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Elle.com Documentary Looks At How Drag Queens Shaped The Beauty Industry

Image Credit: Courtesy of Hearst/ Elle.com The official logo for the Elle.com Online Documentary Beat: How Drag Queens Shaped the Bea...

Image Credit: Courtesy of Hearst/Elle.com

The official logo for the Elle.com Online Documentary Beat: How Drag Queens Shaped the Beauty Industry

Way before the internet, the famous Disney song said, "It's a small world after all." With social media growing more and more everyday that song has never rang more true (going into 2019 the song would probably say "be sure to subscribe to my page and like my photos). The internet and social media have given communities and subcultures that were "underground" or "hidden" to the mainstream eye extreme visibility that is just another day for those who have been in those groups from day one, yet refreshing, new and sometimes shocking to the rest of the world. 

It is no surprise that drag culture has and is heavily influencing the masses in many areas of pop culture and life but especially in the makeup and beauty world. Moving to NYC in 2010, I was lucky to be exposed to a fabulous underground nightlife scene filled with queer artists and drag queens with what seemed like a completely new and exiting language. As social media grew and people picked up on this language it was interesting and sometimes frustrating to see cisgender people misuse the terms and slang that originated from queer people of color decades before. Enter terms like "contouring," "baking" and being "BEAT." Many people think that people like Kim Kardashian created or invented these terms and techniques but in fact they all stem from Drag Culture! I remember thinking when Kim started talking about contouring, "Wait, this is what the drag queens do!" In fact, a friend of mine that used to work for a pop culture magazine told me that she remembers the Kardashian girls talking about how their parents hired drag queens to originally reach them how to do their make up (can anyone verify this?!)

Enter Elle.com's documentary Beat: How Drag Queens Shaped the Beauty Industry. Featuring drag queen stars such as Alyssa EdwardsVivaciousSasha VelourLinda Simpson and industry insiders such as Frederic Aspiras and Nicola Formichetti, among others, Elle delves into the history of drag queen beauty and its impact on mainstream beauty industry and culture as a whole before YouTube, before Instagram and before influencers. 

Photo source: Screen shot from Elle.com's documentary Beat: How Drag Queens Shaped the Beauty Industry

Sasha Velour is just one of many fabulous Drag Queesn talking about how drag culture shaped the beauty industry in the Elle.com's Documentary Beat: How Drag Queens Shaped the Beauty Industry

I am extremely excited that large scale publications like Elle are finally giving proper credit to cultures and communities that originated things that seem to be "Christopher Columbus'd." This information may be a no-brainer for many but there are so many others that do not know the origins of things they love. I am just trying to do my part to "teach the children" as we say in drag and LGBTQ culture. I would love to see (if it already exists please let me know) a documentary on how Drag Culture has shaped the fashion industry. I have heard so many stories of stylists and designers going to drag shows, seeing costumes that the Drag Queens have conceptualized and hand sewn and stealing them for next season's runways across the globe. 

Take a look at the official description for Beat: How Drag Queens Shaped the Beauty Industry and watch the documentary below!

Official Description of the Beat Documentary via Elle's Youtube Channel: Thick, ombré block eyebrows, heavily contoured cheeks, blinding highlighter, fluttering false eyelashes. Picture a Bratz doll—or Kylie Jenner. Some call it “Instagram makeup.” Some call it a “beat” face. What it really is is decades of quiet, but powerful, influence from the drag community. Before YouTube, before Instagram, before “influencers,” now-common knowledge makeup techniques like contouring and baking were used by drag queens in the dressing rooms of clubs. They were passed on by word of mouth, taught by either peers or older performers (called drag mothers) who’d take newcomers under their wings. In our latest project, BEAT, we speak to artist and renowned drag queen Sasha Velour, Lady Gaga’s glam team, creative and fashion director Nicola Formichetti, and others, on how drag queens shaped the beauty industry as we know it, today.

Official documentary via Elle.com:


To read the article in it's entirety on Elle.com click here
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