I first met Ellis in Liverpool; I was stopped in my tracks by her huge hair with matching outfit and the most detailed, beautifully blended colourful makeup. I was delighted when she broke the ice outside and we exchanged social media contacts to have more in-depth chats about our mutual love of makeup. We began working together shortly after and Ellis surprised me with how she interpreted our products, effortlessly transforming into different styles and creating really unique effects with our cosmetics.
Since then I have religiously followed Ellis’s instagram, noting how she carefully presents her profile of eye candy. Each look unique, but cohesive to document progression and creativity. This artist is completely in control, taking time to learn the logistics of social media platforms, a finger on the pulse of latest trends while experimenting to introduce entire new concepts, often dropping us a message to share new ways of using our products which she has discovered!
What I really love about Ellis is the way she is so open. I admire artists who take time to inspire, push and help others on their journeys. Ellis explains how drag was an experiment (like so many of us do) to see how it felt wearing makeup. Makeup, especially years ago was a very woman only industry and social views of anyone other than woman wearing makeup were often that it was a deep desire to be a woman. I feel sometimes that anyone who experiments with makeup or drag is often questioned about being confused about their gender. When I chatted with Ellis we found common ground that before experimenting with makeup we were so deeply conditioned by this, we had already started to face personal gender confusion. However like myself, Ellis discovered the drag community which embraced the art of makeup and we found our home where we could slip in and out of drag without questions that in reality never applied.
Ellis has actively tried to make drag normal, attending events, walking down the road and hopping onto public transport in drag. Like Ellis explained to us, we are all just normal people with a fascination of makeup, we simply just love being able to step in and out of a character without the complex dissection or justification. Typically when people think of a drag queen, they usually expect a comedian, dancer, singer or mime artist who wears makeup in a pub or club. But the art of drag has evolved where it is becoming house-hold, we are seeing a rise of drag social media and YouTube stars, drag queens are becoming business owners and at the click of a few buttons you can quickly develop the art. Drag is becoming accessible; it’s no longer a secret art which is only passed on through generations where mothers’ heels are followed onto the stage. The new generation of drag have more opportunities; we can earn a respectable wage through making videos, becoming a makeup company’s representative and we can build a good career as “a brand”.
Ellis has had fantastic opportunities working in top brand makeup stores, who years ago probably would have never considered a male assistant. Consumer acceptance has changed too, many ladies are borrowing drag skills such as contouring, highlighting and baking, some of which have been claimed by celebrities as a new concept and makeup companies are producing products similar to those drag essentials which we have used for years and years. But the drag roots are surfacing, they are being credited and drag artists like Ellis are being sent fabulous goodies from makeup brands to work with and we are reclaiming our art. This is where Ellis wants to continue heading to help makeup brands embrace artists and help makeup become genderless for future generations.
When we asked Ellis for her top tip - “!@?* anyone who is negative and trust your own initiative!” Not in the sense of becoming rude or egotistical, but have faith and trust in yourself, allow your brain and imagination to guide you to where you should and want to be. She explained often we listen too much to what we should or shouldn’t do, we allow people to drain us and stop us doing what we want. But in the world of makeup and drag, if you are smart and you focus on what you want to achieve, you can do a lot more than you could ever have imagined. I think Ellis has certainly lived by that, applying for jobs which stereotypically would not have been labelled as male roles and she has made a choice to live her drag career through the internet rather than the stage.
As my own path is so similar to Ellis’ I agree with her sentiment, consider what is right for you, you can choose to lead a career in drag. I personally know myself that I don’t have the skills or persona to captivate an audience on a stage, I feel that is a special quality only certain people possess and I am fairly confident that isn’t in me. However that doesn’t kill my drag existence, I have photographic and theatrical makeup experience and that gives me an understanding of how to formulate special effect products. I have years of professional negotiation skills from the insurance industry which helps to get a foot in the door of the world’s best manufacturers and agree very best prices for the finest ingredients available. I understand the struggle of budgeting a drag career through my drag experience as a DJ and event organiser. Like Ellis I am trying to make a difference for our community, making fantastic makeup accessible and not just accepting that big brands can take what they want from our purses, we can access it at better prices! If we continue to diversify in different careers, we all benefit as a community, so go for what you want and respect others drag career choices.
We have been over the moon to see Ellis has recently turned out incredible looks featuring our new range of theatrical and star glitters. We asked Ellis which one of our products she loves the most and as you probably guessed looking at her instagram, she chose our glitter! “The size and colour range Give Face Cosmetics hold makes it difficult for any other brands to compete, there are so many different effects, reflects and finishes which are so unique, there’s just so many I haven’t seen before!” And with that.. we can breathe a sigh of relief as she has been sent and seen A LOT of glitter! Ha.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Ellis for featuring so many of our products in her fabulous looks and sharing tricks (like adding oil to the bio glitters to make liquid metal – WOW)! I love the Atlantis stamp of approval and her expertise in social media has been a huge help to us to get better (especially Instagram – arrrggghhh!)
Check out more of Ellis’ work (Instagram @ellis_atlantis) but most importantly, join her on her internet journey and show her love!
Director: Johnny (aka drag queen Dirti Denise)
"I founded Give Face Cosmetics in 2016 working in my editorial photography business Outside the Box Photography, I researched and sourced incredible ingredients to create an amazing range of vegan and cruelty free products designed especially for artists who need amazing pigmentation and effects with no additives to reduce allergic reactions and irritation. I want to bring artists affordable, amazing quality."