Attitude. Outfits. And Hair. Big, show-stopping hair! “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is back with 13 queens for Season 13, and the only things more fierce than the contestants are the challenges blindsiding them from the moment they strut on set.
When RuPaul announced they would have to sing for their lives in the very first episode, they knew they had to make every performance count. One sequin out of place, one eyelash that comes unglued, and they could be sashaying away before they even get started.
Miss Carmen Adore, one of South Florida’s most high-profile Queens, put her super skills to work for some of the girls. She does wonders with wigs and takes every strand seriously.
“I believe the wig and style should be cohesive with the Queen’s look,” she said. “Normally the queens will come to me with a look in mind and show me examples of what they like and we create something together.”
And since a wig tops off an outfit (literally), Carmen makes sure it will hold up through even the most acrobatic performances.
“Some styles require the Queen to secure it to their heads so it won't fall off or fall apart mid-performance so I try my best to make sure everything has a good base and can endure the wear and tear. It is also common for queens to see celebrity styles and want to duplicate that so a lot of times wigs would have to be customized in a way to make it undeniably noticeable to the character.”
This season our behind-the-scenes queen worked with contestants including Olivia Lux, a self-described lover of big hair. And while RuPaul may love spilling tea at every turn, that’s not the case when it comes to the show. Secrecy rules, so Carmen worked her magic with only a few clues to guide her.
“I would just see a drawing of what their idea would be and create something from that so the only thing I get to see is sketches from the stylist and fabric patterns and colors.”
Carmen also knows that performing in a club is very different from working an outfit for Hi-Def TV cameras. So Drag Race contestants get extra attention to quality and detail.
“I only use wigs that have a good lace. There is a technique called ventilating where you can either add or remove individual hairs throughout the hairline to make it look more natural but I definitely don't buy anything from a beauty store for the public. It's just not the tea for me.”
Miss Adore has been a fan of the Emmy-winning show for years, and got the attention of producers and fans when she got a chance to attend the season eight finalé.
“I got to sit near the front area behind the past season queens. The cameraman in that area constantly had his camera on me and the queens I was with. So when it comes time to edit and have some reactions you can see that I come up about three to four times.”
Later she found herself living out every Queen’s dream. “I didn't start doing wigs for the contestants until ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ Season 4, and my very first queen was the infamous Jasmine Masters.”
And while Carmen can’t reveal any secrets, she does tell us what she loves creating.
“I always enjoy creating a unique style that isn't worn often, and death-defying styles like an oversized bow bigger than a 72-in plasma TV. I also like creating unique colors in the wig which makes it one of a kind and that's always been my goal when I started styling.”
Sounds like one day soon she’ll be “werking” the Drag Race stage for herself. Until then, you can find her performing at South Florida’s hot clubs and online. And if you want to see some of her work, check out her Instagram at hatzbycarlos.