August 30 2014

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4 posts tagged "RuPaul’s Drag Race"

Joey Arias: The Drag Artist Talks Beauty, Bowie, and the Three Things Every Woman Needs



When asked to describe the chanteuse that is Joey Arias, the cabaret legend herself (or himself—deciding upon a pronoun poses a challenge) can sum it up it one word: seductive. Unlike many of the contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Arias understands the art of “simplicity in makeup.” And when she uses the word simplicity, she doesn’t necessarily mean a dash of powder and lip balm (although that’s perfectly acceptable for day or a wedding). For stage, she contours (the last step of her maquillage method) but doesn’t take it as far as your regular drag queen. “I don’t put on any white and brown,” the two pigments typically employed to carve out cheekbones. Arias doesn’t do anything “clown-y,” either, although she would if it meant “getting paid.” Longtime collaborator Thierry Mugler gave the performer a piece of advice that still resonates, which Arias recalled during our interview: “If you’re going to do your own thing, just [put on a] black bra and panties. Don’t start putting all this shit on yourself. No pinks and greens and fluff and feathers. Please don’t do that!” With her perfectly articulated arches, razor-sharp liquid liner, and impeccable red lips, she’s like a forties film star, citing women like Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich as icons. Here, Arias shares some of her best beauty tips and how she continues the magic after the makeup comes off.

The scene: Cabaret lounge-meets-museum. Irving Plaza in Union Square is transformed by MAC Cosmetics to pay homage to Arias—with some of her most memorable ensembles on display, along with her new film directed by Mugler, Z Chromosome. A series of makeup wipes—some reminiscent of the Rorschach test—are also encased in glass in the middle of the room.

Can I first ask you about these makeup wipes? Was it your idea to turn them into art?

It started as a joke years ago. I think it started in Berlin. But it wasn’t until I did Cirque du Soleil Zumanity [Arias was the Las Vegas show's emcee for five years] that I was rushing to get out of the theater—after, like, two shows, I’d throw the wipe on the table and of course they would lay there, and I’d leave and come back and see these wipes and I’d think, Huh, what am I doing here? This is kind of something! So I started saving them and I’ve got probably like two or three thousand wipes now from Cirque du Soleil.

So you’ve been saving them since you hit the stage in Vegas?

Since 2003. Every time I do a show, we do the wipes. My partner, Juano Diaz, is a painter from Scotland. He had an art show in New York about two years ago. It was his art, and people wanted to meet him. And he asked me if I could throw up a little section of some art with him. Because, you know, I went to art school and everything. Juano, he got them and actually framed [the wipes] floating on glass…I had about ten of them among his paintings. I had a row, and it said, “MAC Wipes: Create Your Own Art.”

Is there a technique to how you take off your makeup?

It all depends on how you feel that night when you’re taking your makeup off. It might be a little aggressive or it might be gentle. Sometimes it’s like a rush. It all depends on how I want the eyes to come out, or do I want them to look like more of a mask, or do I want them to marry each other, do I want them to be more abstract like two people kissing or something from outer space? It all depends on how I rub the wipe. People are just blown away.

So what are your go-to MAC products that eventually end up on the wipes?

Well, the MAC wipes, for damn sure! I like their lipsticks and their shadows. All the shadows. I don’t really try too many colors because there’s a certain scheme. I’m not really always like, “Pink lips!” I’m a brand already, so I’ve got to stick to a look. In this video [Z Chromosome], I stretched out and did some different things—I was very Cirque du Soleil. Mugler wanted me to put red glitter on. That was for fun.


Which red are you wearing in the film?

It’s Russian Red with some black liner, and then I put the red glitter dust [on top].

Is the black for depth?

Yes, to give it a shape.

What’s the best beauty trick you ever learned?

One of the most beautiful makeup artists I’ve ever met is Mathu Andersen, who does all of RuPaul’s makeup, and he’s taught me a few tricks…Maybe only four or five makeup artists have [ever] done my makeup, but just the simplicity of makeup and shadowing—it takes time. You can’t rush. Keep it natural.

So you don’t necessarily contour like a Kardashian. What’s your technique?

Look at my cheekbones and just [see] how I want my face to move. On RuPaul’s Drag Race they put white. I just put a little base on, very light, and get a sponge and kind of wipe it off, and then powder to set everything down. Then I draw the eyes, eyebrows, lashes, lips, and then contour. Contour is last.


So Mugler suggests keeping it simple with just a black bra and panties. Is that all a girl needs?

Just a black bra and panties! And stockings. That’s it. Gotta keep it elegant, gotta keep it, as Mugler says, “Classy, classic, and cheap.”

What does your nighttime beauty routine entail?

Well, it all depends. If I’m going to do shows, I have to pace myself. And usually the shows I do now are about eight or nine, so it’s like, prepare, relax, gym, e-mails, feed our little dog Grumble, take a bath, start looking for an outfit, and then get ready.

How long does it take you to apply your makeup?

It could be anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours.

What about taking it off?

That part takes about three seconds.


At least you’ve found a way to make your hard work stand the test of time with your wipe art. So what is the craziest, best night out you’ve ever had?

My craziest, best night out ever? I’ve got so many of them! But I would say in Paris, with Mugler, having dinner. There were about ten people—I’m not going to say the names. Mugler said, “We’re going to have dinner with Iman and her husband.” And I was kind of like, “OK!” And we were all there and all of a sudden they walked in, and I’m like, “Duh! David Bowie!” I sang with him on Saturday Night Live, so we saw each other a couple of times very briefly. He walked in and he had not seen me [since] I transformed, started dressing up, and we sat there for hours—hours—screaming and laughing, having the best time. It was amazing. And then we walked through Paris and David put his arm around me and said, “You really blossomed so beautifully. I’m so proud of you. You just moved on.” He said, “I wish you looked like this when we did Saturday Night Live!” He probably wouldn’t have worked with me if I did! We were laughing.

