Crazy Eyes: The Costume Contact Trend

Published on January 12, 2013 by   ·   1 Comment

Can you feel them, watching you?  Unsettling, isn’t it?

0000000 Contacts ChartMore and more drag performers (and random people on the street as well) seem to be embracing the world of costume contacts.  Cats and lizards, psychedelic spirals, creepy full black or white, or even the amber/red irises of your favorite closeted-gay-sparkling-in-the-sun-like-a-diamond vampire, there is a style for a wide range of looks.  These contacts have been around for a while (I remember when my friend Landon got a pair of white contacts that only allowed the pupil to show sometime in the late 90s – they were fucking creepy!), but the number of available styles and looks has really exploded in the last few years.

These contacts can be a great accent in putting together a polished costume look and can add a certain something extra in creating a character.  For example, RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4 winner Sharon Needles uses costume contacts to create many of her edgy, creepy Marilyn Manson-esque looks.  Her whited out eyes (the same style my friend rocked in the 90s) help tie together her whole look.  For Sharon…they just work.

0000000 Contacts Sharon 2I wish I could say that for ALL the queens who’ve decided to rock this new gimmick, but I am started to get a little worn out on this trend.  Yes, there is something visually exciting about seeing a queen in a leopard gown wearing cat eyes, or a gorgeous black diva with piercing baby blue eyes, but when you favorite drag show becomes a parade of fake eyeballs, it seems to lose some of the effect.  When that parade repeats itself over and over and over?  Yawn.

So how do you keep yourself from being just another contact-wearing face in the crowd?

1.  Don’t wear them for the sake of wearing them.  Make sure they really are necessary and important for the outfit and for the look as a whole.  If your outfit has a little bit of snake skin in it, do you really need snake eyes?  Or should you save them for an outfit that really transforms you into a snake (or whatever snakes represent for you and for the number you are doing)?

0000000 Contacts Leopard2. Commit!  The reason I never get tired of looking at Sharon Needles with her crazy, creepy eyes is because she is completely committed to her persona!  She is Halloween every day of the year, and the eyes are just a part of the larger package.  If you are a slinky jungle cat, or the embodiment of saturated color, or whatever your vision is for your performance identity, if you commit to it and make it all make sense, you can rock them all the time without it seeming overdone.

3.  Have fun with it!  You obviously aren’t putting fake vampire eyeballs on to do a Shakespearean monologue. You are creating a performance, and this is one of the tools you have at your disposal in that creative process.  Whatever characteristics of your personality you are trying to bring out with a particular performance should be played up for the crowd.  The crowd didn’t pay for “gowns on parade” – you better put on a show, heifer! 😛

So, what do you think about costume contact lenses – love it or lose it?  Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Now go forth and get painted!

(For a fun makeup tutorial by Queen of Blending where she uses costume contacts – well, one contact at least – for a very cool post-Apocalyptic look inspired by Phi Phi O’Hara, watch this video!)

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Readers Comments (1)
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