Kochina Rude is a Bay Area drag queen who identified her style as “50% punk girl, 50% low-rider chola girl.” Out of drag, she is a cisgender man, but in drag, she’s all lady – using she/her/hers pronouns. The Otter Cross Cultural Center coupled with Kochina Rude and hosted a drag makeup tutorial on Oct. 16 in preparation for California State University, Monterey Bay’s annual Werk Witch drag show.
Rude started off with a disclaimer, stating that she was initially not naturally good at makeup, but went on to say that “All things come with time and practice. It’s supposed to be fun.”
Rude told a brief history of drag throughout the tutorial, noting that modern drag has roots in the queer and trans ballroom culture of the 1970s and 80s.
“Drag is for everybody,” Rude said.
Back in the day, there used to be a distinction between the cisgender men who did drag and the trans women who did drag, but Rude said that language evolved and changed over time.
“Drag is for everyone,” she said.
As for the makeup, Rude suggested budgeting one to two hours for completion, depending on how dramatic one is planning to go. She praised using Krylon, which is a brand of theatre makeup. It’s pretty heavy stuff, but it’s necessary for a full face of drag realness.
“You’re not wearing this to brunch with MeeMaw,” Rude said.
Having a good sense of humor is a necessary aspect to drag culture. Rude mentioned that in her house among her drag sisters, there is a need to comment on each other’s “busted” looks. Part of the culture is being able to “drag” or “read” your drag sisters, which is basically bullying or teasing each other but all in good spirits.
Rude’s first step for drag makeup is the blocking of the eyebrows which entails gluing your eyebrows in an upward motion so that you get a good flat base. She suggested going over them five times, plus an extra swipe for good measure. Before foundation, you need to use a concealer because those “eternal bags need to be cornered” she said.
An interesting trick Rude explained was rubbing deodorant all over your face after primer but before foundation. This is so that the anti-perspirant can help absorb the oil and sweat one might get during a performance because stage lights can be harsh.
For people with an adams apple, Rude said they can contour the neck by patting -not wiping – it with a beauty blender. This creates a shadow to hide the adams apple.
Rude used cream based makeup and then powders over it to set it. This method is called baking.
Baking requires one to apply the powder, let it sit for five to 10 minutes and then dust off the excess. One will see that most of the powder was absorbed by the face during the process. The phrase “beating your face” comes from this because you have to use some force to blend the makeup.
Rude recited a drag proverb: “If you can blend, makeup is your friend.” It’s really important to blend to get a smooth look. Rude advised to always blend upward to get a wind tunnel look. She also said that the corners and planes of your face should be in shadow to create definition. However, Rude said, “So much about makeup is figuring out what works for you.”
Immediately after that statement, Rude changed her mind about the process, threw her hands in the air and moved on to the next step. One thing she focused on is the importance of supporting Black-owned products. For her eyeshadow, Rude uses the brand Juvia’s Place which is a Black-owned line of makeup specifically designed for Black and brown skin tones. She also uses the drag queen favorite, Sugarpill. While doing her eyeshadow, Rude lost her brush.
“Half of you doing your makeup is losing your fu***** brush,” Rude said.
Rude’s drag inspirations are Dolly Parton, Elvira and Rita Moreno. The Zoom chat was filled with excitement as the participants dipped their toes into dragging Rude.
“Sounds like ya’ll are drag queens in the making – but don’t come for my gig bi***,” Rude said.
Winding down, Rude did her eyebrows in thin lines with black liner. “I’m a chola, bi***,” she said.
She added a signature freckle, and then people in the group chat started calling for “the tooth.” Rude then took a bottle of Black ink, snarled and drew a big gap in between her two front teeth. This seems to be her claim to fame.
“I’m a payasa [clown], that’s literally what ya’ll pay me for,” Rude said.
The participants left the tutorial with a history lesson, great makeup tips and a stronger sense of the drag community. Drag is making fun of gender norms, and as Rude said, “Don’t you look ridiculous bi***?”