If you told me six months ago that in the not-so-far-off future, I’d be sitting at a booth on the front row of a drag show at a gay bar in Chattanooga on a Friday night, I would have put you on my growing list of “2 scoops of stupid in a bowl full of idiots” list.
But on Friday, March 30, I found myself sitting at a booth on the front row of a drag show at a gay bar in Chattanooga on a Friday night.
Adam Poulisse was doing an article on the female illusionist industry, and I was the lucky photographer assigned to the job/stupid enough to stay out to 1 a.m. before having to be back at the office for work in the morning.
Darvin Roberts, or Samantha Leblonc, had agreed to let us photograph him in all stages of the transformation. Backstage access to the makeup, the hair, the glitter, the music, the dancing, the 5-inch heels, the shots of tequila and coconut rum, the costumes, the EVERYFREAKINGTHINGOMG.
Literally, I had one of the most wonderful nights of my life with Darvin. He graciously put up with my 10,000+ questions (guess that’s why I’m in journalism), gave me tips on how to apply fake lashes, introduced me to some awesome new Katy Perry remixes….He was just wonderful, and for the record, makes one of the prettiest women I’ve ever seen. Seriously. I was like a kid in a candy shop, taking (as my boss later calculated) what would have been over 35 rolls of film.
One interesting thing about Darvin is the fact that in these photos, that is his NATURAL HAIR, people. Also, the entire makeup and hair process, from beginning to end, takes about 3 to 3.5 hours to complete.
So, here are the pictures. And let me tell you, when they say that the primary lenses you use as a PJ are your wide-angle and telephoto, they aren’t lying. So I was thrilled to break out my 50 mm for a night.
All photos © Chattanooga Times Free Press – March 31, 2012