Image Source: Getty / Pascal Le Segretain
Kim Kardashian may have said nobody wants to work these days, but that’s hardly true for a group of drag performers whose day (and night) job requires them to always be on. Drag, an illusionist’s art form that has proven itself pandemic proof, pushes the limits of beauty and entertainment. Think: contouring on the go, securing wigs with Spirit gum and a prayer, and practically doing gymnastics in heels. And now, thanks to platforms like “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and TikTok, it’s easier than ever to pick up the tools of the trade.
One such viral hack recently inspired a campaign in which French drag queen Nicky Doll becomes the unexpected spokesperson for pain relief. Dubbed AsperQueens, on behalf of Aspercreme, the campaign seeks to encourage heel-lovers everywhere to spray their feet with the brand’s lidocaine salve to ease the stress on their feet. The “Drag Race France” host admits to using the solution in between performances but also says she has been an avid user of the brand throughout her career.
“Aspercreme reached out because they know that drag queens probably rock heels more than anyone else on the planet,” Doll tells POPSUGAR. “The more I started to use the product myself, the more I realized how amazing it was. It’s not just about pain relief; it’s so much more than that.”
This much is true: the art of drag is actually more like a sport. While it’s an avenue for entertainment and community, getting in and out of drag is something of a marathon — from makeup to wig setting to tucking and more. Any “RPDR” fan already knows it can take hours to get ready. Doll is no stranger to foot pain, which made her a shoe-in for the national gig, but she also uses Aspercreme for other parts of her body, too. “I’ve used [it] for different parts of my body, like my shoulders and other muscles. Now, I actually use it in between songs. When I do a gig where I do two or three songs, I go backstage in between songs and use it for my next numbers.”
She adds that her best tip for strutting one’s stuff in sky-high footwear, if you’re really trying to minimize pain while wearing heels, is to go with a platform versus a stiletto. “They give the illusion of a high heel but your foot isn’t that elevated,” she says. “It helps me get through the night more easily.” (That, and to make sure you step on the ball of your foot when performing versus the heel.)
Image Source: Courtesy of Aspercreme
Still, this is hardly the only drag-approved beauty hack Doll has learned along the way. Among the other tips include nose contouring and how to choose the perfect foundation-concealer combination, but she says the ones truly worth sharing aren’t approved by science: “Trust me: I’ve seen girls using deodorant sticks on their mustaches to clog their pores so their upper lips don’t sweat.”
Her most important knack for nabbing an even stone is color correcting. “As a French guy with a Spanish heritage, I have a strong mustache. So I have to color correct before I apply a foundation. Then I set it with loose powder so it really locks the color correcting in before the foundation.”
She also shared her thoughts on what’s next for the contouring craze spurred not by the Kardashians but started within the drag world: “I know a lot of people are self-conscious about their body, so there is a leg and body foundation by Dermablend that I actually use for my face and body. And it’s waterproof! In areas where you might have varicose veins or something that you might feel is unsightly, just cover it up. Body contouring is not mainstream yet, but I think people should embrace it.”
“I need to feel like I’m earning the title of a drag queen. If there is no discomfort, where is the fantasy?”
There’s a lot to be said for why we continue to sacrifice comfort for beauty, putting ourselves through the pain of heels and cosmetic procedures and the like, but Doll’s perspective reasserts a mainstream view on the why behind, well, pretty much anything. If an athlete continues to push themself past their limits, proving over and over again why they’re a force to be reckoned with, so too can artists and performers like Doll.
“As a drag queen, I may not be the best spokesperson for ‘just being yourself’ or wearing flats, but I need to go through a little bit of pain to feel the fantasy. I need to feel like I’m earning the title of a drag queen. If there is no discomfort, where is the fantasy?”