Behold this amazing album homage featuring Willam
that I hope Courtney does not sue me over. I am in love with it. Willam was initially a bit resistant to my pitch questioning what a mascara-teared prom queen had to do with Style & Beauty—the Frontiers magazine issue’s theme of which he was to grace the cover.
They, in fact, have nothing to do with one another. I’m an olde tyme Hole
fan, and I knew Willam would pull it off. I envisioned him with perfect sausage rolls. And he certainly deserved to wear a crown. But he trusted me, and for that I am appreciative. When all was said and done, Willam did not go for the wide curl, but rather the big tease ... which epitomized his stamp—originality and polish. Case in point, view his execution of a buxom pop mummy on a prior Frontiers Halloween shoot
I don’t know anything about drag. A point proven when complimenting Willam’s fan-flowing hair mid shoot. “Wig?!!!” Like a giant record scratch, the studio went awkwardly silent, and Willam glared, waiting for me to undo the offense. It was real hair ... and fancy. Photographer Bradford Rogne
and style volunteer Chanel Perrillo
also waited for fallout, which corroborated the out-of-line drag slur. On the flip side of my cretinism, Willam knows exactly what he’s doing. When we discussed cover concepts for the Style & Beauty issue, Willam sent a brief email amidst globetrotting performances in Sydney, Glasgow, Antwerp, Berlin and Paris, simply stating that he’s got some “good Stella McCartney and Gucci dresses.”
If any of you have read blogs about Frontiers’ shoots, you are familiar with our budgetary handicaps. So it was a haute dream to welcome Willam and Chanel into Bradford’s Downtown loft rolling a rack of McCartney, Herve Leger, Marco Marco, Louboutin, Giuseppe Zanotti and Louis Vuitton—all of which were this season. Willam arrived made up in the face
and casual boy from the neck down. He neatly laid out jewelry, accessories, nails and hair in careful professional stylist mode. Bradford had test lit prior to Willam’s arrival. Chanel and Willam navigated the zipping, and we were good to go. Hair, makeup, high fashion, higher heels and Vogue
lighting in less time than most blown-out wrinkle portraits usually take to set up.
Bradford had a warm, energetic happiness that made time fly. With Willam’s efficiency, we cranked out four full current looks in minimal time. Then it was on to my pet project. I pulled two crowns courtesy of The Costume House
. Unlike drug store crowns, these petite, substantial displays of fine glittery metal craftsmanship made anyone a queen, except when teetering on a bald scalp such as mine, where the crown read more like a snitch hat.
On a side note, Willam’s Kelly Osbourne-palette hair piece and I went thankfully undocumented.
With mascara placed and carnations clutched, Willam took his spot on the seamless backdrop and shrieked with the kind of crazed elation only a beauty queen can’t hold back post-coronation. Being a professional and a wonderful sport, Willam repeated said shriek at least a dozen times until we called it a day.Felipe Menezes
did some glowing retouching to the images to produce that silky immortal Madonna doll finish. And cover decision making was tough with too many good choices.
Special thanks to Tammy Gerami for connecting my behind-the-shoot video with hooky pop song "Make It Pop" by Clutch The Pearls
. Attitudinal riffs and crass lyrics pair nicely with Willam’s dichotomy of excellence and sass.
Despite my ignorance, I did learn that Willam’s persona is polarizing. When prepping the shoot, people offered unsolicited opinions from three general vantage points: (1) Willam fans telling me how great he is, (2) skeptics wishing me luck and implying Willam was some sort of production mayhem pixie and (3) anti-Willam camp heatedly pointing out how offended they were by various Drag Race
antics. I have only known the hard working, witty, sweet, believable actor on a broad range of mainstream TV and talented artist/singer/stage performer ... but I don’t don’t want to ruin anyone’s preconceptions. She is Miss World.