3 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Superstars On Reclaiming The Feminine Power Of Make-Up

George Driver
·5-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From ELLE

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

More fool the person that dares suggest a lipstick is just a lipstick, and mascara is a mere frivolity in front of a drag queen. Masters of the dressing table makeover, a drag queen knows the true transformative power of a flawless base and a 'snatched' face. An ode to femininity, self expression and the dissolution of outdated gender roles, drag make-up is political, powerful and, yes, also pretty.

Three legendary drag queens from RuPaul's Drag Race stood before us (well, virtually from the US) to explore the joy-bringing, boundary-breaking and statement-making medium that is drag make-up and why, right now, we need it more than ever.

Photo credit: WoW
Photo credit: WoW

'Drag is my superhero cape. Wearing make-up has this huge power – it gives you the ability to transform yourself into a super version of yourself. It reveals this really beautiful part of a human being. It's been something that's helped me through this entire pandemic. The real me can sometimes be an introvert, and the extrovert is [my stage name] Jujubee. I've taken everything I've learnt from doing drag and starring on 'RuPaul's Drag Race' - three times - and put it into practice.

'The beauty of drag make-up is that it inspires not just other drag queens, but trans women, cis women, cis men... straight men! Drag make-up is an ode to the idea that femininity is a really powerful force. For so long, society pitted masculine against feminine, where masculinity was supposedly stronger, but I really think that femininity is one of the most powerful things in the world, and drag make-up lets you see that. Once you have that on, you're so powerful and you're so strong and nothing can break you down.

'Being able to express yourself in any way you feel the need to is basically a human right. Showing the world who you are and standing and being yourself is so important right now. If we don't do that, we lose ourselves. I don't know what you guys see from the other side of the pond, but right now the US feels like it must be in a dream, or a nightmare. We're not only living in a pandemic but we're heartbroken. We need to piece things back together and see the light, and drag is helping that. As long as your lashes don't fly off...

Photo credit: WoW
Photo credit: WoW

'Make-up itself has always been a way for me to express myself. Growing up where I'm from, in a small country town, I wasn't always allowed to be the most authentic me. Being able to do drag has been very therapeutic. It keeps me grounded and keeps me going, especially over the last year. We're all going through [the effects of the pandemic] at the moment so not having to worry about just being yourself on top of that is an amazing thing.

'One day last year, I was sitting at home and I was bored. There was nothing to do. It was right after my season of 'Ru Paul' ended and I was a little bummed out that it was over. So I just said to myself, "I'm gonna throw on 10 pairs of eyelashes, 12 pounds of make-up, jewellery and hair and just live my best life and live my fantasy." And that's what everyone in the world wants. Everyone wants to live their best life, no matter what it is – whether you're a doctor in Utah or a teacher in North Carolina. Seeing drag queens do that without any inhibitions is inspiring. We're at the forefront.

'The best advice I've ever received is: "Don't be afraid of the make-up, just put it on. Put all of it on." When I first started doing drag make-up I was only using a little concealer here and there and I just looked, like, greasy. So I learnt not to be afraid of make-up - it's your friend. Also, don't fade into the background - do something that sets you apart. This is your artistry, build it the way you want it to be built. If everyone was the same, the world would be boring. What is the definition of beauty? So many things are beautiful in this world and I want to see the broad spectrum of it all.'

Photo credit: WoW
Photo credit: WoW

'Drag is full fantasy – you can become who and whatever you want to be. Knowing that brings me joy. Being able to put on some lashes and some fabulous hair and some glitter just makes it all better. If there's glitter, feathers and stones on my face, you know that's a Latrice look – I call it face furniture.

'[Creativity] is the only thing we have control over right now, right? Being able to express and rebel against the norm and say, "This is what I want to bring and present" is a powerful statement. If you can find the power to do that in fantasy, then you can find a way to do it in your regular life. We can all be empowered to move and push through these difficult times. Make-up really does change the landscape of who we are.

'I'm lucky to have a husband who loves to create and doesn't mind bending gender roles and putting on a wig and make-up, while keeping his beard! We have our first trans man on Drag Race, which is a huge statement. Old boundaries and lines are being erased and we're becoming more inclusive. We're getting to a point where every person in the world, whether they're cis male, cis woman, trans, gay, straight, whatever, can feel like they can get up in drag and find their inner diva. Make-up is freeing. No it's not real, yes it's fantasy, but b*tch it's my fantasy.'


To see more of Latrice, Heidi and Jujubee, subscribe to WOW Presents Plus for All The Queen’s Men, Gap Chat and all five series of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.

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