facebook groups for news. And watch the Cat Pink SL series of YouTube videos for more news about hunts and other freebies.
  • Join groups which are known for giving great deals and freebies to their members: For example, if you joined the Akeruka mesh heads group a year and a half ago, you would have picked up no less than six fully-adjustable Bento mesh heads (three female and three male), all for a single group join fee of L$150. That works out to only L$25 per Bento mesh head, a truly outstanding deal! Also join the Altamura group for L$50, which gives you access to the deals that Altamura offers on mesh heads and bodies at various events around SL, as well as many group gifts in the mainstore. Alien Gizmo’s regularly gives away L$200 gift cards for their store to their group members. Join these groups and stay in them, because you never know when there will be a bargain or a freebie available in future.
  • Watch for free group join periods: A perfect example is Scandalize, which has lifted its group join fee of L$100 from Sept. 15th to 17th (more info here).
  • Use the lucky chairs and panels: You can often pick up some great freebies this way. Here’s my list of the 18 best lucky chair and panel locations in Second Life.
  • Participate in hunts: Hunts are often a great way to pick up free or inexpensive items. The Free Dove picks three different designers every month who hide hunt items all over the store. A recent example was the August hunt by Sweet E’s at The Free Dove and Sweet E’s mainstore.
  • Visit fashion and gacha events: These can be another great place to pick up free gifts (be careful, though; some gifts at some events can be as much as L$10!). For example, the regularly held events run by the Gimme Gacha group have dozens of free gifts available for you to pick up. FaMESHed is another regular event with many high-quality freebies.
  • Don’t be too picky: Even though the free item might not be the exact style or colour you wanted, you can probably still make it work, and look good too. It’s the picky shoppers who land up spending a lot more money to get exactly what they want. For example, do you really want that expensive ballgown, when you can pick up that simple but beautiful Nadia ballgown as a free gift from Hilly Haalan (the group is free to join), with a HUD that gives you 15 different colour choices? You can probably make that work well with accessories already in your inventory, and look stunning.

Here is a perfect example of an avatar where I was able to pull together the entire look, over the course of a year and a half, for only a single Linden dollar! It is a combination of lucky chair prizes with free group gifts (joining the group when it was free for a limited time), plus store giveaways. Please click on each picture to see it in a larger size:

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head, Eyes and Makeup: Kenna mesh head (free group gift from Genesis Lab; the group join fee was free at the time I joined, but they have since raised it to L$99)

Mesh Body and Nails: Afrodite body by LUCYBODY (free from the Midnight Madness board if you join their group for free; more details here)

Hair: Ivy hair (free gift from Entwined; the 3 HUDs included in the package give you a total of 65 different hair colours!)

Dress: red and black Devil’s Heart Sweets dress (lucky chair prize from Alien Gizmo’s; enter the store at the main entrance, turn left, and walk along to the second courtyard near the far end to find the lucky chairs, or just use your map and follow the red arrow from the provided SLURL)

Choker: Nina choker by RxK (free from the Ajuda SL Brasil freebie store; more details here)

Clutch: Helena clutch (lucky chair prize from MODA; the HUD gives you 24 colour choices for the purse, and a choice of either gold or silver for the metal accents; enter the main store in front of you at the spawn point, and go around into the back room where the four lucky chairs are located or just use your map and follow the red arrow from the provided SLURL)

Shoes: Bijou pumps (lucky chair prize, also from MODA; the HUD gives you 36 colour and pattern choices each for the shoe and the platform)

Avatar AO: Your First AO Basic Female Mocap by Vista Animations (L$1; it’s located at the back of the Female AO section of the store, so use your map and follow the red arrow provided by this SLURL)

Bento Hands AO: Jenny Hands AO (part of the free Jenny Altamura mesh body package available for free at the Freebie Megastore in London City; it can be worn with the Vista AO, which does not have built-in Bento hand animations; more details on how to get Jenny here)

Ankle Lock: by Baby Monkey (freebie from the blue bag on the reception desk)

My total cost to assemble this complete avatar look was only L$1 (for the Vista AO).