From the movie To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

In a drag queen context, when the winners are announced, the host said to them

Work the runway. Work it! Tempus fugit, diva women!

It doesn't seem to be idiomatic. Is it slang language?

2 Answers 2


A "runway" is the platform/stage that a model performs on. So "working the runway" refers to drag queens modelling on stage. The phrase "Work it!" in this kind of context, implies a kind of flaunting of sexuality to attract attention, or to use one's sexuality to get something.

The phrase "working the runway" is somewhat interesting because it conveys two senses of the word "work" simultaneously: (1) "working" in the sense of labor, "working as a model" and (2) "working" as in "working it" - trying to look good to impress the judges, etc.


I would say that "work the runway" isn't an idiom, but "work (any object)" used in the imperative is. It means "focus on this thing and get every advantage from it that you can."

Examples like this abound:

Work all angles
Work your investors
Work the existing technology

The interesting thing about this idiom is that it implies both that you should work hard and that you should make the object work for you!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .