headerI’ve been thinking about scrapping my plans to feature a particular Drag Queen for today’s Transformation Tuesday.  I have queens lined up through the end of 2013, and being the Type A personality I am, I like to stick to the plan and the schedule I’ve created.  HOWEVER…two fantastic things happened.

First, fashion designer Marco Morante of MARCO MARCO trotted out sixteen–yes, 16–captivating Drag Queens to stomp from one end of his runway to the other (plus a beautiful assortment of male models that spanned the ethnicity spectrum and the body/build spectrum).  This all went down on October 16th for L.A. Fashion Week.

Second, after some teaser-like Instagram photos and ho-hum cell phone video clips…WE, THE PEOPLE were gifted with a clear, professional quality clip of the Marco Marco Fashion Show.

I don’t know who was responsible for getting this video into the hands of the people, but I do know it was Birthday Girl Rhea Litré that brought the video to my attention over on Dragbook.  (It’s real.  It’s like an exclusive Facebook for Queens and admirers!)

Thank you, Rhea!  Awe Yeah!  Let’s all take a few moments to watch the video and then discuss it–and why I felt Marco Marco’s amASSment of Queens and his fashion show deserved to be this weeks’ Transformation Tuesday.

Alrighty.  Now that we’ve all watched it, I’m going to tell you why I decided to skip my predetermined Queen of the week and focus on the Marco Marco fashion show.

It’s not just because I love drag.  And it’s certainly not because I’m “in the know” about fashion.  I like to dress nice, and I like to accessorize–but I’m hardly a fashionista.

It is because those 10ish minutes were a testament to VERITABLE BEAUTY and  LEGIT CONFIDENCE.

The root of beauty…is confidence.  And nothing else.  Not a single person on this earth has the power or the right to define what beauty is…and isn’t.

This is why I get so irritated when I hear women tell other women, “…but you don’t NEED makeup.”  Um, yes.  Yes I do.  When my face is clean and powdered, highlighted and contoured…when my eye lashes are out to THERE and my lips are plump and painted–I FEEL GOOD.

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When I wear makeup, there’s a spring in my step and I walk with my head held high.  I smile.  I make eye contact.  I…..become…me.  Authentic Sophia.  And the beauty you see comes from this deep, deep reservoir of confidence that did not accumulate overnight.

Who are you to attempt to strip away my confidence?  What does that say of you?  Instead of telling me what you think I need or don’t need–why not stay objective?  “I definitely see a difference in your application skills.”  “The eyeshadow you’re wearing, it’s not my favorite color from your collection.”  Telling me I don’t need makeup is essentially as offensive as if I were to tell you that you need makeup.  If you’re confident in Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker balm, then WERK IT, honey.

(This is where I say my favorite quote–my Queen audience is going to know exactly who this came from and my Mommy audience, well…just write it down:  “It doesn’t matter what you look like, honey…  If you have a hunchback, throw a little glitter on it, and go dancing!”)

But let’s get back to the point, here.  A few minutes ago, we watched sixteen drag queens walk down the runway with confidence out the wazoo.

I am going to make a sweeping generalization here, since I don’t know everyone’s story.  But I do know some stories.  I know that these men–these gay men–grew up in different homes, with different parents, in different parts of the world, and different levels of acceptance…..some found support from friends when their own family ostracized them, and some thrived on support of their family, when friends or classmates ridiculed them.

Some were blessed with support and acceptance from family *and* friends…and some had neither.

No matter what age they were when they came out…there was a period of time in their lives where their confidence had flatlined.  A lack of confidence is almost always accompanied by depression and despair.  And that is a terrible place to be.

I can’t relate to that—in terms of sexuality.  I just can’t.  I don’t even want to try, because a straight person like me saying  “I know how you feel” absolutely cheapens the integrity of their own feelings and personal experiences.

Here’s the thing, though.  Once upon a time I was morbidly obese.  Also, once upon a time I got shitty grades in school and barely made it in to college.  Then I dropped out for a bit before going back.    And then I lost 120 pounds and sought treatment for ADHD, and…

I never looked back.

A deep, dark depression nearly ruined me when Gabriel was 3 years old, and I sought out serious treatment for that.  And I never looked back.

I am who I am today because I’ve made modifications along the way…modifications that resulted in happiness and contentment with my own life.  I love the modifications I’ve made and they’ve all resulted in a huge boost of confidence (not cockiness) and that’s the very foundation of BEAUTY…..

Every single soul that walked down the runway was VERITABLE BEAUTY and LEGIT CONFIDENCE because every single one of those men embraced WHO THEY ARE and made modifications in their own lives to increase their own happiness and contentment.  Not a single one of them limited their happiness to the boundaries of what society’s definition of “normal” was.

No one slouched down the runway thinking: I’m too pale.  I’m too dark.  I’m too fat.  I’m too thin.  I have too much shape.  I don’t have enough shape.  I don’t speak English as well as I speak Spanish.  I haven’t been in the industry long enough.  People are going to look at me.  People are going to laugh at me.

Or…if they did, even for a split second…they dropped those feelings like a bag of rocks, collared  and leashed their confidence, and took that bitch on a walk down the runway.

MOMS.  HEAR ME.  I know you are sitting there in your sweats.  With no bra on.  Did you even shower today?  Are the kids trashing the house?  Do you feel like shit?  Do you feel like a shell of the sexy, confident woman you used to be?  Hey–we’re all entitled to a sweatpants day, a rainy day, an order pizza for dinner day.  We’re human.

The problem is that a sweatpants day easily becomes a slippery slope into depression, despair, and self-loathing.  You’re home with a kid all day (more many kids).  There’s no need to dress nice.  You skip the makeup.  Next thing you know, your armpit hair and your leg hair are not only visible, but you can probably braid it, too.  And let’s not even talk about your pussy hair–but I can tell you right now, I bet your man wishes you kept up with maintenance like you did back in the day….

This is why I decided I wanted to feature Marco Marco’s fashion show as my Transformation Tuesday—because I have so many objectives for my blog…one of them is to be the wake up call, the reality check for schleppin’ Moms out there who are just way too comfortable in their stretched out yoga pants.

Confident people love themselves.  Confident people take care of themselves.  And I feel a higher calling to connect the Schleppy Moms of the World with the Drag Queens of the World.  Glitter & Bruises will make this happen, right here.  I want Glitter & Bruises to be an avenue for the straight community to better understand the gay community and especially the art of drag.  And we are raising the next generation of children who I HOPE TO GOD won’t even look or think twice when they see a same sex couple together.  It’s not just our duty to raise our sons to hold doors for women.  It’s our duty to raise sons to hold doors for men–if that’s where their heart tells them.  And–same with our daughters.  We are raising the next generation of adults.  Love and acceptance begins in the home, and it can be taught in a developmentally appropriate way.

Soooooooooooooo, like OMG!  Let’s talk about Marco Marco and the fucking ROYALTY that walked down the runway!  Seriously!

1.  Vicky Vox

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The show opens with Vicky Vox, part of the group DWV (Detox, Willam, Vicky) who have some fantastic music.  (Check it out here.)  She is dressed to kill and is such an inspiration to me.  I used to be a big girl, and somewhere in my brain, I’ll always be a big girl.  When I feel like my own confidence is lacking, I find a lot of inspiration in Vicky’s vibrant personality and especially in her humor.

In this house, there are a lot of Draq Queen Quotes tossed into everyday conversations, and….”I know what I want!” is one of them.  Name that DWV song!!  😉

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2.  Carmen Carrera

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HEADS UP!  She’s a Jersey Girl!  There’s a special place in our heart for the Jersey girls (here in the Efthymiades-Wybraniec home!)  Carmen was on Season 3 of Rupaul’s Drag Race.  To my audience that is not familiar with the Drag scene…  I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking, “but that’s a woman.”

You are correct.  Carmen Carrera is a transgendered woman.  When she appeared on RPDR, she was a man, but in May 2012, she announced she was transgendered.  She is a model, burlesque performer, and TV personality.

One thing I have told my friends and family is that the Drag community meets Mainstream USA more often than one would think–as Drag Queens start gaining respect and recognition for their talents and performance skills, they’re appearing in print media, in television programs and in commercial advertising.  For those of you who watch Cake Boss on TLC, Carmen appeared on the show with the intention of promoting equality for the transgendered community.  Carmen was not aware that she would be part of a prank, and TLC pulled the Cake Boss episode when she spoke up for herself and the transgendered community.  Read more here.

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3.  Shangela

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YES!  OMG!  I have never seen Shangela look SO GOOD!  Shangela was on cast of Drag Race Season 2 and came back for Season 3.  She had only been doing drag for about 5 months before she was on Drag Race, so we’ve really gotten a chance to see Shangela grow into the fierce queen that she is.

Shangela is another queen that Mainstream USA might recognize.  She’s been on Toddlers & Tiaras (coaching her goddaughter), as well as Glee, Community, Dance Moms, 2 Broke Girls, Detroit 187, and The Mentalist.  I don’t expect Shangela’s career to slow down anytime soon…she is truly, truly talented!

With that being said–she is on a temporary break.  A few days ago, while performing as Beyonce at the RuPaul’s Drag Race Halloween Show, Shangela broke her leg!!  Check out her video to her fans here.  Take it easy Shangela!  We love you!  Halleloo!

