A few weeks ago we wrote about Gorgeous, a photo project that explores glamour and beauty with some eye-opening photos of artists who break the mold of gender. The photos are a celebration of unconventional beauty, with monochrome portraits of Armen Ra, Candis Cayne, Jimmy James, Miss Fame, Laganja Estranga, Ernie Omega and more.
Since last we checked in, photographer Rob Lebow and Creative Director Masha Kupets held another photo shoot featuring drag icons Delta Work, Tammie Brown, Miss Fame and Landon Cider. We popped by the photo shoot to take a peek at the creative process and chat with the drag artists themselves.
Delta Work knew photographer Rob Lebow from Palm Springs, and leapt at the chance to collaborate on the project. “The face of what’s gorgeous isn’t just one exterior thing,” she explains, relishing the opportunity to challenge the notion of traditional beauty. “My size can be intimidating … for some people, the image of what’s beautiful has a measurement to it.”
These days, Delta’s keeping busy with live performances and a web series for World of Wonder.
Like Delta, Tammie Brown’s excited by the opportunity to inspect the meaning of gender and beauty. “It brings in the beauty from the outside and the inside,” she says of Gorgeous. Though she recalls “watching Tootsie and getting inspired as a kid,” Brown’s career has taken an unusual trajectory: successful modeling as a boy. “I pushed so hard for my drag … but I have a cult following out of drag now,” she says.
Current projects: her Hot SkunX album, featuring the single “Whatever It May Be,” will arrive soon. She’s also campaigning for humane treatment of orcas. “I believe we should help out more with the animals,” she says, adding that she’s dedicating a December 12 show in Seattle to Keiko, the now-deceased whale from Free Willy.
Kristine Carr’s background includes classical training as a soprano. But during treatment for cancer, she started reflecting on “weak” female roles, and her alter-ego was born: glamorous pansexual Landon Cider.
When Carr started out, drag king shows were a novelty. “They’d only do it once a year. But once I started to perform regularly, more started to come out — we have a great community now,” she says. Drag kings endure some unfair assumptions — for example, that they’re just lesbians in their father’s clothes. But as Landon Cider, Carr enjoys the theater, performance and fluidity. “Gender and me have a history,” she says. “Fluidity is important to me in drag … there shouldn’t be a binary.”
Just as we were wrapping up, New York drag celeb Miss Fame popped by. She’s a high-fashion glamour girl, and a perfect addition to the Gorgeous project.
The artists are still fundraising for the project. For $25 you can get an 8×10 print, and for $100 you’ll get a copy of the finished book.