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.
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