Camp style, a concept defined by Susan Sontag and the theme of the 2019 Met Gala, is a stunning and whimsical idea that I’ve always adored. While most of the world was oblivious to camp style before the 2019 Met Gala, many celebrities have been embodying the culture for decades.
Check out 25 celebrities who truly personify camp by going all out in every way, as discussed on a popular online forum.
1. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is the queen of camp. From her insane music videos to the meat dress to the bubble dress, she is always pushing the envelope and creating wild looks that take things literally. Not only is Lady Gaga campy herself, but she loves to encourage her fans to be just as weird and wonderful as they want.
Kesha has kind of fallen off as of late, especially because she had many problems with her manager. However, when she was popular in the early aughts, she was a beautiful example of a camp look that drew inspiration from underground grunge and hippy culture.
3. Katy Perry
Katy Perry, like Lady Gaga, is a queen of camp. She loves to wear strange and very literal outfits, whether she has a cupcake on her head, a dress shaped like a mushroom, or is dressed up as a giant hamburger. Her looks are often outrageous and whimsical.
Does anyone else remember the hilarious and peculiar swan dress she wore? Bjork has always been campy, wearing horns on stage to perform or just going all out with colors and makeup. She’s not afraid to look silly or strange and fully embraces the weirdest sides of herself.
Grimes is campy in a really fantastical way, as she’s always wearing something odd, like a pair of elf ears, a necklace that looks like a sword, or a metal face mask. She pushes the limits when it comes to fashion and often dresses like a creature from a mystical realm.
Unlike Grimes and Bjork, Cher is campy in a more sophisticated way. From her dramatically long hair to her skimpy outfits to her bejeweled looks, she personifies camp in the most elegant way possible. She often wears dresses that border on costumey but maintain their subtleness.
7. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus is another celebrity who walks the camp line. Do you guys remember her teddy bear costumes at the VMAs? She’s not afraid to play around with fashion and push the envelope, whether it’s a funky hairdo, over-the-top makeup look, or a wild outfit that will go down in history.
8. Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse was campy in her own way. Instead of taking things literally, like Lady Gaga or Katy Perry, she was all about exaggeration. She wore thick lines of eyeliner, had massive hair, wore fat jewels in her hair, and sported insane costume jewelry. She had a graceful yet campy style that will forever be iconic.
Everyone knows that Rihanna is the queen of the Met Gala, so she knows what it means to be campy. She wears oversized puffer jackets, Swarovski crystal dresses, and dramatic outfits that live rent-free in my mind. Her style manages to be camp without being costumey, which is tough.
10. Paris Hilton
I don’t think many people see Paris Hilton’s style as campy, but in the early aughts, her look was very thoughtfully curated to give her that spoiled rich girl aura. The way she embraces and obsesses over pink and highly feminine clothing crosses into camp territory for sure.
11. Weird Al
Of course, I had to include Weird Al on this list! Between his poodle-like hair, his big classes, and his colorful, floral T-shirts, it offers a special kind of campy that is quirky but simple. Camp is all about being over the top, and his everyday outfits are weird and eye-catching in an unforgettable way.
12. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj falls into the same category as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, as she loves to rock wildly literal and dramatic outfits that grab people’s attention. She’ll sport looks that are head-to-toe feathers, metal, diamonds, or anything else she wants, creating striking looks.
13. Shia LaBeouf
Shia Labeouf’s style may not be the campiest, but his behavior and projects certainly are. He takes on a strong artsy vibe that brings into the realm of camp with intricate concepts and dramatic roles that are well outside the norm.
14. Julia Fox
Julia Fox is so weird that I can’t help but love her. She’s sported some very campy looks, like massive gold earrings with an insane amount of eyeliner that made her look like a raccoon. She’s also worn funky all-denim looks, worn outfits that can barely be considered clothing, and pushed the limits many other times.
RuPaul embraces camp in every aspect of their life. From the drag queen ball gowns to the fancy suits and everything in between, the outfits are always sensationally dramatic and over the top. However, it’s a sophisticated and tasteful kind of camp that I adore.
16. Elton John
Elton John’s campiness ventures into the same realm as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, as he used to wear massive wings on stage, devil costumes, metallic suit jackets, and other unforgettable outfits. Even his iconic orange classes give him a fun aura of camp.
17. Billy Porter
Billy Porter is campy in a similar way to Elton John. Every outfit has that extra oomph that pushes it into the camp category and makes Billy stand out. I’m not going to list all the fabulous outfits he’s worn because there are so many, but he transcends fashion every time he leaves the house.
18. Elvis Presley
I don’t think Elvis gets enough credit for his style and eccentric outfits. When he first started his career, he dressed like a typical greaser, but his looks eventually evolved into the dramatic all-white suits and red velour tops that we associate with him today.
19. Alice Cooper
While some may call Alice Cooper a simple goth, I can appreciate his distinct campiness. From the dramatic eye makeup to the cane he carries around to the top hats, he embodies a type of camp that is semi-goth with the influences of a circus ring leader or the Mad Hatter.
20. Dennis Rodman
Unlike most of the other people on this list, I don’t think Dennis Rodman tries to be camp on purpose. Nevertheless, his excess of piercings and tattoos, colorful outfits, and strange style qualify him for this list. His absurd antics and behavior also help him embody camp.
21. Marilyn Manson
As controversial and weird as he is, Marilyn Manson also belongs on this list. He genuinely looks like a vampire, and I don’t know what’s campier than cosplaying 24/7. Like Dennis Rodman and Shia Labeouf, his campiness goes beyond his looks and outfits and extends into his strange and sometimes unsettling personality.
22. Dita Von Teese
Dita Von Teese is one of the classiest, campiest ladies in the world of fame. Her entire aesthetic revolves around the pin-up girl vibe, which takes it to another level, adding goth elements that make this soft style edgier. Part of camp is also the commitment to the drama, which she achieves, from her always-perfect hair to her everlasting red lipstick.
23. Lil Nas X
Lil Nas embraces camp in the same way Elton John does. He wears crazy and colorful outfits that set him apart from other rappers on his level of fame. He’s not afraid to wear ridiculous things and shock people with the outfits he creates, which are always fun and fabulous.
24. David Bowie
David Bowie embodied camp in his fashion and his attitude, as he always seemed to be like some wonderful alien that came from another planet to bless the human race with his talent. From the lighting bolt makeup to the red hair to the striped suits, he offered a special kind of camp that was one of a kind.
25. Gene Simmons
All of the members of the band Kiss embraced camp in their wild outfits, but none as boldly as Gene Simmons. While he was clearly campy on stage, with the black and white makeup and studded leather costumes, he also maintained a certain campiness off stage that qualifies him for this list.
Veronica is a food, fashion, and entertainment writer from Boston, MA, with a passion for all things lifestyle and culture. She graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor's in English literature. From Anna Wintour to Angelina Jolie to Alton Brown, she has her finger on the pulse of all things Hollywood and celebrity.
If she's not in the kitchen crafting new recipes, then she's binging the latest HBO series and catching up on the hottest trends in Vogue.
She has written for and been syndicated by publications like The Weather Channel, The Daily Meal, The Borgen Project, The Good Men Project, The Express, MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Not Deer Magazine. Her writing experience ranges from global news articles to celebrity gossip pieces to movie reviews to homemade recipes and more.