I Swatched Glitter With the Drag Queen Willam and Learned So Many Life Lessons

Updated 09/10/19

 Tanya Akim

“Trust a drag queen’s eye, honey,” Willam said.

With the ease of a surgeon naming a body part, Willam instantly clocks my foundation brand and the exact shade that I’m wearing that day. “I knew it was [Dior] Airflash,” he says. “It’s my favorite foundation too.”

There are few things in life that are more intimidating than meeting a drag queen. As I get ready, a checklist runs through my head. Glitter, check. Heels, check. Lip gloss, check. More glitter, check.

After one last glitter application, I hop into an Uber to meet Willam, the unstoppable drag eminence and self-proclaimed “mattress” (model/actress) at the Ready Go Ventures office, so that he can show me his new collection of gender inclusive makeup. While en route, I start watching old episodes of Drag Race Season 4 on my phone, and start audibly laughing as I remember all of Willam’s smart humor, acerbic wit, and tirelessly quotable lines like, “I’ve got good bones.”

This morning, there are no wigs or designer dresses—just Willam and me in a polished conference room looking at the full lineup of Coverboy. His skin is absolutely perfect, despite having just come off of a red-eye flight from LA. His candor and warmth are both refreshing, and very cool. Looking at the table, I immediately reach for the glitter gel pots. Cocktailing blues with pinks and golds, my hand suddenly becomes a lavender incandescent ball, “Oh! Looks like we have a purple shade now too!” Willam exclaims. 

Willam Drag Queen
Tanya Akim 

Between swatching vibrant colors on our arms and exchanging dating stories, we start reminiscing about Drag Race memories. When I reference a more recent episode, details surrounding a particular queen escaped me—but it was no problem. “Let’s text her in the group chat and ask,” he says. “Oh my god, look at the video she just sent.” He lets me peer into his phone to see a deluge of texts from the world’s most iconic drag queens, each message wittier than the last. For me, it was the equivalent of seeing into the clandestine, glowing briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

Coverboy
Coverboy

I surrender to the fact that today will be a very glittery day—especially for my face, arms, and carpet. Willam’s line, Coverboy, features five glitter gelly pots (for cheeks and eyes) ($12), five shimmering matte lip varnishes ($16), and six sets of eyelashes ($10-$18). These are the staples when it comes to looking put-together, Willam believes. The glitter gelly pots are a standout product for me. The application is so simple, and they dry down so quickly. Dozens of different shapes and particle sizes are mixed into this chunky formula to create a prism of stars and diamonds on the lids, face, or body.

As we let the lip varnish swatches dry, it’s undoubtedly clear that the matte shimmering liquid lip color does not transfer or smudge. It’s the perfect product for a performer, or a girl who hates reapplying.

Apart from an incredible career starting from drag bartender-for-hire, to starring opposite Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born, Willam has had quite the glow-up. I asked the star to divulge some top tips to successfully glowing-up in life, and after a break-up.

Coverboy Willam
  1. “First, figure out your angles and your light – good makeup can be rendered useless in bad lighting like evil top light.”
  2. “Use glitter. Use it in-place of a highlight. As you get older, highlighter is more prone to setting into lines. Everyone’s going to get lines if they have any emotions, so using glitter is a good alternative because it doesn’t set into cracks, but provides the same sparkle. I think using the [gel glitter] on my cheek instead of a highlighter and I love it so much more. If you’re over 30, you’re going to deal with an issue at some point while wearing highlighter.”
  3. “Don’t cut your hair if you’re heartbroken or in a crisis. My mom tried to cut off her waist-length braid when she was mad at my dad and I said to her, ‘What are you going to do, beat him with it?’ I stopped and grabbed the scissors out of her hair."
  4. “Most importantly, do all the stuff that you were too afraid to do with your partner – wear what they didn’t like or want you to wear, or might’ve asked you to change out of. Be happy with your choices. Don’t dress for anybody else and don’t paint your face for anybody else. It’s liberating.”

And for Willam, no glow-up is complete without a final dream becoming realized. When I ask if the beauty line was an ultimate goal for him, he smiles and nods in the affirmative, “It’s really the cherry on top.”

Related Stories