THE Russian Drag Queen


An inspiring Interview with Lorina Rey

Q What’s your story? How did you get into Drag?

I’m a hair stylist and make-up artist, I’ve been in the beauty industry for about 10 years now, working with cosmetics and creating my image in the industry for a long time.

A few years ago, I went to a Gay Club, it was when I first saw “Drag Queens.” The idea of trying such transformation became interesting for me. And I came to the realisation that I can apply my skillset and creativity in building an image on myself, without having to resort to a model.

I became my own canvas.

When I first started, I was using wigs and fake boobs, I was following the first footsteps as drag queens do. But then I met my current boyfriend, we’ve been together for 6 years now, he is a stylist & fashion designer. Together we began experimenting, shooting, mixing styles and colours, playing with gender and bringing our ideas to life.

Q Is there anyone you looked up to? What’s your inspiration?

When I first started pursuing my passion for the beauty industry, I taught myself the know-how of makeup via YouTube tutorials, like with Miss fame. And now I inspire myself, and so does my boyfriend. I draw inspiration from films and music too.

Everything is inspires me.

At the beginning, I was very sunk into the 80s adverts shot by Serge Luthen.

I also adore electronic music with french words, I find it a beautiful combination, for example the electronic group Paradis & I love Vive La Fete. I like Brooke Candy and I adore Roisin Murphy as a music and style/visual artist.

Q How do you express yourself in your style?

In my drag, I can do whatever I desire, I have no restrictions.

I like to mix incongruous (in the standard sense). I am pretty brutal in my everyday life, but I partially bring it to my drag, as it seems to me.

Lorina can hardly be called exceedingly feminine, however, I find her to be more feminine than a real girl.

However, in my drag, my goal isn’t to be a girl, everything suits me in my gender, I just bring to life my ideas through makeup and style.

It's meaningful to mention that Lorina is in-fact my alter as I have split personality.

Q What was your first drag look?

When I first started, I was using wigs and my look was more feminine. But because I was using a wig, I found it difficult to experiment with makeup. So I started experimenting without wigs, and I began to play around with makeup and colours all on my head, combining the brutal mohawk style and bright colours.

Q How does Drag in Russia differentiate from U.K. Drag?

British drag has a longer history and I believe English people are more open to it.

If in the U.K. you can watch RuPaul’s Drag Race – this already says something…

In Russia, there’s a lot of homophobia and drag is associated with perversion, so its highly unlikely that we’ll have a show like RuPaul’s Drag Race in the near future. But I’ve found a growing and more open minded audience in social media with the younger generations.

In Russia drag queens do not get contracts with big brands nor earn a lot in clubs. We have a variety of social lifestyles and classes, so it’s hard to become a “famous” Drag Queen and it’s far more expensive. To the point that we don’t have access to wigs and must order them from Europe or America.

To be a Russian drag queen it’s more difficult in terms of self-realisation. But thanks to social media we’ve got a growing audience and interesting drag artists.

Q I’d love for you to talk us through this image – we thought it really fit with our brand, what was the back story and your inspiration?

I really love this photo, it’s like the photographer captured Lorina’s soul out of the body.

Photo by: Jenia Filatova

This photo was taken a few days before quarantine and I am very happy that we managed to bring this photoshoot to life, because my boyfriend was busy creating them for several months. On the head is a headpiece fully embroidered with beads and a huge pink dress comes with it.

I love pink, and this look is just an explosion of pink.

The photo was taken by a very talented Russian photographer Jenia Filatova, with whom we had previously collaborated with. I really love how she works with light and colour, creating real photo masterpieces.

Q Would you say you want to make a difference with through drag?

First of all I created Lorina for my pleasure, me & my boyfriend have fun playing around with beauty and makeup. When people started to pay attention to drag in Russia people started to write to me telling me how i’ve inspired them, and it was nice to hear it.

And yes, I would like to somehow influence people to become more open minded and help inspire them to accept their true, bright and unusual self, but that’s not my one goal. But I think that when artists create and share their work with the world, they subconsciously seek a reaction. And it makes me happy when people react positively.

Q What’s something fun you’ve done during quarantine that you’d like to share with us?

During quarantine, I’ve felt calm and peaceful. Sometimes I like to play with my makeup and my boyfriend creates costumes.

Now is a good time to do useful things for yourself.

Of course, it’s quite difficult to stay in a closed space all the time , but in any case, self-isolation will someday end and we will all go out into the streets with pleasure and will appreciate something that we did not pay attention to before.

I want to believe that the world will change for the better after quarantine. Despite all the difficulties. And if the whole world unites in these difficult times and thinks positively, then everything will really change for the better.


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