What were you wearing that night?

Oh, I was wearing a Mugler suit. Elegant. Very chic. Nothing crazy.


You recently got married—what kind of makeup did you wear on your wedding day?

Seriously, I wore just a powder.

No lashes or anything?

No, no. I just put powder on. Because it was daytime—it was like 7 in the morning. I just wore a black suit and powder…And beautiful black glasses—they’re called mantaray, so they looked very alien.

So no need even for mascara.

No, honey. You put the lashes on when you have a business meeting because that’s when you mean business.

ScarJo’s Skin-Brightening Secret Revealed; Dianna Agron’s Red Alert; And More…


A few years back, we had the pleasure of interviewing Scarlett Johansson, who revealed herself to be plenty in the know when it comes to natural skincare remedies. ScarJo told us that she frequently uses Manuka honey as a mask, raw lemon as an exfoliator, and, according to a new report, she’s also been known to apply apple cider vinegar as an astringent. Who knew? [Metro UK]

Following a stint with pink streaks, Glee star and blonde beauty Dianna Agron has gone red. [People]

We watch RuPaul’s Drag Race for the heated competition (and amazing sound bites), but the show’s makeup artistry is equally impressive. Ivy Winters’ transformation from man to glamorous woman includes contouring, lashes, eyeshadow, brows, and a multi-platform lip application that puts even our strongest face-painting efforts to shame. [Jezebel]

Speaking of impressive makeovers, ever wonder what Barbie would look like without the mascara, the pink pout, the blue shadow—and with braces? One graphic artist did, to staggering effect. [HuffPo]

Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

For The Good Of Glam


If you watched Monday night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, then you know that Ongina, a.k.a. Ryan Palao, out diva’d the competition to win the coveted title of MAC Viva Glam Spokesperson for a Day—that day being today. Earlier this morning, the newly crowned Glamazon appeared at MAC‘s Flatiron District store to help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and to present a $25,000 check on behalf of the MAC AIDS Fund to the Hetrick-Martin Institute at the Harvey Milk High School, a New York City public high school that strives to be a pluralistic haven for students of all races, genders, sexual orientation, religions, and physical abilities. We caught up with the fiercest of them all to learn about her, er, his (?), dedication to the cause, why only Beyoncé can outdo RuPaul, and to pick up a few makeup tips, of course.

Fergie, Lisa Marie, Dita. What is it like being in such good company as an official Viva Glam Spokesperson?

A definite addition to this incredible journey we call life.It’s one adventure I will always treasure and I am truly blessed to have met so many amazing people because of the show.It has helped me grow further as Ongina as well as Ryan!

How has your own HIV-positive diagnosis compelled you to get involved in AIDS awareness initiatives?

Well, I want people to know that life should be celebrated, no matter what happens. We have to celebrate our individuality, our creativity, our passion, our decisions, and everything else in between. AIDS is an epidemic that affects all walks of life, and as difficult as the decision was for me to “come out” about my status, if I touch even just one person’s heart, I know I’m on the right path. I hope to one day inspire others and teach them that life with HIV is just as glamorous as life without!

Your skill with the wand and the brush surely helps you in the glamour department. What’s currently in your makeup bag?

I recently purchased MAC Viva Glam VI SE Lipglass and am equally obsessed with my C-Thru Lipglass, as well as the MAC Pro Shaping Powder in Emphasize. It adds the right amount of highlight where you need it most!

Do you have any makeup tips you can share with us that are essential for peek drag performance?

The one thing that I learned from some of the queens on the show is how to glue your eyebrows down so you can create a higher brow and more lid for applying shadows!

What about beauty icons? Anyone that you find particularly inspirational?

I love my mother. She is truly beautiful inside and out and has sacrificed so much for us to be where we are today. I’m blessed and proud to be her son. I also think that RuPaul is one hell of a drag queen. She is stunning. And I’m pretty obsessed with Beyoncé. I like that she takes risks.

Photo: Courtsy of MAC Cosmetics

RuPaul And MAC Cosmetics Bring Divadom To Prime Time


If you subscribe to Logo, the lesbian and gay television channel from MTV Networks, you might’ve caught an episode or two of RuPaul’s Drag Race, a new show that seeks to find America’s next drag queen superstar. If you haven’t, it’s time to add it to the rotation on your DVR, because things are about to get heated. The show is sponsored by MAC Cosmetics, hosted by the abovementioned legendary drag queen (who coincidentally was the first ever spokesperson for MAC’s Viva Glam campaign), and features the trials and tribulations of nine drag performers who compete in weekly challenges to test their skills as a fashion designer, hair stylist, performer, spokesperson, and makeup artist (amazing, we know). If you start watching now, you’ll be good and prepped for the show’s climax on Monday, February 23, when the prize of MAC Viva Glam Spokesperson for a Day is on the table. Six of the remaining drag queens will get all diva-ed up to record a public service announcement and attempt to convince the judges that they deserve the coveted role. The contestant who can display over-the-top glamour and sincerity about the issue of HIV/AIDS—the heart of MAC’s Viva Glam campaign—will win the title, $5,000 in cosmetics, and the opportunity to appear in a MAC store to present a grant donation to an HIV/AIDS charity. We know we said we were over beauty pageants, but we are definitely willing to make an exception for this one.

Photo: Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics