Get ready to get painted!
Painted With Raven, hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race icon and Emmy-winning makeup artist, is the first competition of its kind where makeup artists from across the country will compete remotely — from the comfort of their own homes! They’ll serve face in a series of challenges that will snatch wigs, and inspire makeup enthusiasts everywhere. The artist that emerges on top at the end of the season will be crowned the winner and receive a cash prize of $25,000.
Ahead of its Thursday premiere, we sat down and chatted with Raven, the makeup mogul herself to discuss all things Painted With Raven, RuPaul, Drag Race, makeup, and what to expect from this historic new series.
Painted With Raven is making herstory as the first-ever makeup competition where makeup artists don’t need to leave their homes. How does it feel to host this monumental moment?
It was such an odd concept to wrap my head around? “How are we going to accomplish this?” I kept thinking. I was assured it was going to work and left it to the geniuses that really helped to maneuver this into reality. I had spent the latter part of lockdown filming Fashion Photo RuView from home, so I was already familiar with the format. However, that’s just three of us on a Zoom. This would be 8 of us total, plus a guest judge, and instead of looking at photos of the fashions from the runway of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it would be judging makeup in real-time. So we all definitely had our work cut out for us. World of Wonder is one of the leaders in creating groundbreaking content, so I am honored to have been asked to host a competition based on something I love so dearly—makeup and the art of transformation. And for it to be something of this magnitude!? I mean…c’mon!
When did you begin your makeup journey?
I’d say it’s been all my life. Since I was able to watch my mom doing her makeup. Since I was able to pick up a makeup sponge and realize what it could do. Back then, it was only sponges that my mom had—the tiny sponge tip applicators that came with her eyeshadow palettes she would get at the drugstore. I’d always be amazed at what could be accomplished with something so tiny. I didn’t really get involved with makeup until I started doing drag back in 2002. That was when I started taking it seriously. That was when I started to understand how many different cosmetic brands and products there were in the world… How using makeup could totally transform the shape of your face and sell a fantasy of glamour, gore and so much more! The possibilities are endless.
Who are your makeup inspirations?
Kevyn Aucoin, Mathu Andersen, Pat McGrath, Johannes Jaruraak, Phyllis Cohen, Way Bandy, and Alexis Vogel. To be honest, I’m inspired by so much and so many. It’s hard to list them all. These are a few makeup artists that have inspired me.
What do you think of the makeup artists sashaying into the competition? What can viewers expect?
I find them all very talented, obviously! We saw so many artists’ Instagram accounts and really had a hard time narrowing it down. Each one brings a different type of take on makeup and has their own way of doing it. They each have their strengths and weaknesses as we all do. But they are all so different and all so wonderful. I could go on and on and keep gushing. But I really do love them all! You can expect to love them too!
What are you looking for in the next makeup superstar?
Someone well rounded and able to do it all. Someone who can rise to the challenge and power though. Someone who shows and exudes their love for makeup without even having to say but by showing us. It will be a tough decision…they’re all so fabulous!
What was it like having RuPaul by your side as a guest judge?
Like having an older sister there! [laughs] I mean…here is the Emmy-winning host and judge and star of one of my favorite shows! A show I get to work on—an Emmy award-winning show. Someone I work with intimately. Someone who has become a friend. It was an honor to have Ru there! He kind of held my hand through the first episode when it came to judging. I remember after deliberating and getting ready to tell the artists their fate and I got anxious and remember looking at Ru and saying, “oh shit…I forgot about this…I don’t want to do this part.” He said, “shit just got real, didn’t it?” We laughed. “It’s not the funnest part. But it’s what this all leads up to. You’ll be fine!” And that was that. It still sucked each episode.
What advice do you have to aspiring professional makeup artists and drag queens who want to level up their skills?
Do what you love. Don’t follow trends. Paint outside the box. Be inspired and remember… makeup is fun. Drag is fun. Don’t let anyone take the fun out of it for you! Be kind.
Painted With Raven premieres this Thursday, November 25th at 12 p.m. (EST)/9 a.m. (PST) on WOW Presents Plus worldwide.