Thick ombré brows, sharp and defined contoured cheeks, powerful and long false eyelashes: an airbrushed glam influenced by the drag community. Drag queens have been repping makeup techniques such as baking, contouring, and expressive brow shapes in their dressing rooms before it hit the influencer and Instagram industry.
Drag is a space where faces are completely transformed into character, through accentuation and exaggeration. We all know brows are an important part of tying together any makeup look, however, drags understand this more than anyone! For drag queens, flawless brows are a MUST! The drag community uses brows to convey their emotions, which is an integral part of their performance. Without an exaggerated brow, drags can say goodbye to captivating the audience with their mood.
Over the years, drag has played such an important role in shaping the beauty industry. We spoke with Drag Performer, Danni Issues, who gives an insight into her take on the alignment between beauty and drag.
What inspired you to step into the drag space? Take us back to where and how it all began.
The reason why I started is because I love performing. I was a dancer, I was a cheerleader, and I couldn’t really get much work as a boy. So, I decided to start doing drag. I watched a drag show and just fell in love with the craft and now five years has gone past and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What's your favourite part about drag?
Besides performing, my favourite part of drag is coming up with looks. I love sewing, and just the whole head to toe look, and obviously makeup is what helps finish that look. So, it’s the look that’s my favourite part of the drag.
What was the first beauty product you ever experimented with?
My first experience with beauty products would have to be lipstick. When I was younger and a dancer, all the girls would be getting ready for the eisteddfod and putting on all their makeup on, and they would have a beautiful brown smokey eye and a beautiful red or nude lip - and I was very jealous. So, I would take my sisters makeup and slap it on my lips and I was living!
For drag, makeup is such an important tool of transformation and liberation. How does transforming yourself into drag feel?
Yes, makeup is such a powerful tool when it comes to transformation. But, when I put my makeup on I don’t really feel any different - I feel a little bit more confident but I do feel extremely beautiful. I don’t change persona’s or become another person, I just feel quite beautiful because I’m just accentuating my beautiful features I already have. Makeup has made me love myself more. That’s why I love makeup and I love putting it on!
What are the 'must dos' when completing a drag glam?
The things you must do when it comes to drag makeup is hydration. Yes, people think primers don’t work but primers are hydration. So hydrating the skin, putting setting spray on is the best way to make makeup look great. You’re putting powders, and oils, and cream all over your face, so hydrating your skin is the best thing you can do. That is my takeaway tip when it comes to doing drag makeup - HYDRATION!
Drag queens know better than anyone else that eyebrows are essential to any makeup look. Talk to us about the process of creating the exaggerated brow look.
Yes, brows are a very important part of a drag look. They change the face structure, so that is why I love doing brows. When I do my brows, I ensure they are at the right angle to really slick my eyes to make them look nice and pinched and snatched.
What's your go to brow shape and style? When you're in your drag, what expressions are trying to portray?
Eyebrows are such a magical thing and when it comes to drag I really like to have a pinched and extended eye look, so brows help finish that look. I arch them quite high, giving myself more brow space to play with and allowing it to really make that look finished.
Do you think bushy brows will ever be a big thing in drag?
The new laminated brow trend is such a wild thing. I think it’s quite cool and I do it out of drag with my boy brows, but I find it’s a little bit difficult to achieve in drag because we don’t use our normal brow hairs. It’s a little bit hard to get that bushy, fluffy, glamorous brow that is achieved with lamination. There are some drag queens that I know that do laminated brow but they already have glamorous brows out of drag, so it’s not that hard to continue that into their normal drag look. So, I personally think laminated and bushy brows are definitely on their way into the drag industry. BUT, we are all still learning - so it will come soon but not right now.