Beauty tips with The Vivienne

Get your drag queen beauty tip fix

From perfecting the ever-elusive winged eyeliner to using setting spray during your make-up application (who knew, right?), The Vivienne’s let us in on her top make-up secrets – you’re welcome.


Where did your drag name 'The Vivienne' come from?

“It came from my love of Vivienne Westwood. I moved to Liverpool when I was 16 and I was always head to toe in Vivienne Westwood. When I started going out on the gay scene everyone clocked I was wearing her designs and started calling me Vivienne. So then when I wanted to become a drag queen, I knew my name just had to be Viv. I didn’t want one of those funny rhyming drag names (although they do make me laugh!) so I put ‘the’ in front of Vivienne – there’s only one of me and here I am.”


Viv is known for her glamorous looks, so how does make-up make you feel?

“It makes me feels strong, gorgeous and unstoppable. I certainly see make-up as an extension of myself, not a mask. It’s like Superman’s cape or an amazingly powerful shield.

“I’m a fully self-taught make-up artist and I got into all things make-up when I was 14 after a shopping trip to Chester. I found a make-up counter and just fell in love from there. I’m fascinated by how you can change your face, become someone else and enhance your natural beauty. It’s all about giving yourself a confidence boost and possibly even having a drag career!”


What's your favourite thing about being a drag queen?

“Drag to me is my self-expression, my identity and my creativity. I can put it all into one thing to create an amazing character – oh, and best of all, it pays my bills! I also love the freedom it gives me to say things that I wouldn’t say as James, and the main thing is being able to get on stage and entertain people. I thrive off giving people a good night and giving them an escape from everyday life.”


What advice would you give to anyone who wants to try new make-up looks?

“Do it! But please don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t go right the first time – I’ve been doing this for 12 years and still mess up! Persevere and believe in yourself!”


What is the top drag queen beauty tip that all make-up lovers need to know?

“MORE IS MORE! Just go for it. Don’t be afraid to go outside of the box. Play with all the colours, play with shapes, play with it all!”


Winged liner is always tricky, what are your tips for creating the perfect killer feline flick?

“I’ve found the only way to help get it perfect is to sketch out with a very light brown eyeshadow first. Get your shape then, if you’re happy with it, go in with your liquid or gel liner.”


How do you keep your make-up looking fierce from morning to night?

“As a performer, I need to make sure I’m using products that are made for the stage, especially my foundation, so I use a lot of stage make-up.  And of course, my fave thing in the world, setting spray! Most people use it after make-up but I like to use it before, during and after to really help keep that stunning look locked in. Top tip – apply it during foundation application and you’ll be thanking me!”


Where does the saying 'beat your face' come from?

“It’s literally beating your face with products to set your make-up. I love using baby powder as translucent powder and taking that powder puff to beat it to the gods!”


What's your make-up removal routine after a show?

“My routine varies, it could be the pillowcase, the bed sheet, coconut oil, micellar water, or make-up remover wipes.”


What's your out-of-drag beauty routine?

“I love a nice bath with a bath bomb and I’m really into skincare at the moment (as a drag queen with all this make-up I should be looking after my skin!). I’m currently using facial oils, super-rich moisturising creams and just trying to take better care of my skin. I’m not getting any younger so now’s the time!”


If you could only wear one of these for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Highlighter or contour?

“Definitely highlighter, as you can get away with wearing it on its own, but contour would look weird!”

Hip pads or face tapes?

“I always said I would never go on stage without my hip pads and I stand true to that, so I’d give up the face tapes.”

High heels or high wig?

“High heels definitely (even though I wore flats on the first episode of Drag Race UK, I still won the challenge).”

Lipstick or lashes?

“A queen should never be seen without her lashes! You can fashion lipstick out of eyeshadow.”

Couture gown or your drag race crown?

“Oh the crown, even if I was naked at least I’d have that.”


What advice do you have for anyone struggling with self-confidence?

“Just be yourself. There are more people out there like you than you think, and it’s those people who you’ll have fun with. If people don’t accept you for you then forget them!”