How 9 LGBTQIA+ Models Harness Fashion & Makeup To Express Their Queerness

·5-min read

Queerness is inherently tied to fashion and appearances — but it's not one-size-fits-all; queerness, just like personal style, is uniquely dependent on the individual.

It might seem like there is a 'right' way to look queer, a certain outfit or haircut that will signal your LGBTQIA+ status to the world, but there isn't.

We went backstage at Nicol & Ford's Australian Fashion Week show where all models proudly identify as LGBTQIA+ to hear more about the intersection between identity and appearances.

"Nicol & Ford believes the fashion industry, primarily created and powered by the queer community, should be brought to life by the queer community," the brand's founders said in a statement. With hair director Diane Gorgievski for Redken and Jade Diaz as makeup director, the show embraced individuality and eccentricity.

Here, we're not turning to the designers or fashion week attendees for inspiration, but to the models themselves. Read on to see what fashion and makeup mean to these queer creatives.

<h2><a href="https://www.instagram.com/kingthedragqueen/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ella" class="link ">Ella</a></h2><br>"I'm a drag queen, but I'm a cis female. I use [my drag] and just fashion, in general, to be able to explore versions of femininity that otherwise I wouldn't be able to, especially as a pretty visibly queer lesbian. If I were to express femininity in a typical heteronormative way, I'd attract unwanted attention from people that I don't want, or it just wouldn't feel very true to me. So that's why I also like to use drag because I get to create this insane, like hyper-feminised version of myself but on my own terms."<br><span class="copyright">P</span>

Ella


"I'm a drag queen, but I'm a cis female. I use [my drag] and just fashion, in general, to be able to explore versions of femininity that otherwise I wouldn't be able to, especially as a pretty visibly queer lesbian. If I were to express femininity in a typical heteronormative way, I'd attract unwanted attention from people that I don't want, or it just wouldn't feel very true to me. So that's why I also like to use drag because I get to create this insane, like hyper-feminised version of myself but on my own terms."
P
<h2><a href="https://www.instagram.com/basjia/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Basjia" class="link ">Basjia</a></h2><br>"Fashion and makeup basically encapsulate my essence. I dress up almost every day; it's not always a big look, but it's a huge representation of how I feel about myself. And I feel like it reflects back to the outer world and it helps me celebrate so many parts of myself — my queerness, my Blackness, being a woman, being a strong, powerful woman — it helps me celebrate that in a way that makes me feel powerful, and helps me move through the world knowing that I have so much strength and I am unique. <br><br>When it comes to queerness, a lot of queer people break the rules; we break society's rules in our expression in every single way. That's what being queer is all about. And I feel like that's why our clothing represents that for us. It's a huge part of who we are. And it's a huge part of changing the system and changing the way we see the world and changing you know, the way society thinks we're supposed to be and behave and look and act and all that stuff."<br>

Basjia


"Fashion and makeup basically encapsulate my essence. I dress up almost every day; it's not always a big look, but it's a huge representation of how I feel about myself. And I feel like it reflects back to the outer world and it helps me celebrate so many parts of myself — my queerness, my Blackness, being a woman, being a strong, powerful woman — it helps me celebrate that in a way that makes me feel powerful, and helps me move through the world knowing that I have so much strength and I am unique.

When it comes to queerness, a lot of queer people break the rules; we break society's rules in our expression in every single way. That's what being queer is all about. And I feel like that's why our clothing represents that for us. It's a huge part of who we are. And it's a huge part of changing the system and changing the way we see the world and changing you know, the way society thinks we're supposed to be and behave and look and act and all that stuff."
<h2><a href="https://www.instagram.com/ladyfur_/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Angie" class="link ">Angie</a></h2><br>"I think fashion and makeup are probably the biggest things that I use because [they're] kind of the reflection of what's inside. Being able to be proud enough to show that on the outside, walk down the street wearing something that may not be the usual, once upon a time would have made me scared, but now it's like a weapon or a shield, but in a good way."<br>

