The first Korean-American queen on RuPaul’s Drag Race and reality TV in general, season 8 standout Kim Chi melds humor into everything she does, and her brand new cosmetics line is no exception. Kim Chi Beauty, which debuted a few weeks ago, features glitter eye gel called “sharts” (yes sharts!) and an eyeshadow palette covered with kooky and comical drawings. But beyond the wacky packages, her line boasts high pigment color, high-watt sparkle and shades that flatter everyone and every ethnicity. On top of all this, it’s reasonably priced too.
Born Sang-Young Shin, Chi is originally from Chicago. The star moved to L.A. -like many who find notoriety on the show- after Drag Race, in 2018. But the cartoony queen’s main goal in life after Drag Race has been to glamorize the world. After meeting Toni Ko, the original founder of NYX Cosmetics, her dream of having her own makeup line was about to become reality.
Chi’s doll like eye looks and pouty lips have made her face a fave on social media, and she had been working on liquid lipsticks even before the Ko meeting, but touring left little time to develop the line- even though a collaboration on eyeshadow and eye liner with Eyeliner Stamp, proved there was a market for the saturated the hues and shimmering textures that have become her signature.
At the fabulous Kim Chi Beauty launch fete, held in a Hollywood mansion just a few weeks ago, we spoke with the gorgeous triple threat (Chi acts and of course, lip-sync’s like her life depends on it) about her exciting new endeavor.
“The character of Kim Chi is a live action anime character that’s come to life,” explains the drag fave. “I like things that are cute, bubbly, saccharine but also colorful and very cartoony. So it made sense for the first products to represent myself as a cartoon character.”
A comical character, of course. It’s hard to imagine anyone -queen or otherwise- in the highly competitive cosmetics biz who’d be daring enough to call something meant for the face a “shart” but that’s exactly what Chi did, releasing a line of high-density eye glitter called “diamond sharts.” (If you don’t know what a shart is, look it up kids).
“I don’t take life very seriously. I think life should be fun. So I mean the name “sharts,” it might gross some people out, but I just think it’s funny,” Chi says. “Makeup should be fun and it should be colorful and it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Have fun with it, you know?”
Chi definitely does that, and the future makeup mogul is her own best spokesmodel for this carefree philosophy. With one of the most unique makeup application techniques out there, following Chi on social media is inspiring for guys and gals seeking a little silly glam. Shockingly, she never really explored it before trying drag on a fateful night during Halloween 2012. “I got in drag for fun for the first time and ended up getting booked for a show the same night,” Chi says. “Everything has been kind of like a whirlwind since then.”
In addition to Chi’s sharts and sparkly/bright eye shadows, her High-Key Gloss liquid lipsticks are sure to be huge hits, boasting creamy texture and mod blush hues that flatter all skin tones.
Though makeup artistry wasn’t even something Chi pursued before drag, her love of art made her a natural with cosmetic brushes, contour and color. “I’ve been a fine artist my whole life and I was working as a graphic designer, so I had an art background,” adds Chi. “I saw makeup as trying a new medium that I hadn’t experimented with.”
At the launch party -which featured sushi, cocktails and donuts (natch), not to mention drag performances and swag bags- the entire line was on display and everyone was invited to play. With affordable prices at retail, the public can too.
“When celebrities or influencers release their makeup products, the price point is very expensive. It’s $20 for like a lipstick and like $50-60 for a pallete. But I made sure my price points are reasonable so that anyone can afford it. So the pallete is $25. The glosses are $9,” Chi touts excitedly. “I want everyone to be able to wear my makeup- whether they’re construction workers or librarians or drag queens. So I made sure anyone can afford to.”
Kim Chi Beauty can be purchased here.