It’s been an amazing few weeks personally for me here at the Not Safe 4 Werk Midwest Office (my couch), week after week I was treated to an absolutely incredible show from many amazing ladies, I was lucky enough to make friends with so many of the ladies who participated, and there were a few I felt I had a very close bond of sorts with, one of which, is Sabrina Laurence.
I had the privilege of being able to interview Ms. Sabrina and it just made me like her that much more, so, without further delay…
Thank you for taking the time after these very busy few weeks of competition to sit down and speak with me. I’ll try to be gentle! For me, Panda is a side that wasn’t always around, I wonder if Sabrina is the same way, if so, when did Sabrina come to the forefront and how long has she been doing these amazing makeups, costumes, and performances?
“You know for me drag was always a territory where I felt that I had a pretty strong connection. Sabrina always stood out in my community during the beginning years of my drag because I offered something that my community had never seen in the style of drag which was bright audacious colors. I feel if you’re going to stand out you have to have something that distinguishes you as not only a performer but a person. Right now in my community however Sabrina has been on hiatus not only to focus for this pageant but also to reinvent myself so that way when I come back onto the drag seen people are going to see the wow factor that I have been practicing during my absence.”
The colors…oh my dear the amazing colors! Your makeup has always had an amazingly high wow factor for me, and week after week you really just blow me away with the art that you bring to life. Where did you develop these skills? Was it always something you dabbled in, did you go to school? I know some people just seem to take to certain things, and I have no way of knowing, but, I get the sense that you are almost a natural.
“I actually never had a lesson in my entire life. During the day I work for (Sephora) as their senior make up artist educator and I always knew that I wanted to be a make up artist but I needed to find a medium that allowed me to be creative and expressive with no limitations. Drag just worked it was such a great way to be able to creatively express myself through an artform that is ever changing. But the road for my drag has been such a life lesson ESPECIALLY WITH THE MAKEUP.”
I think that is incredible, I love meeting people who find such passion and find success through their own personal efforts and journeys. Including makeup, do you have any major influences that kind of brought you to the stage in your life you are now? Something you read or saw that said…”hey, I can do that or I want to try that”?
“Believe it or not I actually started doing drag because of drag race. Right before I started I was in a relationship with the guy who I believed I loved and was destined to be with and during my relationship I began loving the art of drag because of RuPaul’s drag race. This upset my ex-boyfriend to the point where we started having problems because I would want to go out and see the Queens from the show. It got to a point where I got so depressed that I literally drove two hours away from my home town to go see the person that inspired me the most from drag race without my boyfriend knowing. I went and saw Manila Luzon and paid for a VIP meet and greet and asked her what I should do. Telling her my situation with my boyfriend and the conflict that I had with wanting to do drag or sacrificing my relationships happiness. She told me I have to love myself before I can love someone else the famous words of Rupaul and what kills me is that I never really truly understood that message until someone actually sat me down and looked me in the face and told me. So I would love to say that Manila Luzon inspired me and gave me the confidence to do Drag. But I have many influences in regards to the Aesthetic and style of my drag.“
It’s kind of odd how people can come into…or out of our lives when perhaps we don’t expect it. One minute everything seems to go one way, and in a blink of an eye, suddenly, our course can change, seeing what kind of helped to steer you towards drag, it made me pause for a moment and ponder. When I watch performances, I often think of the audience, I’d like to believe that somewhere out there in that show, or perhaps someone who watches videos that have been featured on NotSafe4Werk.com …that you can be a powerful influence, what would you say to that person sitting there watching going “I wish I could do that?”
“I would tell someone the same thing that I constantly have to remind myself of. As long as you’re being true to who you are and you’re being authentic to who you want to be then go out and do it. It will literally make you so much more of a stronger person and a rounded individual. I have literally learned so many things about myself by being someone else. That’s the part that still gets me even to this day. Whenever I get sad or upset or confused I stop and think to myself of all the people that are impacted just by me being myself and by putting my art out into the world. It empowers me to do more and be someone who the audience can actually look up to for inspiration and strength. That’s why I love doing drag.”
That is a beautiful statement, and I’ve felt similar through things I do. I think it’s why I’ve found such love with the drag community, people so willing to not necessarily become someone else, but, maybe embody a side of themselves they wouldn’t otherwise, and in turn, inspire and evoke emotions from laughter to insight, and at times, even sadness, it’s a very powerful thing. So, not trying to completely change gears, but, I likely wouldn’t have met you if not for the NotSafe4Werk.com pageant. Did you run into any major issues anywhere? I feel you had many successes, and I will freely admit, I quickly became a Sabrina Laurence guy, but did you have any spots where you just really had issues, or what about areas where you just sat back and said “oh, this week is my bitch!”
“I think more or less challenge wise I knew that I was going to be able to convey effectively what I wanted to put out. But I think the biggest thing that I struggled with where internal and external forces within my own thoughts. Internally, sometimes when I would read my critiques I would read so much into them that it discouraged me. Not to the point where it would prevent me from doing well in the competition but second guessing myself based off of what was said. Thankfully Chiffon quickly got me out of that mindset. But through this competition I am so proud of what I have produced and I know that I did the absolute best job that I could and I’m satisfied with it and I’m so happy that I impressed you and the other judges!”
From a judging perspective, it is hard, I usually judge costume contests, not Drag Competitions, and I always want to inspire and not tear down. It’s also important to remember, that, for most of us at least…it’s not personal in any way. It’s just us wanting to push you a bit to be the best you can possibly be, and for you, and in fact, all the contestants, it was truly amazing for me to watch the evolution and I think this was a fantastic learning experience for everyone and there isn’t a single person who didn’t step their game up.
I’m going to close on what I consider an awesome note, it’s been awesome to spend this time with you and I really am thankful this pageant helped out paths cross, you really are amazing. I just have to know, what was going on in your head when you decided to go the Joan Crawford route with No Wire Hangers. The look was stellar, and when you brought out the puppet, my goodness, I haven’t laughed like that in ages, I need to know what brought you to that amazing point to where you were able to deliver a truly amazing performance.
“Believe it or not I was actually inspired to do that number based off of what one of drag races winners had told me. Chad Michaels did a similar rendition of the Joan Crawford act that I did and told me that I would murder that performance if I had the chance to do it. (Chad later watched it and loved it!) Before I got started in drag I had an obsession with Hollywood icons. People like Marlena Dietrich and Joan Crawford where two of my favorites. I also thought it would be important for me to be able to transform what the judges were seeing me as. To show a different facet of my drag each week. I took the mentality that I was going to use all seven colors of the rainbow, One color for every week that way nothing was reminiscent of another. So when I was able to embody the character of Joan Crawford I literally wanted to transform my entire attitude. To take all my frustrations out on that puppet! It got to the point where I think me and my best friend who were filming had to do about 12 takes to get it right because we both bursts out laughing each time! All in all I think that this competition has rounded my Drag in ways that I never would’ve imagined. I am so thankful that I was able to participate in this competition because I have no doubt my mind that it has empowered me and it sparked my interest to compete in other competitions in the future! Hopefully I win this one, because I would go on and do great things with the title!”
That is awesome, well, as much as I would love to talk to you forever, I know you are a busy lady. Thank you so much for giving us all a better glimpse into your awesomeness and I, and I am sure, many of us…look forward to what’s next, and should you get that title, I know you will rock the ever loving hell out of it!
If you would like to see more about Sabrina, feel free to check the archives here and watch week after week of amazing performances, and don’t forget to give her a follow on twitter! https://twitter.com/art_of_anthony