Behind the scenes with Art Simone and Etcetera Etcetera

Etcetera Etcetera and Art Simone are legends of the Australian drag community. After achieving mainstream fame on Ru Paul’s Drag Race Down Under they have now partnered with NYX Professional Makeup to bring lessons to the outback. The duo have both been practising drag artists for 15 years and will be sharing their tips and tricks in regional towns as they tour their stage show AS SEEN ON TV!

Alexandra Shadbolt, Marketing Director for NYX Professional Makeup told PB: “At NYX Professional Makeup we stand for PROUD ARTISTRY FOR ALL. The brand is focussed on driving boldness, colour and the freedom to allow everyone to create with inclusivity.” She says that the Backstage Beauty initiative is the perfect partnership for NYX, ensuring makeup “is accessible for all communities in Australia.”

We spoke to Etcetera Etcetera and Art Simone about the power of makeup, challenging preconceptions in the beauty industry and the top tips, tricks and product recs for a bullet-proof beat every time. 

Art Simone and Etcetera Etcetera
From left: Art Simone via Instagram: @rtist and Etcetera Etcetera via Instagram: @etceteraetcetera

What does makeup artistry mean to you?

Etcetera Etcetera

Makeup is such an important tool for a drag artist – it can easily elevate your drag from basic to unique. I take great pride in putting effort into the transformation process and the correct ways to apply products. I worked as a makeup artist for a few years and it taught me so many valuable skills to add to my drag arsenal. Art is my life! 

Art Simone: 

Makeup artistry is such a powerful tool, it’s equal parts escapism and a strong armour that equips me to be the best part of myself. it’s an evergreen platform for my creativity and is something I can always guarantee to make me happy

How has makeup changed or enhanced your life? 

Etcetera Etcetera:

Beauty is aspirational! Creating aesthetically impactful work, especially through makeup, inspires others to be their best selves. I love looking and feeling beautiful, and makeup and drag is a huge part of that process.

Art Simone:

“The beauty world has really helped me to live my life authentically, it’s given me strength, skill and helped me to build a network of fabulous friends who all love to get glam!”

Backstage beauty school drag makeup
The As Seen on TV campaign.

There has been a longstanding perception from prestige cosmetics companies that makeup is for cis women only – do you think this is changing?

Etcetera Etcetera:

“Whether they like it or not, the world has changed! Makeup has always been used by subcultures and fringe communities to express identity and assert individuality – now that’s all out in the open! For a lot of trans and gender-diverse people, makeup is a tool to face the adversity of day-to-day life. In our series of workshops, we want to give a safe space for everyday Australians to discover how to express their inner beauty and have the confidence to be exactly who they are inside! I love working with more traditional brands as a drag artist – there’s s much possibility for exploring new ideas. I can feel the change in the air, and I feel so lucky to be a part of that movement.”

Art Simone:

“The idea that makeup is for cis women only isn’t changing – it HAS changed. It’s so empowering to see companies embracing that makeup is for everyone and that is why it is such a joy to team up with NYX Professional Makeup for our Backstage Beauty School makeup seminars. They celebrate and encourage us that makeup and all makeup artistry has no barrier based on gender. For me, makeup was the gateway into a world of drag and self-expression. It was a perfect mix of escapism and self-exploration and was key to me forming my sense of identity. It will be an absolute joy to share over 10 years of industry experience with attendees as they get the rare opportunity to peek behind the curtain in an informal and informative environment.” 

Drag makeup artistry requires a different approach and skillet to your day-to-day office makeup! What are some techniques those wanting to slay their looks – or make them work on clients – need to nail? 

Etcetera Etcetera:

I think people have a lot of misconceptions about drag makeup! Sometimes bigger isn’t necessarily better! Drag makeup is about finding the most effective way to transform your face and being bold with the aesthetic you’re trying to achieve. Clean your brushes, use pigments and mixing mediums, and blending is your friend!

Art Simone:

Drag makeup used to differ largely from traditional methods, but in recent years it has actually been popularised via “beauty gurus” and celebrities like Kim Kardashian. The level at which they paint is not dissimilar to techniques used by drag queens. The only big difference is that we take it to the extreme in terms of scale, bigger, bigger, bigger! My biggest tip that I think crosses over to traditional makeup techniques, is to be very aware of angles. If you angle all your makeup slightly upwards (like you would a cat eye) it opens and tightens the look of your face – basically free plastic surgery!” 

Kim Kardashian instagram
Celebrities like Kim Kardashian along with social media beauty gurus have popularised traditional drag makeup techniques. Image courtesy @kimkardashian Instagram, makeup by MUA @nikki_makeup

Do you have a favourite beauty tip you’d like to share with PB readers? 

Etcetera Etcetera:

“Take care of your skin! From someone who wears heavy make-up more than the average person, it takes a tole! And you need to be kind to your complexion to be able to stretch your artistry to new heights.”

Art Simone:

“My favourite beauty hack is with eyelashes, as I know a lo of people struggle with application. First make sure you trim your lashes down to fit your eye, if anything its best they’re a touch smaller (trim form the outer/longst end). Then for application – apply your lash glue (I prefer latex based glues), press the eyelash where you want it then remove it. Let the glue dry for about 30 seconds (on the lash and on your eyelid), this helps to get it nice and tacky. Then place your lash back on the eyelid and it should lock in place straight away! Be sure to also push the outer ends of your lash upwards so you don’t end up with a sad eye. 

What’s your favourite beauty product and why? 

Etcetera Etcetera:

I love highlighter/shimmer. Currently hooked on the Metals range from Danessa Myricks – nothing shimmers like them! Adds such dimension to the face. 

Art Simone:

My absolute favourite is setting spray! As drag queens, we push our makeup to the absolute extreme. We wear layers and layers of makeup and have to perform on stage under hot lights for hours on end. So a fantastic setting spray is a life changer!

Drag makeup kit
Your dream drag kit: Liquid liner, latex-free glue, big fat lashes, glitter and a mixing medium and plenty of setting spray to hold it all together.

What do you hope attendees at Backstage Beauty School will take away from their experience? 

Etcetera Etcetera:

“You don’t often get to watch a drag queen get ready in real life – this is a front-row seat to the exact techniques we use to transform ourselves. We both have very different styles – so you’ll get to see the full range of drag magic! They’ll also take away a gift back from NYX Professional Makeup – who doesn’t love free stuff? 

Art Simone:

I hope that attendees not only walk away with some fabulous tips and tricks about drag makeup but also use the experience to find out about what it’s like to be a professional drag artist as well. It’s going to be like a youtube tutorial in real life, except this time we can talk back to you – we can answer all your questions and also enlighten you about the wider world of drag! 

Tickets for the As Seen on TV show and Backstage Beauty School are available at www.asseenontvtour.com

Want more top tips from the pros? Read our interviews with Rae Morris, Victoria Curtis and Lisa Eldridge.

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