Here we go!!! The long awaited pageantry of RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants competing for the title of Miss Skin Wars! We have 9 painters left and one is not only going to lose the crown but will also get the boot to go home. In my line of work, I have come across many types of bodies, male and female, so to have the pleasure in painting a Drag Queen was the ultimate surprise! I have to keep a fresh perspective on life on people, you never know who you are going to come in contact with or what new perspective they might throw your way. Everyone has something to offer, we just have to be patient and open minded to accept it!
That being said, let me take you on a journey of my experience for this episode!!! Coming off of the last episode and being in the bottom two I knew that I could not play around anymore… it was time to get my head in the game! I walked in with a little more attitude and a fresh outlook on the day (notice the red pants… I meant business haha). Of course RuPaul is all too excited to introduce his ladies. I was a little sad that they didn’t show all of what went on. So much of their presentation was cut from the show. They came out one by one to introduce themselves and give a short line or two on where they came from and what they liked to do. Of course most of them totally couldn’t get it right so the bloopers were endless and had us rolling in laughter! I was chosen to paint “Miss Diagnosed” (Tyra Sanchez/ Winner of Season 2’s Drag Race)- NO PRESSURE! Can I just say that not only is she a beautiful lady but a SUPER TALL one as well! That is a lot of canvas to cover in a short amount of time. My eyes were already scouting for a step stool because i knew my little short self was going to be needing it. All of the men’s testosterone went flaring up on stage! I almost peed myself, Otto and Rick were not so comfortable with this scenario. No time to waist thinking about it though… we were off to the start of our first challenge… the Swimsuit category!!!
So the first interaction I get with Tyra is a warm welcomed hug! She is so sweet and quite bashful at first. I was surprised to see her self conscious of her body…. she has the most beautiful legs ever! She didn’t want to unveil her robe for a while. This shocked me but also reaffirmed that I was there for her just as much as she was for me. I was meant to boost her confidence and make her comfortable with herself, so I went to work. We spent majority of the day chatting with each other about everyday life. I found out that she has an amazing family bond with her son too! You can really learn a lot about someone when you spend face to face time with them outside of SOCIAL MEDIA- it is crazy! Needless to say once we were both comfortable the paint was flying! She wanted to represent her love for Florida and the beaches so I decided to design a blue breezy swimsuit with a touch of the sun. Now here is what you don’t understand not coming from a body painting background. It is much faster and easier to paint skin than it is clothing… and for some ungodly reason they decided to put these huge horrifying bras stuffed with breast inserts on our models. 1.) That makes it more time consuming because it soaks up the paint and 2.) it is a hideous eye sore that you have to work the design around so that it doesn’t stand out. So in the short amount of time we were given, this is what I was capable of. Not my all time favorite but for Tyra’s first time being painted, she felt beautiful in it and that was totally worth not taking top 3 in the first round. Sometime’s you have to find the bright side to it all! So now that day one of judging was over and they gave the winning swimsuit to Michael… it was time to give it my all for round 2!
With little sleep and much anticipation for the elimination challenge, I was amped and ready to go! Tyra walked in and I had to take a second look because I almost didn’t recognize her… um him?!? It showed me that these ladies definitely put their time in to transform themselves with makeup and they are damn good at it! One handsome fella i might say! The day started off immediately with smack talking and daggers being thrown across the room. They were catty but in a humorous way! They kept calling Tyra the “Fresh Prince of Bellaire” because of the box fade haircut (haha). She was a good sport and played along! At one point during the day she said “What if I fart on you?” as I was conveniently painting her rear end! I almost died laughing and stated “Just as long as my face isn’t near it!” Not much surprises you after you paint people for a living. Maternity shoots are the realest… there is no hiding the gas at that point! I truly got to enjoy the day with Tyra, she was cool, calm and collective! She knew how much this meant to me and knew I needed to find my zen place. So she said “baby, I am here for you and will do whatever you need!” I can’t tell you how much I appreciated her in that moment, while all of the other queens were giving their painters hell over the makeup and the paint. Life was good!
So the theme was to make it all about the Queens and their personalities! Tyra wanted to show her Warrior side because that is was her name stood for. So i designed her paint to represent not only her strong will but her inner goddess as well. Purple is a color of Royalty and being that she was a previous winner I felt it was fitting for her character. I also had her a dripping gold collar with eyes peering out from underneath to represent her no being afraid to face her opponents. Now we were down to the last 10 minutes and I was still finishing the details on her body when I realized that I had not even touched the face!!! I look over to my side and Allison has this beautiful hairdo and elaborate makeup on Yara Sofia! Now I feel terrible! Tyra told me to just go with a warrior paint style and not to worry about the glamour…she wanted to feel strong! So with 5 minutes remaining I somehow pulled off her look using every second I had! Standing on a box (because I was too short to reach) painting her lips, Rebecca yells out “Time’s Up!!” No more work to be done … time to walk the runway and impress the judges!
We watch all of the Queens in their moment of glory selling themselves to the judges! Now they call me up to critique me on my work! First thing out of Ru’s mouth is “FIERCE DARLING!” He absolutely loves what I did! The judges LOVE her face… if they only knew it took me 5 minutes!!! So much to be appreciated about their compliments. I felt good at this point but what was to come made the stress of it all totally worth it! SO they announce the top artists… Michael… Allison… and then they call out me!!! Wahoo!!! My inner child was cutting flips! Back on top again, life is pretty good at the moment! Not being in the top three for the swimsuit had me doubting myself for a minute but this just goes to show that a little hard work and dedication pays off! So we walked away as second runner up…. at least we weren’t in the bottom! I would have felt terrible for Tyra! I couldn’t let her go home that way! We celebrated the big win for Allison and partied off stage as Jess unfortunately got the bad news that her grass beard on Milk was her sending her home. So even with all of the excitement we are still sad to see another one of our family go home! Now the house is down to 8 painters but the upside is now there are only 3 women in one room of the house instead of 6!!! I live to see another day on Skin Wars! Time to go relax and gain my strength back to do it all over again the next week! Channeling my inner Tyra, I leave you with this quote!
“Whatever you are physically… male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy- all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.”
– Cassandra Clare