Meet Robyn Valentine, the self-declared multifaceted artist with an affinity for makeup, politics, vintage, and vegan junk food.
When and how did you start?
I began messing around with makeup my sophomore year of high school after discovering a little show called "Rupaul's Drag Race." I had no idea what the show was or what the contestants were doing, all I knew is that I wanted to be a part of the action. At the time, I didn't own any makeup so I used to use face paints for a "flawless" beat. It was a journey to say the least, but I look back fondly at that time. It wasn't until I was in college that I began performing thanks to my good friend and flawless entertainer Alannah Barbie Davis, who gave me my first spot in a show. I lit up that stage with shoulder pads and wedges!
What does it mean to you?
Drag helped me to discover my identity. As repressed and self destructive as I was, every time I wore makeup, I felt comfortable, I felt authentic, I felt like me.
Who inspired/influenced you?
I've been inspired by the fierce talent who came before me, The Goddess Raven, Mr. Charlie Brown, Dena Cass, Divine, and the wonderful people around me, like my friend and frequent collaborator Ramon Garcia, Owner of Noel Designs & Hair Studio.
What has been your favorite part?
Watching my visions, the productions grow grander and grander! At the very first show I ever created "Flesh and Blush" (at The NASA) My only goal that night was to break even to make sure that everyone got paid. It was truly the little show that could. With no experience as a show director under my belt, there was a lot of trial and error! From that, look at where I am now; helping to raise young performers, creating shows in venues that have never hosted drag related events, sold out brunch shows, "Shop With A Queen" at 20/20 Vintage, all culminating into the powerhouse that was "Y2K" at The B.U.S. earlier this year. There were around 300 people in attendance! Truly a jaw dropping moment for me. The best part is, that I've continued accomplishing all these features alongside my good friends and helped raise money for charity along the way. All things I hope to continue in the future!
What's the most valuable lesson you've learned?
I've learned to trust my instinct and believe in my talent. It's come a long way in validating all the positive voices in my head.
Have you ever wanted to stop or give up?
The world of drag can be demanding, it's certainly gotten to me a few times, but hey, work is work no matter how unconventional it may be. Being able to sit back and see my world through the lens of others eyes, now that's what reinvigorates me.
What keeps you going?
My drive stems from personal ambition. From a young age, I've always felt as though my purpose has been to bring clarity to others. By no means do you have to have a large platform to reach people, but it certainly helps. I just hope that from all of my craziness that I can help to make at least one person's life better.
What would you tell someone who is considering drag but may be afraid to start?
Not to sound too cliché, but just go for it! Drag has truly been one of the most rewarding fields I've ever been in. Yes, it can be challenging, but what isn't? Ease into it, find yourself a mother, if you must, but just do it!
What is success to you?
The way I was brought up, success to me meant being financially stable, but there's more to life than just money. Success to me now, means I've been able to enrich others lives, I'm leaving positive impacts on the environments around me, and of course that I'm happy.
What are your dreams?
I want so badly to be a respected makeup artist and entertainer. I'm hoping that those things will take me to the people and places I dream of and that I can help to evolve the arts along my way.