Celebrity designer Saisha Shinde, who came out as a transwoman earlier this year, decided to go creative for Pride Month — she attempted drag makeup for the first time.
In a series of Instagram stories, Shinde showed the products she used for recreating an iconic look by popular American drag queen Violet Chachki, best known for winning the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Shinde revealed she took three hours to complete the makeup for one eye, sharing pictures of the same. She used a glue stick to flatten the eyebrows “so one can paint the eyes on a flatter canvas”.
“Tomorrow I’m doing the whole face. Full respect for the drag queens out there,” she wrote.
Violet Chachki, who is gender fluid, began performing in drag at the age of 19. “I started as an inexperienced drag queen with awful makeup serving daiquiris to obnoxious bachelorette parties. Now, I work with legends…” she told Vogue in a 2019 interview. “I would play with my mom’s and my sister’s makeup when I was home alone…Then during high school, I started wearing foundation and eyeliner out. It just snowballed into full-on drag queen, and now it’s refined into what you see today. For me, makeup will always be about glamour, fantasy, and escapism!” she was quoted as saying.
For the uninitiated, a drag queen is a person who dons drag clothing and exaggerated makeup to imitate female gender signifiers for entertainment purposes. Historically, it has mostly been men dressing up as drag queens. In modern times, cisgender, transwomen, and non-binary people also perform. Some of the well-known Indian drag artists are Maya the drag queen, Sushant Divgikar or Rani Kohinoor, and Patruni Sastry.
Drag makeup borrows from the theatre tradition; the objective is to transform the face into a character. Makeup techniques like contouring, baking, and highlighting that have become popular now are actually credited to drag queens — they were passed on by word of mouth, taught by peers or older performers called drag mothers, according to elle.com.
Some of RuPaul’s essential drag makeup tools include glue stick (for eyebrows), tape (to lift the eyes while smoothing jawline and neck areas), foundation, highlighter, setting powder, blush, glitter, sponge, brushes, eye makeup (with vibrant eyeshadow palette) and lip makeup products, according to masterclass.com.