Hello and welcome to The Llama Post. Today I am very excited to be chatting with the beautiful Miss Fame, who is currently appearing on LogoTV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7.
Miss Fame: Super Model Drag Queen has already had an incredibly varied and prolific career as a male model and drag artist. She has appeared in a plethora of international publications including Vogue Italia and The Huffington Post, she has collaborated with some amazing photographers and artists, appeared in music videos, and has walked at NYC Fashion Week.
We sit down with Miss Fame and discuss her unique beauty, influences, and where she sees herself in the coming years.
Can you tell us a little about your background as a model and make up artist and why you wanted to perform as a drag artist?
I started modelling at around 19 when I was living in California. My friend who was at Cal Poly at the time asked to photograph me for an art project they were doing. I did the shoot and after looking at the images, I was absolutely astonished with the results.
It was through the camera lens of someone else that I truly saw myself for the first time. It was a moment where I thought I actually liked the way that I felt and looked. It really gave me the impetus to take action and gave me the confidence to focus on a direction I wanted to pursue.
Working as a male model in California was incredibly tough. The look the commercial agencies wanted was very clean; the Abercrombie type of guys. Being skinny, having two half sleeves and a full chest tattoo, as well as sporting a Mohawk at the time made it difficult for me to get bookings with these types of agencies.
However, there were artists who would want to work with me and designers who would want me to walk for them. I had a market but as I began to realise it was not with the traditional agencies, who were telling me that I really needed to grow a beard, not to be so androgynous and to be more of a guy.
I came out to New York four years ago following the advice of Mike Ruiz the celebrity fashion photographer. We did a shoot together for The A-List: New York with Margaret Cho, who I absolutely love. Mike Ruiz is known for transforming people who already have a very well established persona, into these extra-sexualized, sublime beings. For this shoot he had transformed Margaret Cho into a blonde bombshell and I was there with my six pack and Mohawk on my hands and knees being her slave. It was fabulous.
During my time in New York I would often go out to the clubs wearing heels, all in black, face painted and not tucked. I was sporting a very tall androgynous look. Queens would come up to me and say “I love your face; you’re beautiful”.
Seeing other people’s reactions to my look and becoming more exposed to the amazing performance drag in New York really inspired me to perfect my drag aesthetic. I was eventually asked to walk in drag for a fashion show. This was ultimately where Miss Fame as we know her, was born.
Where do you draw your greatest inspiration for your drag and your art?
I am inspired by the amazing supermodels of the 90s like Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington. These women, were not just walking down a runway, they were putting on a show: giving body, handography, hairography and action. They brought so much life and energy to the runway.
I am also obsessed with old Hollywood glamour. I love Jane Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich. I have done looks that were inspired by all three of these women, often combining a lot of my 90s inspiration. My highlighting and contouring is particularly influenced by prolific makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin’s work in the 90s. I adore his artistry and his books are such a great resource for drag makeup.
What would you say are the greatest challenges you have faced performing as a drag artist?
There are always people who don’t understand what you are doing or why you are doing it. I have always just focused on doing what feels intuitive to me. I try to follow my heart and to be as authentic as I can.
I have to say that not being stuck on a fixed image of yourself is important. I have always been willing to try new things and I have embraced the direction of others, often totally surrendering to their vision. I feel that this has really helped my versatility as a performer as well as a drag queen.
Having proper support as a drag performer is essential. I am lucky enough to have the most amazing husband ever. He is a smart guy; he helps me with my management and overseeing everything, as well as providing much needed emotional support.
I recently lost my makeup kit in New York on a cab on New Years Eve. I was totally depressed, as it takes a lifetime as well as a hell of a lot of money to build up a professional makeup kit and to make matters worse I had a client the very next day. My husband: my saviour, got on the phone and called every cab company and garage in New York City and after hours on the phone he managed to find it for me. He would go to the ends of the earth for me, which I am forever grateful for.
We are very excited to be seeing you appearing soon on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7. Can you tell us, how did you find this experience?
For me RuPaul’s Drag Race seemed like the next logical step for my career as a drag artist. However there was no easy way to get onto the show. No matter who you are, you have to submit an audition tape and it is ultimately up to RuPaul and the casting director, as to if you will appear on that season. I did audition for the previous season and I didn’t make it that time. But I did not give up. I was persistent. I believed in myself and I tried again.
RuPaul herself was beyond anything that I could have ever imagined. I would look at her when we were on the main stage and I would just lose myself and stare at her. The whole room would blur and I would see Rupaul’s head floating in space. Her beauty is flawless and utterly mesmerising.
I have so much respect for what RuPaul has done as an artist and the impact she has had on drag. She really is ahead of her time; being such an iconic beauty and the face of MAC cosmetics over 20 years ago. What she has achieved totally inspires me to want to change the current face of fashion; bringing it to a place where we can have a model that is not defined by traditional gender stereotypes. Where I can be Kurtis as a boy and still paint myself as a beautiful woman, all whilst selling the shit out of a cosmetic brand.
You have amazing skin. Do you have any ‘hero’ products you use to keep you looking so fresh?
Well thank you! I do struggle with keeping my skin looking good, as drag makeup generally is not great for the complexion. I have always had slightly oily skin and I would have frequent breakouts as a teenager. I did indeed feel like the ugly duckling. I have had to work very hard to maintain my skin as it is today. I drink a lot of water for hydration, as well as eating a healthy diet.
Finding a cleanser that you like is also essential. My go-to brand is Dermalogica, which I find to be very gentle but also very effective at cleansing and prepping the skin. I think that using a decent moisturiser and eye cream morning and night to help protect the skin from the daily grime is essential. My skin does need a lot of love right now!
What would be your biggest piece of makeup advice you would give to someone new to drag performance?
For me drag makeup is about exaggeration but also about the detail and precision. My look is known for its perfection and I do really take time to finesse my makeup every time I perform. Remember to concentrate on your foundation routine. Choose products that work well for you so that you can achieve a good base, then highlight and contour and finally set with a big puff. Kryolan TV Paint Stick matched to your skin tone, is an excellent place to start.
I also highly recommend watching my transformation videos on YouTube if you are interested in how I do my makeup. I give all my step-by-step techniques on how to paint for drag and to achieve a fully formed flawless look. Watch out for many more videos coming this year.
Are you working on any exciting upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?
I am actually appearing in the movie A Change of Heart, coming out this year with Kenny Ortega directing and starring Gloria Estefan and James Belushi. I look forward to this opportunity to present myself to a wider audience.
A dream which I hope to realise would be to develop my own range of makeup. I would love for everyone to have a piece of Miss Fame with them at all times. I want to create a beautiful family of Miss Fames! #TEAMFAME.
Finally, how do you see yourself as a performer developing in the coming years?
I would love to see myself in the high fashion magazines such as W Magazine and Vogue. It would be great if there could be a drag icon that is truly relevant, who is a boy but can also be a beautiful woman. It would also be great to engage more with mainstream fashion and Hollywood and to help inspire others to embrace their true selves and pursue their passions. That’s my dream.
Find Miss Fame