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4.  Detox

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Oh, Detox.  Beloved Detox.  She puts the D in……DWV!  (What did you think I was going to say?!?!)

She looked amazing, obvi.  Statuesque, and her headpiece made her look like royalty.  I’m going to totally speculate here and say she probably smelled amazing too, like she did here.

What I loved about Detox’s walk down the runway was how her titties bounced in perfect synchronization with her fabulous purple curls.  Did you notice that?  Go back to the video and check out the 2:00 mark.  Niiiiice, Detox.  My head was like *bounce, bounce, bounce* right along with you.

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5.  Sassy Devine

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Confession time!!  I didn’t know who Sassy Devine was!  Neither did Ron!  I’m so sorry–we feel terrible!  One thing is for sure—I could NOT TAKE MY EYES OFF OF HER…absolutely gorgeous and has the most AMAZING curves….Sassy, I LIVE FOR YOUR TITS AND ASS!  And your lips and lashes, too….personally, that’s what I strive for…the tits, the ass, the luscious lips and lashes–my personal favorite body parts!  I hope we see more of you soon!

6. Raja Gemini

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After a quick male model break (by the way, with some of the most fluid bodies I have EVER seen….could not stop watching them sway)…Season 3 RPDR winner Raja stepped out in front of 5 models and shit got real.  I mean, even the beat fucking dropped to its knees in the presence of such Runway Royalty.

I love Raja.  I’m hesitant to say too much because I’m soooo anxious to do a Transformation Tuesday on Raja.  I think Raja is absolutely spellbinding.  Raja has a ton of “Mainstream USA” connections that my straight friends, family, and audience will know.  Raja (Sutan Amrull is his real name) was a makeup artist for Tyra’s America’s Next Top Model for 9 seasons.  He has also done makeup for Dita Von Teese, Pamela Anderson, Iman, Twiggy, and has been American Idol runner up Adam Lambert’s makeup artist for print media and live appearances.

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7.  Rhea Litré

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Next up is Wybraniec family favorite, Rhea Litré!  Another queen I’m hesitant to say too much about, because I want to feature her in an upcoming Transformation Tuesday.  I love her runway look, it is SO FIERCELY Rhea!!

I didn’t know who Rhea Litré was until I went to Voyeur a few months ago and then hashtagged the shit out of my Instagram pics.  And I noticed several “likes” from someone named Rhea, which caught my attention, since my beautiful niece has the same name.  (She’s also royalty—not Drag Queen Royalty but Hempfield High School Class of 2014 Homecoming Queen!)  So of course we are very #TeamRhea over here.  East Coast and West Coast #TeamRhea!

Gabriel loves Rhea Litré too…if he sees her on my phone, on Instagram, he double taps her face.

But—anyway, so I’m getting all these likes on Instagram, and I’m all “who the hell….” so I start creepin’ on Rhea Litré and I think she’s pretty fierce.  And then in June I had TMJ–it hurt soooo bad and I was in bed for 2 weeks.  I was watching RPDR reruns and caught one of the audition episodes, and thought I saw Rhea.  Yep, it was her, and…I thought I was pretty bad ass for recognizing her while she was on screen for a few seconds and I was doped up on muscle relaxers.

Somewhere in all of that, I met Rhea’s other half, Johna Myers, and now I want to move to the West Coast and do fun things with them.

(I can’t find a GIF of Rhea’s runway walk!!)

8. Willam Belli

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You read that right, that would be Willam with No Extra I in her name, but she is the W of DWV and another Wybraniec family favorite.  I’m pretty sure Ron really embraced the whole drag culture when Willam lit up our screens on Drag Race season 4.  He was always traveling back to NJ on Monday nights, so he never really got to see RPDR, and he wasn’t against Drag or anything, but I don’t think he really had the opportunity to see why I was a fan of RPDR.

Willam is at the top of the biz, and is funny–I mean HYS-TURRRRRRRR-ICAL funny.  You’ve got to look up Willam on YouTube (This Is The Beat Down and This Is Not The Beat Down) and see for yourself here.  To my friends and family–HAVE I EVER STEERED YOU WRONG?  NEVER.  My opinions are GOLD.  If I love Willam, and Ron loves Willam–you’ll love Willam, too.

Willam has been in lots of television programs, including Glee, CSI, Criminal Minds, Hot In Cleveland, CSI: NY, Southland, My Name Is Earl, Nip/Tuck, and several more.

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What do you think of the first 8 Queens that walked the runway?  Who wore your favorite look?  Who had the best runway walk?  Comment below, and stay tuned for the other 8 Drag Queens that walked the runway–coming soon!