Drag has become a big part of the mainstream culture, thanks in large part to Rupaul’s Drag Race. There is no doubt that people are falling in love with the artform more than ever. The show, now in its eleventh season, has won nine Emmy awards, featured over 125 contestants and recently entered its fifth year of the successful Rupaul’s DragCon.
The music industry has seen a wave of Drag Race alumni dominate the Billboard charts, from Adore Delano to Jinkx Monsoon to Shea Couleé and dozens of queens in between. We’ve seen drag queen campaigns with clothing lines like H&M and cosmetics chains such as Lush/ We have the recent appearances of Shangela and Willam in the Oscar winning film A Star Is Born. While the tradition of drag queens appearing in music videos isn’t exactly new (Don’t miss Joey Arias and Lypsinka in George Michael‘s seminal video Too Funky), some of the biggest stars in the world like Rihanna and Lady Gaga and even the recently released Taylor Swift video have been featuring drag queens in their music videos more than ever.
But for all the mainstream popularity of drag queens, the beauty industry had never fully embraced drag they way they are beginning to now. It is ironic when you think how much work and craftsmanship goes into creating looks, not to mention the sheer volume of products used. After the recent drama that has dominated the beauty community, for those who love all things make up we can finally enjoy makeup from the true pioneers and experts who started these ‘Instagram’ trends. However, why has it only just started happening? Drag is known for creative looks, within the last few months, we’ve seen the launch of three different makeup campaigns featuring Alyssa Edwards, Aquaria and Mayhem Miller, all working in partnership with some high-end, popular makeup companies.
The beauty community can be an odd place that is constantly overshadowed with drama. Whatever your feelings towards him, Jeffree Star is the guru many people seem to gravitate towards. The weird, genderless appeal of him seems to cater to both drag queens and drag fans alike. With his long wearing velour liquid lipsticks, alien eyeshadow colours and of course, blinding highlighters, Starr has featured many drag queens on his channel, allowing them to use his platform to shine and introduce his audience to new ways of thinking.
In the past we’ve seen attempts at drag-themed pallets from Kat Von D’s eye pallet in tribute to the iconic Divine. Who can forget Manny MUA’s ‘drag’ pallet in 2017? Yet both brands were criticised for not giving the drag community the true recognition it truly deserved, instead of capitalising on what some deem as the ‘latest trend’ due to the phenomenon of Rupaul’s Drag Race. Both received mixed reviews, many calling Kat Von D out on using an icon such as Divine when majority of her audience wouldn’t know who he is, while others were saying how she failed to capture the true essence of Divine through the somewhat bland colours on the pallete. In conclusion both tried to educate people by using drag, yet neither could truly win.
In recent years, beauty influencers, buoyed in popularity due to the celebrities like the Kardashians, have been using techniques such severe contour, overdrawn lips, and baking, incorporating trends that started years ago in New York underground clubs and by veteran drag queens. The rise in pop culture slowly included drag queens in films such as Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, the iconic documentary Paris Is Burning and the famous cameo of Rupaul in B-52’s ‘Love Shack.’Up until then drag rarely feature in mainstream culture, never mind the beauty industry. It seems now the drag queens are taking back what is deemed their long overdue credit and instead branching out themselves.
All Stars Season 3 winner and now entrepreneurial skinny business woman Trixie Mattel has gone and started her own brand ‘Trixie Cosmetics’ after the success of her debut ‘Oh Honey’ palette with popular brand SugarPill last year. SugarPill is a fantastic makeup brand that has strong support within the drag community having partnered with Kim-Chi, and featured beauty tutorials with Laganja Estranja and klub kid Hungry.
Oh Honey was a limited edition pallete that sold out straight away. Trixie Cosmetics had it’s official launch at Rupaul’s Dragcon LA starting with a range of glitters and her first lipstick colour ‘Stacy’. The brand is a nod to her Barbie aesthetic, and let’s not forget the tiny cute detail in that a portion of profits go to the ‘Oh Honey’ fund for the preservation of honey bees…… oh honey (I’m so sorry)!
Queen of wise words Sasha Velour summed up perfectly why people are admiring drag “Beauty is so often tied to what’s perceived of as normal, and drag has allowed queer people to be normal in mainstream society. That’s really powerful because we are, it may seem outlandish but it’s normal and healthy it’s a good thing. As that gets to be recognized as beautiful in it’s own way, I think we’re going to see a big increase in people’s safety and happiness.” Read more of her fab interview for Fashion Spot here.
The future is indeed drag and if the trend continues, it might be time to start stocking up on glitters, powders and glosses for our everyday runway!