Angie


"I think fashion and makeup are probably the biggest things that I use because [they're] kind of the reflection of what's inside. Being able to be proud enough to show that on the outside, walk down the street wearing something that may not be the usual, once upon a time would have made me scared, but now it's like a weapon or a shield, but in a good way."
<h2><a href="https://www.instagram.com/succubusmami/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mia" class="link ">Mia</a></h2><br>"I think as a young person, I never really saw anyone that looked like me on TV, especially coming from a conservative society and my own family that was heavily influenced by religion, I never really saw any other queer bodies. But I think when I broke free from the shackles of religion and of the conservative people around me, I was finally able to live in my truth. And so whenever I go out, I always want to be the person that a little kid, a little queer kid would look at and be like, 'oh my God, I want to be her'. Or, 'I see myself in her' because growing up, I didn't have any of that. That's always been my aspiration. Always. My goal is not only to be living in my truth, but also to be opening up the dialogue and space for others like me."<br>

Mia


"I think as a young person, I never really saw anyone that looked like me on TV, especially coming from a conservative society and my own family that was heavily influenced by religion, I never really saw any other queer bodies. But I think when I broke free from the shackles of religion and of the conservative people around me, I was finally able to live in my truth. And so whenever I go out, I always want to be the person that a little kid, a little queer kid would look at and be like, 'oh my God, I want to be her'. Or, 'I see myself in her' because growing up, I didn't have any of that. That's always been my aspiration. Always. My goal is not only to be living in my truth, but also to be opening up the dialogue and space for others like me."
<h2><a href="https://www.instagram.com/jamaicamoana/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jamaica" class="link ">Jamaica</a></h2><br>"For me, I like to amplify my queerness by just wearing how I feel that day. If I'm feeling really outwardly and extroverted, then I'll wear something really big and colourful. It's all down to my mood in the morning."<br>

Jamaica


"For me, I like to amplify my queerness by just wearing how I feel that day. If I'm feeling really outwardly and extroverted, then I'll wear something really big and colourful. It's all down to my mood in the morning."
<h2><a href="https://www.instagram.com/solitarypleasure/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jack" class="link ">Jack</a></h2><br>"I think fashion really is just about, like, expressing your inner dialogue, right? And understanding the context of society and how you want to navigate through that. There are so many elements that come into, how I put myself together. It's kind of a mixture of how I feel like I'd be perceived by people and it's also that internal push and pull of what I truly want to express as well. It's a bit of both external and internal push and pull for me. And it's just getting that right balance of perception and self-expression."<br>

Jack


"I think fashion really is just about, like, expressing your inner dialogue, right? And understanding the context of society and how you want to navigate through that. There are so many elements that come into, how I put myself together. It's kind of a mixture of how I feel like I'd be perceived by people and it's also that internal push and pull of what I truly want to express as well. It's a bit of both external and internal push and pull for me. And it's just getting that right balance of perception and self-expression."
<h2><a href="https://www.instagram.com/demon_derriere/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Demon" class="link ">Demon</a></h2><br>"I use fashion and makeup to embody my queerness in a way of breaking brown boundaries and breaking stereotypes. I'm taking advantage of this space of this platform, taking up space, fucking it up and leading by example in a creative sense."<br>

Demon


"I use fashion and makeup to embody my queerness in a way of breaking brown boundaries and breaking stereotypes. I'm taking advantage of this space of this platform, taking up space, fucking it up and leading by example in a creative sense."
<h2><a href="https://www.instagram.com/missrosierivette/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Rosie" class="link ">Rosie</a></h2><br>"I use it as a form of freedom and self-expression. I love bringing colour into the world and inviting others to explore that as well. So it's just a beautiful way of expressing my individuality and bringing a bit of magic into life."<br>

Rosie


"I use it as a form of freedom and self-expression. I love bringing colour into the world and inviting others to explore that as well. So it's just a beautiful way of expressing my individuality and bringing a bit of magic into life."
<h2><a href="https://www.instagram.com/taylamac/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tayla" class="link ">Tayla</a></h2><br>"As you can see, I wear only pink. My entire wardrobe is just pink; it's a way to express confidence. Pink is typically seen as a feminine colour but it doesn't make me feel particularly feminine."<br>

Tayla


"As you can see, I wear only pink. My entire wardrobe is just pink; it's a way to express confidence. Pink is typically seen as a feminine colour but it doesn't make me feel particularly feminine."

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