I have arisen! Like a phoenix from the ashes!
Or a groggy grad student from a shitty fifth year program.
But I’d rather have my hindsight be more poetic than that. Either way, I needed a break, my dudes, and so I traipsed off to Puerto Rico for a month to hang out with beautiful drag queens in the sand and sunshine.
And then I chopped all of my hair off! Felicity joke! But more on that later.
I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my Puerto Rican background on xoJane before, which is actually kind of strange because I have a full-blown Boriqua heart and I go back every summer, but I suppose it has something to do with my wanting to write eloquently about identity. It’s tricky, especially when it comes to talking about affiliation in terms of ethnicity, and I didn’t want to do it a disservice.
Actually, I think this talk about assimilation and stereotyping is better reserved for another time, but suffice it to say, I didn’t want to deal with people telling me I “wasn’t Puerto Rican enough” to identify as such. I’ve heard that one as much as I’ve heard, “But you don’t look Puerto Rican!” To which I’ve gotten sick of replying, “You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.”
So instead, I’ll talk about how amazing my trip was. And how necessary it was to be off the grid for a few weeks.
Like phone off, computer off (mostly) for like three weeks. It was freaking perfect.
That’s not to say I didn’t keep my eyes peeled for beauty inspiration whilst wading in off-the-grid-glory. This is why I went to Pride on the beaches of San Juan. All I saw were hot body suits, chainmail shirts, and beyond gorgeous people for miles.
One thing I loved was the DIY revivalist attitude of the day. It was reminiscent of "Paris is Burning"-like balls, with people celebrating creativity and artistry as much as freedom of expression and identity. There were so many kids there with handmade clothes and dyed extensions. It really made me want to up my DIY game even more than I already have.
This teenager had a DIY shrug that I wanted to steal immediately. Not to mention his gorgeous eyeliner, done with liquid pen of course, and the silvery eye shadow, done with a crème pigment. The look, though somewhat Gaga, was executed perfectly. As was his catwalk, which I was fortunate enough to see as he sauntered off after a float throwing beads.
Then there were the drag queens, all pageant-y and “old school drag” for the most part, but undeniably gorgeous.
Aaaaand here’s the part where I argue that Puerto Rican drag queens make the most beautiful drag queens because it’s the truth and also nationalism. But seriously, if you want to argue, I suggest you take a looksee (if you don’t religiously watch it already, ya heathen) at "RuPaul’s Drag Race" for proof. I mean, this. And THIS, for god’s sake.
But here’s further evidence that I need to invest in human hair extensions from Sally’s and wigs from Ricky’s (since, you know, I’m a New Yorker now).
I mean, THE BODYSUITS! The minis! The hair color matching the outfits! I’m in love. We all know how much I love a good bodysuit.
Also, chainmail, as promised.
It was a dream. It was even more of a dream when I realized that this is one of the first Pride festivals Puerto Rico has ever had. Voicing a need for equality is fairly new to this stringently Catholic island that is even smaller than Virginia.
Yet thousands showed up. There were LGBTIQ kids everywhere as well, which gives me hope for Pride carrying on without losing steam. Plus, they looked like this:
Man, now I want to dye my hair green and look all Evanescence mall goth! Too bad I just paid out the butt to get the perfect platinum bob! And I look like Carey Mulligan gone mall goth? But, again, more on that later. I don’t want to confuse you.
SO instead! Here are some products we should all invest in, especially if we look up to our drag queen goddesses for inspiration. Which we should.
I hate that there is any stigma attached to wearing a wig. And I don't even want to go into where that gross stigma comes from, because I will get angry and rant even more than I already have.
But now that I have short hair, I find myself being nostalgic for long luscious locks or yearning for crazy-colored hair that I can’t afford (both for the health of my hair and the cost of buying all that In the Zone).
How SEXY is that metallic wig? Like, I'm pretty sure I can't go on without it. It would be a travesty.
If you don't want to mess with all of that wigdom, Sally’s also has human hair extensions which I will obviously invest in once my short hair panic sets in. Right now I’m still reveling in the short-lived adrenaline fix of change, ya know? But it looks cute. It does. I think. God, Gabi, I said more on that later!
To get all that crazy sexy and vibrant eye makeup, you best use an eye pigment. I like crème pigments because they can double as lipstick or even blush, if you have an appropriate blushy color.
I need to be able to match crazy colors on eyes and lips at all times, because it’s the coolest way to look, so I buy shit like this sexy aqua crème pigment from Makeup Forever.
Every drag queen has perfectly lined and darkened brows. I no longer pluck mine, because I’m going for that bushy model look, but I still want them dark, dark, dark. Especially with all the platinum going on, ya feel me?
So I have started using Too Faced’s brow darkening pencil and shadow. You can get them in a little kit now at Sephora! It makes life easier. Plus, it’s “as seen on Rachel Zoe” so it has to be good.
Also, I add black eyeshadow to my brows, to get them extra sultry. Just a tip for the queens in all of us.