A Day with the Queens

Our 3 instructors and judges: Kenzie Lovington, Syra St. James, Autumn Rainz
Autumn Rainz and Dominick Praither

This month The Art of Makeup School was transformed! Yes, we regularly hold makeup workshops, but this was more than just a makeup lesson.  It was an experience and that was FOR SURE!

Almost a year ago, three of us from The Art of Makeup went to Darcelle’s XV to see what all the fuss was about.  This place has been around for over 50 years and yet packs the house 4 nights a week.  Darcelle is in fact the oldest living performing drag queen in the world.  I mean, how can you live in Portland and not go see her show?

Well, as expected, it was a blast.  It was even kind of surreal.  The performers were larger than life, very funny, and gave us an experience to remember for a lifetime. What was a big part of this magic? It was the makeup of course.  The transformation of makeup is what makes drag queens become queens, and I had my favorite.  This queen stood out from all the rest. Her makeup was the most unique and creative.  What I didn’t know was that a year later divine intervention would bring her to me, and she would teach a drag makeup workshop at my makeup school! Let me share.

“We all gathered closely to watch the transformation of Dominick to Syra St. James”

On May 4th, 2019 Dominick Praither arrived at The Art of Makeup with no makeup, allowing us to witness his secrets of transformation before our very own eyes.  We were privy to see what usually remains behind the dressing room door and see the face under the makeup we could only guess at before. At his side stood a towering blonde bombshell by the name of Autumn Rainz, looking spectacular in full makeup and striped jumper. As the students trickled in with their models, the room buzzed with excitement. We all gathered closely to watch the transformation of Dominick to Syra St. James.

Dominick and Autumn started the day off telling stories of how they began, how they created their drag personas, and how their careers as drag performers grew into what they are today. We watched closely as Dominick glued down his thick brows and layered on foundation and powder; painting on eyeshadow, liner, lips and brows until Dominick became Syra.  I was starstruck.  Dominick was gone and Syra St. James entered the room, personality and all.  It was truly magic. Wig went on, silver sequence dress and heels.  There she was!

We broke for lunch, but when we came back it was our turn to create magic.  Each artist had an enthusiastic model, or transformed themselves. And now we had a third queen!  Kenzie Lovington joined us after lunch dressed as a country girl and Autumn Rainz had changed into a Dolly Parton style red dress.  The three queens sashayed around the room as they gave everyone helpful advice on learning and applying the techniques of drag transformation.  It was exciting and nerve wracking to create such a dramatic transformation, but everyone pulled it off!  Every single makeup look was unique and absolutely fabulous!

The Art of Makeup was transformed into a drag venue.  The models changed into their dresses, put on their wigs and heels; we turned up the music, and the fashion show began! Move over RuPaul, there’s another Drag Race in town! The models pranced down our classroom runway while the audience cheered! The queens tallied up their scores and announced two winners.  What the heck? My model and Gigi Trinchero tied for the winner.

It was a glorious moment for a makeup artist indeed!

Winning Makeup Artists Gigi Trinchero with model Cali French and Celena Rubin’s model Ryan Yoder
Our lovely judges: Syra St. James, Autumn Rainz, and Kenzie Lovington