With the artfully flawless makeup and fashion looks she rocked on season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the New York club kid turned drag superstar known as Aquaria has built up a fervent fanbase. Currently seen on Werq The World, a new reality show on the Wow Presents Plus subscription service, Aquaria is letting her fans share in her cosmetic creativity joining forces with Nyx Professional Makeup brand for a vibrant new eye shadow palette.
Packaged with a new wave meets glam rock holographic design, the Aquaria palette features 10 shades inspired by the drag performer’s love of nightlife, evoking a decidedly New York state of makeup mind. The L.A. launch party last week at Century City’s flagship Nyx store celebrated the new product with a Pride-themed party, and meet and greet, bringing out drag friends and fans for photo ops, food, and drink. Before the festivities, L.A. Weekly spoke with the busy young queen about makeup and life after Drag Race.
“Since the beginning of my drag career I used Nyx products to create powerful yet effective makeup looks,” Aquaria told us before the bash. “I still do and not just with the palette.”
Donning a bright orange wig, hand-painted leather skirt and fishnet crop top, Aquaria’s makeup for the event featured a matching bright red-orange on lids contrasted by a bold teal lower lash, both from the palette.
“I’ve always been inspired by androgynous beauty and gender nonspecific looks,” Aquaria shares. “I’m into giving more of an expression of how you’re feeling rather than what the world wants you to feel like you should feel.”
“I like a kind of punky look — and very new romantic-style makeup application — so I wanted for these colors to be, you know not your everyday neutral, but colors so you can do intense eye makeup looks, and big blush moments,” the millennial glamster adds.
Key visual ideas incorporated into the product include “stop sign” red with sunset tint and the Brooklyn “skyline” in midnight blue. Aquaria got her start as part of party queen Susanne Bartsch’s performer posse, a beginning that clearly influenced her audacious aesthetic. And unlike many queens from the East Coast who make the move to L.A. soon after Drag Race exposure, she plans to stay put in NYC for a while.
“I definitely haven’t hit the Sex and the City seven- or 10-year slump,” Aquaria, who is originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania, assures. “New York is definitely where my heart lies.”
Aquaria notes the difference in mindset and ambience between L.A. and N.Y. and expresses appreciation for it, though she doesn’t get to perform out here often. “There’s such a closely knit community here and I think is really cool and it definitely parallels the sisterhood that we share in New York City,” she notes.
So what does Aquaria think of the the latest Drag Race winner Yvie Oddly, whom she crowned right here in downtown L.A. just a few weeks ago?
“I thought she did a very effective job, you know, really turning it out at the end in the lip syncs,” Aquaria says. “I feel like she definitely made an impact on the show and I feel like people really enjoy her, her vibe and her energy.”
The unique styles of Drag Race’s last two reigning queens reflect the shift in beauty as seen online — via viral application tutorials, on Instagram and by influencers (such as Patrick Starr). Untraditional, out of the box makeup and alternative looks are hot right now, allowing everyone to have fun expressing themselves, which is what L.A.-based Nyx is out to celebrate with all its collaborations.
“My inspiration comes from the nightlife, glam and Kabuki,” Aquaria concludes, as she wraps up our interview, and makes her way to greet L.A. fans. “I’ve never been inspired by Marilyn Monroe or a Pamela Anderson, you know?”