I’ve fallen for a drag queen. There, I’ve said it. I can’t get enough of her. I’m under her spell! I’ve spent hours in her company! My boyfriend knows about us, but he can’t do anything about it. Her name, you ask? RuPaul, of course.
Yes, I am officially hooked on RuPaul’s Drag Race. After being badgered by my friend for months to watch the show, a few weeks ago I finally sat down and bit the bullet. And I haven’t looked back, or had much human interaction, since. The show first aired in 2009, so I still have a lot of catching up to do before the new season comes out next month. Cue hermit phase.
For those poor, deprived souls among you who are still unfamiliar with RuPaul’s Drag Race, it is essentially a cross (or should that be cross-dressing?) between America’s Next Top Model and an exploding disco ball. But instead of the smizing Tyra Banks, your host comes in the form of the spectacular RuPaul. All 6 ft 3 of her.
Arguably the world’s most famous drag queen, this glamazonian goddess possesses acerbic, hilarious wit with a conscience (‘I do sassy, I don’t do bitchy’, she says). Plus, as is to be expected from the first face of VIVA GLAM by MAC cosmetics, she has killer bone structure, striking makeup and a phenomenal wardrobe to boot.
I have now binge-watched episodes to the point where phrases such as ‘sashay away‘, ‘lipsync for your LIFE‘ and ‘that is so Raven‘ are fast becoming a staple part of my vocabulary. Indeed, when aforementioned boyfriend walks into the living room and hears the pulsating beats of RuPaul‘s dance track, Covergirl he knows the TV will be dominated for a good few hours, and despairingly sashays away to watch a documentary on his laptop.
I, however, stay put and soak up the magic that is this wonderful show. For what more could a grown woman want than to watch a group of catty queens battle it out to become America’s Next Drag Superstar? Nothing, that’s what.
But it’s so much more than just pithy one-liners, raised pencilled brows, fierce pouts and skyscraper heels at dawn. As with all great television shows, it is an emotional journey.
Each contestant has shown, in RuPaul‘s words, ‘Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent’ (figured out that acronym yet?) and, in all seriousness, true bravery and resilience in order to overcome gender stereotypes, express themselves freely and pursue their ‘unusual’ careers of choice. Well, as RuPaul says: ‘If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?’ [Insert sobbing]. They’re really good at making their own dresses, too.
The thing that really impresses me, though, are the queens’ mad makeup skills. Honestly, if you’re a fan of all things beauty, you need to get into this show (all seasons are on Netflix. You’re welcome). Watching a man TRANSform himself into a tornado of feminine charm is absolutely incredible. Indeed, some of the queens’ techniques far exceed those belonging to any female I know.
The way they let the foundation ‘cook'; the precision with which they draw on that feline-esque eyeliner; the blending of eyeshadow; the genius behind those contoured cheekbones… I could go on. The drag queens on this show have inspired me to embrace and enhance my femininity more than any other beautiful female celebrity ever has. So much so that I will soon be doing my very own Drag Queen Makeup Tutorial on Yesterface (watch this space).
Observing men undergo this type of transformation will ring true with many women. After all, it’s something we can all relate to. We ladies often apply makeup and dress ourselves in attire that we feel best reflects our personalities and tastes. RuPaul’s states: ‘You’re born naked, and the rest is drag.’ And it’s true.
On a daily basis, we all, to an extent, present a slightly different version of our true selves, and we tend to do so with the aid of beauty products, accessories, fashion and many other possessions in our arsenal. Drag queens just do it in a more dramatic, more entertaining way.
And they’ve been doing so for decades; since long before the 19th century, when the term ‘drag queen’ was first coined, men have been dressing up in drag for a number of theatrical (and personal) reasons. However it isn’t until now, thanks to TV shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, that it has become more widely accepted and celebrated within mainstream society.
And long may things continue in this vein – for many important reasons, not least because I need their fabulous beauty tips.