This article was published on November 19th, 2016
Day drag is one of the single toughest gigs for a queen, but unfortunately, it is unavoidable for most dedicated drag queens. Nightclubs and bars tend to be darker venues with dim lighting and more forgiving audience members. Day drag requires a whole new level of finesse and attention to detail. Whether you’re day drag performance is a pride event, drag brunch, or promotional event, HomoCulture caught up with the utterly dragulous Carlotta Gurl, one of Vancouver’s premier drag queens, to get some tips for you on how to dazzle doing day drag.
When it comes to drag this is one of the most vital elements: on point make up. Nightclub lighting can wash you out whereas day lighting is less harsh so adjust your make up accordingly, Carlotta Gurl recommends a cleaner look for day drag.
“Try to keep your look as smooth and as clean as possible,” explains Carlotta Gurl. “If you’re going to paint really big, make your blending as good as possible, and make your colours as pretty as possible. You don’t want to look garish and scary. Use lots of matting as well; when you’re shiny you’ll be reflecting light back to your audience.”
Obviously you still need to look the part so going au natural is of course a no no.
“Still paint heavy for day drag, as the day progresses you can smooth and touch up, add more, for whatever slip and slides off your face,” said Carlotta Gurl. “It’s good to use a sealant; the sun is not your friend. Use a good fixative to keep your make-up in place.” A hot tip is to use hairspray or green marble sealer, its like fibreglass for your face!
Never underestimate the importance of sunscreen either! Carlotta Gurl shared her first hand account of the importance of this and learned the lesson so you don’t have too!
“Many years ago I did Marilyn Monroe for the pride parade,” began Carlotta Gurl, recounting her horrible experience in the sun. “I over slept. In a rush, I forgot to put on sunscreen. Lucky my make-up I had sunscreen, except for the make-up on my forehead, and I forgot to put sunscreen on it. My Marilyn wig has a curl across my forehead. Needless to say I ended up with a curl mark on my forehead that lasted for days. How embarrassing.”
Its good advice also, to dress for the weather, on a hot day you don’t want to be out in the baking sun without adequate sun protection in a baking outfit.
“Usually I find that if it’s a hot day, lesser clothing and sunscreen is really important,” said Carlotta Gurl, explaining what she suggests for day drag. “Some makeup doesn’t come with sunscreen. You don’t want to go out later, after you’ve washed off your make up only to find out you have a port wine stain on across your face.”
One of the most creative aspects of drag is, of course, the outfit! Daytimes tend to have more visual distractions than a night time gig where the room is dim and you’re in the spotlight. Carlotta Gurl suggests airing on the side of bright!
“I usually go towards more bright and colourful, you want to be seen by everyone; especially if you really want to blind people and get noticed,” explained Carlotta Gurl. “Anything beaded and sequin will help you get noticed.”
Of course, shoes are a vital part of any outfit, but do you really want to be walking around all day in heels? From one fellow heel lover to another, Carlotta offers the following words of wisdom.
“I love wearing high heels during any occasion, but if you’re out for a long time, you might want to wear shorter heels or flats,” recommended Carlotta Gurl. “My feet are molded to wearing high heels, so I’m good for long periods at a time. You might want to look at wearing a lower heel to avoid discomfort throughout the day.”
And finally, on the clothing theme, one tip you may not have considered from Carlotta Gurl …
“Avoid costumes with a train, because unless you have people to help you, it’s going to get really dirty walking across the street. Beautiful dress; such a shame about the mud all over the back!”
Ah hair, vital, fun, creative and exciting. Can make or break any outfit! The difference between day and night drag with hair is all in the detail.
“People will notice the lines more during day drag, compared to night drag. Well-made lace front wigs are a drag queens best friend,” exclaimed Carlotta Gurl, glowing as she revealed her favourite drag tip. “Get beautiful styled wigs with crisp lines for day drag. If you have an older or cheaper wig, you can use a razor on the front of the wig to make it look nicer and bring the smaller hairs down to create a more natural hairline line. If all else fails… Bangs!”
As well as the wealth of amazing tips above, Carlotta Gurl shared with us a few extra little gems of information for doing day drag that will help you to take your performance from just ok to utterly dragtastic.
“The biggest thing right now, even through it’s expensive, is a breastplate,” said Carlotta Gurl. “It’s basically a constructed chest made out of silicone, which you can attach around your neck and back; it will give you the look of having real breasts. If you can’t afford a custom breastplate, get a tight bra with a large cup that you can put your forms into, push your breasts together, and contour your chest with make-up to give the illusion of having real breasts.”
A great chest can go a long way to looking real and fantastic. But Carlotta Gurl has more tricks up her sleeve for aspiring drag queens.
“A great way to surprise an audience during a performance is doing a reveal,” explained Carlotta Gurl. “I wear outfits under other outfits. I’ll start off with one outfit that might have Velcro, snaps, or tear away, and I’ll rip if off, revealing a completely different outfit underneath. Making it completely unique and a different look.”
Finally, Carlotta Gurl suggests that props, when used correctly, can really save your show.
“I use it to add to the number, not distract,” Carlotta Gurl said, referring to how she uses props in her shows. “If you’re feeling insecure about your performance or look, because maybe you didn’t have time to learn a song, then colours and props are a good way to distract. In my case, that never happens, because I know my numbers inside, and out!”
After picking the brain of one of Vancouver’s finest drag queens, you now have the best insider tips on how to take your day drag performance to the next level.
Do you have suggestions on how to up your day drag game? Leave your ideas in the comments section below.
For more information about Carlotta Gurl check out her website.