Legendary.

By Kayla Greaves
Jun 01, 2021 @ 7:50 am
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Black Drag Queens on Their Hair Muse
Credit: Getty Images/InStyle

If we're talking wigs, weaves, and dramatic hairstyles, and you don't bring up at least one drag queen, honey, why are we even having this conversation? Because when it comes to lewks, these girls know how to bring it.

And while queens are some of the most creative when it comes to makeup and hair, they also love to draw inspiration from the women they consider to be among the most glamorous on this planet.

Here, we spoke with three dazzling drag queens to find out who their muses are, and how they emulate their hairstyles when they're ready to hit the stage.

Naomi Smalls

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Credit: naomismalls/Instagram

If you've ever watched Drag Race or been lucky enough to attend one of Naomi Small's shows, then you know this queen does not play around when it comes to her hair. And she looks to none other than Naomi Campbell as well as hair and makeup artist Mathu Andersen as her muses.

"Hair is such an important part of the Naomi Smalls Doll delusion and fantasy," she shares with us. "It has always been my favorite accessory or stunt."

When it comes to planning her own looks, Smalls takes inspiration from both Campbell's signature hairstyle, along with Andersen's daring nature.

"There's something so striking about 30-inches-and-up, flat-ironed to the crack of your rear," she says of the supermodel's hair. "Watching Naomi Campbell do a subtle neck movement that controls a sheet of glass-like shine is such a beautiful thing. Long, straight, black hair has been a staple for me since early drag due to Naomi. It's hard not to feel connected to her when wearing a long black human unit. Legs out, nose pointed to the clouds, and hips forward — she brings out a different side to Naomi Smalls that Davis [the queen's birth name] doesn't have. Hair is so powerful."

As for Andersen, Smalls refers to him as a "beauty magician."

"The styles achieved on Ru Paul's Drag Race, music videos, America's Next Top Model, editorial, and runway will forever be tattooed in my brain," she shares.

While Smalls says that she has a background in hairstyling and even graduated from cosmetology school at 18, she admits she's not the best at doing her own hair, and doesn't really love doing cuts and color. But she's still able to use her beauty education in other ways.

"I do think the vision and familiarity of the cosmetology world influenced my taste in wigs and desire to switch it up," she says. "I'm lucky enough to have a great hair team who understands my vision, since I cannot make it happen on my own."

Miss Peppermint

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Credit: peppermint247/Instagram

For Miss Peppermint, it's all about the early '90s looks her hair muse Janet Jackson showcased.

"I spent a lot of time scientifically studying pictures of Janet Jackson in the '90s," Peppermint shares. "I remember attending her concerts back then and feeling so excited. I have worked diligently with my hairstylist to achieve the curly quaff and fresh tendrils that I wear on a daily basis. I am so grateful for my hairstylists."

However, the former RuPaul's Drag Race star, who was the first openly trans queen on the show, keeps it very real when it comes to what it takes to achieve these styles — and keeping her own hair healthy.

"I spend a lot of time and money — probably more than I should — on getting my hair styled, enhanced, and hopefully maintained," she says. "I use a lot of serums and creams and hair oils to provide extra strengthening. Of, course I also use extensions and wigs for a little extra sex appeal."

But outside of Ms. Jackson, the drag queen is down to try a number of different styles, whether for a show, photoshoot, or any other appearance. "[I love] everything from natural and curly, kinky to long flowing locks and, of course, one cannot forget: braids, braids, braids, braids," she says.

VIDEO: Taraji P. Henson's Latest Hairstyle Makes Her Look Exactly Like Janet Jackson in '97

Shea Couleé

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Credit: sheacoulee/Instagram

When it comes to hair muses for Shea Couleé, the drag queen couldn't pick just one.

"Diana Ross just epitomized glamour and being able to be a [style] chameleon," Couleé previously told InStyle. "You do see a lot of those sculptural, '60s references come in with certain hairstyles of mine." 

As for her other two picks? It's none other than Naomi Campbell and Grace Jones, especially when she played Strangé in Boomerang.

"The first time I saw [Naomi] was in a Michael Jackson video, the 'In the Closet' video, and she was in this white two-piece and they're out in the desert," Couleé said. "I love someone who has a real signature. That center part, with those long, cascading inches just — I mean ... not only was she super duper glamorous, but she was a dark-skinned glamorous woman. [Then, Grace Jones,] her high top is so iconic, she wore so many types of wigs in Boomerang. She had a blonde ponytail, she had a Cleopatra moment. I just remember being so intimidated by her, but intrigued at the same time."

This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.