Cosmo asked four gorgeous drag queens to bring out their favourite eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks to create striking looks that signify their version of self-love and help them exude confidence.
Creative Direction: Zunaili Malik; Interviews By: Meghna Sharma
“Loving myself is something I have always struggled with. I didn’t quite feel ‘beautiful’, and that’s probably why I created a drag persona. To me, self-love is essentially about taking the jagged bits of yourself—the weird, strange parts that no-one is willing to love—and honing them into sharp points you can use to cut down naysayers. I use confidence as an armour to face the world...and I stay confident by finding immense joy in doing what I do. Also, I have a habit of repeating affirmations to myself till they start ringing true—believe me, it really works. The look I have created here is inspired by nightlife...the electrifying thrum of a packed dance floor, where everyone is having a great time! When I put on my drag persona—I’d like to call this one here, SICKK—I like to be someone you can spot from across the room. That’s why I opted for bright blue eyes. SICKK is all about copious amounts of blush, smudged lipstick, and standout lids.”
“Self-love, for me, is undivided attention to one’s personal state of well-being—both mental and physical. The next part is to root joy in all aspects of one’s profession, and I get that joy by being a drag. I consider it to be an esteemed form of self-love, where I am transcending boundaries through my creations. Being a drag gave me the wings to take flight into this crazy adventure of harnessing my true self and honing my craft. I have to admit that I am not confident all the time, and it only pushes me to work harder. But the Wonder Woman pose and self-assuring affirmations kick in a quick dose of confidence. For this look, I went with a sculpted face—contoured and highlighted to perfection—and highlighted my eyes and lips by colour-blocking them. But leaving it at that would have been basic! So I outlined my brows, lids, and lips with black stones to add a hint of ’80s. The final touch: rebellious, messy, wet hair to complete my drag fantasy.”
“My relationship with myself is the most complex one I’ve had. On good days, I am my biggest supporter, admirer, lover, and best friend. On bad days, I am my worst critic. So it has been both sweet and toxic. But I have understood that balance is crucial. My sense of self-worth arises from the love I have for myself now. If we are able to look beyond the negative connotation of the word ‘selfish’, it would be so much easier for people to accept themselves. It is important to listen to yourself rather than the world, and look after your own needs before anyone else’s. My life has been full of challenges...mostly because of the unrealistic standards set by society. And that has stopped me from doing a lot of things in the past. But I have managed to overcome it, and I am becoming more confident. As a queer artist, the rainbow has always served as a huge inspiration, and that’s exactly what I have tried to channel through this look—the rainbow of love and hope.”
“For me, being a drag is a ritual of self-love. It takes me over three hours to get ready, and each step of swiping on make-up is about accepting and loving all your seen and unseen bits—especially the ones that you don’t ordinarily like. My drag character is like my superhero costume, it always makes me feel confident. But when I’m not in drag, I try to remind myself not to take anything too seriously. For this look, I have chosen primary colours. Both electric blue and bright-red exude positivity, but also signify the starkness of our world today. Most of us are locked in our houses currently, and this look was an attempt for me to reclaim my identity, even in the lockdown...and hope for a better future.”