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Drag Race's Aquaria spills the beans on her NYX eye collab

TextAmelia Abraham

The drag queen superstar and Dazed Beauty Entertainment Editor on why she's teamed up with accessible and affordable US brand NYX Cosmetics

Earlier this week, our very own Entertainment Editor and Drag Race winner Aquaria dropped her new palette with cult drug-store brand NYX Cosmetics. A first for NYX, who have never collaborated with a celebrity before, the palette was first teased at the Met Ball, when Aquaria used it to create a dramatic electric yellow eye.

The 10-shade “punk-noir” palette pays homage to Aquaria's love of the futuristic, metallic and punk. It is perfect for every situation from a drag showdown to a casual daytime pop of colour. Below, she tells us what else inspired the brand new product, as well as what she's been doing drag-wise. 

Where are you right now and what have you been up to! 
Oh my goodness, right now I’m in Paris leaving the NYX Professional Makeup store heading back to my hotel to jump out of these tights and heels and take a shower. I’ve been all over Europe in the Werq The World Tour and I also just filmed the finale for [RupPaul’s Drag Race] season 11 last weekend. It’s been a whirlwind couple weeks and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

How did the relationship with NYX form?
Aquaria: Whoever’s idea it was, thank you so much! NYX Professional Makeup reached out because they were looking to do their first “celebrity” collaboration. I was very humbled and honoured that I was asked to be the first superstar they had worked with. And from there it's just been a really easy journey of creating the palette, the colours, and the visuals. I’m super excited to see everyone’s interpretation of the looks they can pull with the colours!

Talk us through the colours, what was your inspiration? 
Aquaria: I wanted to keep the shadows perfect to quickly toss on the eye for a metallic night out and also give room for the artist to create a more detailed and minced fantasy if they aren’t in such a rush. These colours are some of my favourite go-to's when it comes to doing my own makeup so from a messy “out-of-drag” club look to a fully glam eye, I wanted the palette to be versatile and funky and poppy more than your average neutral palette.

What does punk noir mean to you?
Aquaria: For me, punk noir is sultry and metallic. It is the play of dark shadows and bright colours. It is against the grain and mysterious.

Do you remember the first time you did drag makeup? 
Aquaria: I did what I thought was a fierce, pink cut crease, which little did I know would stain my eyelid for days to come. The inspiration in my head is not what resulted on my face. I ended up looking like an Electric Daisy Carnival look (but it wasn’t THAT bad!) I still stand by it as a decent debut.

What's your favourite existing NYX product? 
Aquaria: Besides my palette, I’ve always been a fan of priming my eye with the Jumbo Eye Pencil in ‘Milk.’

If you had to create a product in skincare and haircare what would they be? 
Aquaria: I know my friend Kim Chi already beat me to it, but I think the idea of printing our make-up looks onto sheet masks is so cool and interactive, and I’d find it so fun to create a product like that. As for hair, that’s not much of my speciality but if there was a super easy way to rapidly clean the lace on a wig, that would come in so handy.

What are the benefits of creating products as a drag queen and why is it important career-wise? 
Aquaria: I think that drag queens definitely have a very rugged understanding of the artistic elements that go into a beauty beat. We definitely know the roughest and tumble types of heels, the best way to keep your wig on, and the fiercest way to lay down some make-up. We [drag queens] go through the most in all of our beauty elements, so we have a good understanding of what might work and be beneficial to our beauty routines. For me personally, I’ve always had an interest in make-up, so being able to team up with a very well-known brand like NYX Professional Makeup has given me the ability to create my dreams and share them with the world.

What have you got coming up in the next month work wise?  
Aquaria: We are entering into Pride month, so we are in the heat of all of the LGBTQIA+ craziness. It’ll probably be a lot of day drag, but it’ll be worth it. I’ve had a very wild couple of months touring with Werq The World all throughout Europe, so I will definitely be enjoying the couple of days off that I may be able to find here and there. Then I can’t wait to get started on the second half of the North American leg of Werq The World Tour in October.

Aquaria's palette is now in stores in the US nationwide.

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