this drag artist serves sexy spooky interspecies realness

Fresh from spending 365 days -- yep, days -- in drag, the ever fabulous Charity Kase offers some fresh water pearls of wisdom on the changing face of beauty.

by Tish Weinstock
14 February 2018, 11:41am

Charity Kase is the rootin'-tootin' drag artist you never knew you needed to know about. Growing up in the leafy backwaters of north west England, Ms Kase (real name Harry Whitfield, but you may call her Charity) would while away the days rummaging through her mum’s make-up stash, and concocting fantasy world creatures out of the deep dark crevices of her imagination. Silver alien covered in acrylic and glass crystals with elongated ears? You got it. Lizard queen with slits for a nose, green body paint and oversized doll eyes? Coming right up. Currently working on a series of sexy spooky interspecies make-up tutorials for her brand new YouTube channel , this 20-year old drag kween just spent 365 days in drag, that’s one whole year’s worth of serious contouring and Mehron Cream-blend sticks, putting her in an unparalleled position to talk all things beauty.

"In 2017 I spent every day creating a new drag look. It was exhilarating and I am blown away by the amazing reaction it received. I originally planned on doing 100 days of drag, but I got to day 100 and I had so many requests to continue that I really didn’t want to stop. I discovered that I can pull together a look with a deathly hangover and that a girl can never have too many bald caps. The main thing I learnt was that if you put your mind to something and work your ass off then nothing can stop you achieving your goals.

I grew up in the middle of nowhere, with three sisters, literally the only gay in the village. I was the most feminine member of my family -- I’d wear glamorous coats and platform shoes to high school and change the colours of the buttons on my blazer (I was obviously always picked last for sports).

My first beauty related memory is bleaching awful highlights in my hair back in primary school. I remember being so happy with them. When I was about 10, I have vague memories of being told off by my dad for wearing make-up. No matter how much I tried to scrub my eyes clean he could always spot the remnants of smeared on eyeshadow and chunky thick mascara. Then I started experimenting more seriously with my mum's make-up, covering up teenage spots with concealer and filling in my eyebrows. As I got older I developed a go to look of red eyeshadow under my eyes and white powder, like an ill vampire.

When I started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race I began to appreciate the full potential of drag. Before that, I had only ever seen traditional panto dame style queens. I never considered drag as a career option until this year really, but now it’s taken over my whole life. Two years ago, when I first started going out as Charity Kase, I was more interested in creating fantasy characters than traditional drag looks, finding inspiration in fantasy, horror and sci-fi films. Gender isn’t the dominant theme of my drag, I try and show that you can be more than your gender and identity, you can become a piece of art.

Growing up was difficult, I often felt like the odd one out. But having a really strong support system at home is something I’ve always been grateful for. When I was just a little boy skipping around in my sister’s fairy costume I knew it wasn’t what boys should do. I was allowed to dress as I wanted, but my dad had more than one conversation with me about how the rest of the world would see it.

Three years ago I moved to London and found a wide social circle that included people of all different genders and identities: I don’t need to understand it all -- just respect how other people feel and how they want to live their lives.

I have always been comfortable with my body but I used to be lonely and have quite a low opinion of myself in school. I was diagnosed with HIV when I was 18, and that was very difficult for me to process as I’d had no prior education on the topic. Over the past three years I have become much more informed, but I’ve also learned to use drag and painting as an outlet for my emotions, which has meant my self image is probably the best it has ever been.

These days, I feel most beautiful when I don't recognise myself in the mirror. When I’ve spent time on a look and I’m happy with the outcome, I always feel beautiful. Even if it is something horrifying, it's just a different kind of beautiful. There are times when I feel insecure, taking public transport or even walking down a busy street in full drag can be overwhelming but on the whole I find drag a really fabulous way of challenging my insecurities.

The most important thing is to be yourself because authenticity is the most beautiful trait of all. Beauty isn't about what lies on top of your skin, it's about the stories your skin can tell. Fuck what the media says, fuck what society says. You are beautiful.”

Charity Kase will be modelling in Sarabande’s Life Drawing Class this Thursday.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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charity kase