As an art form, drag doesn’t always get its due. But the creative energy that it takes to put together a fully realized drag look, complete with intricate makeup and costuming—is enormous. It’s more than most of us would be able to pull off even given a year to prepare. Now imagine doing a new one every day for an entire year.
That’s what drag queen Phi Phi O’Hara’s doing in all of 2016 for her project 365 Days of Drag. Every day, she reveals a new self-portrait featuring a perfect drag look. They range wildly from styles that resemble the traditional female impersonation so often associated with drag queens, to theatrical looks that make her seem like a creature from a fairy tale. We got to do a quick Q&A with Phi Phi abotu the broject.
The Creators Project: Some of the looks you’re doing are so intricate, how do you manage all the work? Do you spend Sundays doing all 7 for the next week or something like that, or actually do a new one every day?
Phi Phi O'Hara: Any day I have off I try and squeeze as many looks as I can get into the day, I can usually cram 4 into a day if everything is planned out ahead of time. My boyfriend is off on the weekends so I try to dedicate my weekends to him and work during the week.
Where do you take inspiration for your looks? Do you ever worry about running out of ideas over the course of this massive undertaking?
I have a sketch book of art pieces I like, photoshoots I find interesting, pictures or patterns I see. As much as I like doing the tradional "pretty" drag look I like to see what I can do to bring it to the next level by adding something you wouldn't expect for example the tacks mask I did on day 5 to my face. I already planned the year with a few spots open so if I am inspired by something I can always squeeze it in. I also have contacted some of my favorite artist and makeup artist to see if they would like to collaborate so I am not too worried about running out. Besides the sky is the limit when creating art.
Do you think that drag is getting more respect as an art form these days? What are your hopes for the future of drag?
I do feel that way. What we do is truly an art form. Just like Jim Henson created amazing made up characters with costumes, makeup, prosthetics, we are doing the same thing. Being able to transform somebody with he flick of a brush, makeup or hair is truly a talent.
To keep up with the rest of Phi Phi O'Hara's 365 Days of Drag, click here.