If you’ve ever wondered what an amalgamation of Instagram’s heavy cosmetics culture and couture, off-the-runway panache looks like, I present to you: Bran Alunan (@branalunan). Not only is her spectacular aptitude for makeup on point, but her style isn’t far behind either. Always doing the absolute most with the colour and glitz available at her palm, Alunan commits herself to a style full of drama and enchantment.
The Blackpool-based artist has recently expanded their exposure, releasing a few various videos on an eponymous YouTube channel. Whilst the videos have been dedicated to Halloween makeover tutorials, one titles as ‘I am Transgender’. Alunan sits down, wanting to set the record straight for her onlooking fans. She explains how moving to YouTube offers the artist a chance to show her followers who she really is, taking away from the limited picture-only front that Instagram provides. The motivation behind the video comes from a place in which Alunan has felt isolated; sharing her experiences in a bid to utilise the platform she has: to speak up, educate, help, and inspire others.
The beauty star hits the nail on the head, suggesting how faces of the beauty community can be so easily caught up in this false reality that online culture can present. Alunan highlights how important it is for both those of, and within the makeup industry, to remember we are all just humans going through something.
Bran goes on to state “Yes, I am transgender. Yes, I am proud. And from this day forward, I will 100% be living authentically, unapologetically (as) myself”. This video is a testament to the bravery and pride that all people of the trans community and beyond should feel, going forward in this increasingly liberating culture. A true artist and emblem for the LGBTQ+ community; I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you.
– Sian Howells
Keiynan Lonsdale’s is an important story for LGBTQ+ history month, and he is a shining example in how fashion can be used as a platform to construct a visibility into the intersection between sexuality and race. Before last year, he acted under-the-radar in big budget productions like ‘The Flash’ and the ‘Divergent’ series. However, it wasn’t until his break in ‘Love, Simon’ – the landmark, first gay Hollywood romcom – that he entered into the public eye. In Love, Simon, Lonsdale plays the secret pen pal crush to Nick Robinson’s Simon, giving young gay viewers and questioning audiences the kind of first-kiss spectacle that heterosexual audiences have always received in the history of cinema. It was also during the filming of Love, Simon, that Lonsdale was able to come out himself, as bisexual.
Since coming out, Lonsdale has become a frontrunner for queer black fashion. Having taken inspiration from his Nigerian heritage, the fashion-forward actor transforms formal, traditional dresses of his culture into a modern style. This transformation exudes complete cultural awareness and expressions, as well as sexual liberation. Now dabbling in music, the video feature for his latest single ‘Preach’ showcases an array of trendsetting styles. Having proven himself as someone full of talent, Keiynan Lonsdale is definitely one to keep an eye on across the worlds of fashion, film and music.
– Toby Cooke
Undoubtedly, Jeffree Star is the definitive LGBTQ+ beauty icon of our time. His social presence and very obvious connections to the community is what makes him so, in my opinion. For several years, before the likes of other big male names in the beauty industry, Star was the go-to influencer for men, presenting himself in more typically feminine ways. Ultimately, the cosmetics guru grew to be one of the most significant celebrities across social media platforms, being a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ representation throughout.
His eponymous makeup brand, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, has further pushed Star to become a philanthropist for the community, using his platform to collaborate with the non-profit, Los Angeles LGBT youth centre. The makeup enthusiast created a Pride-themed, rainbow lipstick bundle that saw all of its profits go back into the protection of young people who had been made homeless for being LGBTQ+. Star has also utilised his platform further, to support other LGBTQ+ makeup artists, designers, and social influencers – making the current state of online beauty space much more inclusive for the talents that the community has to offer. Overall, Jeffree exemplifies the idea that LGBTQ+ people can be hugely successful, and not by bending to fit in with the heteronormative standard that society lays out for us, but off the back of the merit of being our own selves.
– Adam Saraswati Rawlings
Throughout his time in the spotlight, actor Ezra Miller has consistently been extending and broadening the narrow definitions of femininity and masculinity through a whirlwind of magazine covers and premiere events. The internet lost its mind during the Paris premiere of Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them, in which Miller rocked up in a full body, black puffer jacket dress, designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli (creative director for Valentino). Wearing this had huge personal significance for Miller, who has been the victim of assault on several occasions on account of his ‘feminine’ sense of style. To attend such an influential event in not only a dress, but one of the most conspicuous and experimental fashion looks of the year, was both iconic and momentous for Ezra’s non-binary fans.
During the London premiere of the same film, Miller continued to serve LEWKS, embracing a Haute Couture design from Givenchy’s Womenswear line of Fall, 2018. This feathery number perfectly symbolizes Ezra’s philosophy of gender-freedom within fashion; an example of complete self-acceptance. His recent feature for Playboy Magazine also demonstrates a whole turn-around for the stereotypically feminine magazine, catered for the eyes of straight males. Miller here radiates not only sexual attractiveness, but a confidence within his own sexuality. With an extraordinary and impressive sense of personal style, I simply cannot wait to see how Miller’s fashion journey will unfold in years to come.
– Elvira Gothlin
As one of the top drag queens ever to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Violet Chachki has since become one of the most dazzling fashion icons to have strutted their stuff down that runway. Whether it be through her eye for extravagant outfits, or hand at intricate makeup looks, Chachki has to be one of the most influential Drag Race icons to have flourished even further than her win, merging out towards the fashion industry itself. On the show week-after-week, Chachki displayed overwhelmingly high-glam and couture looks that continually wowed the judges. It was blatantly clear to see that her style knowledge and fashionable demonstrations would provide the star with an ability to soar even further. Since rightfully snatching up the crown during the finale of season 7 *spoiler alert*, the drag phenomena has made her presence increasingly prevalent within the world of big-name designers as an LGBTQ+ influencer.
Whether it be completing professional modelling jobs with Moschino at their fashion show in Milan, or developing her own luxurious, lingerie campaign ‘Bettie Page Lingerie’, there is no doubt that Violet Chachki’s skill to stun us with style has received the recognition it deserves. Such successes only demonstrate Chachki to be an ever more so significant fashion icon within the LGBTQ+ community, and an influencer who is positively continuing to leave their mark within the fashion and beauty worlds.
– Megan Jones
Self-taught face doodler, Jack Emory (@makeupbyjaack), is by far one of the most underrated gay men in the makeup biz. His need for experimentalism and his preference for full-coverage glamour is what sets him apart from the rest. With clear derivations from drag artistry, Jack has honed in on these skills and developed a very modern and up-to-date style. His particular love for warm-toned eyeshadow shades demonstrates to all us pale guys and gals just how they can be worn with the utmost bravura and grace.
Not forgetting his talent for a classic, shimmery cut crease, Jack’s abilities have seen him as the frontrunner of several Instagram fads and crazes in the past. Not only does the social media personality use makeup to create looks that are gorgeous aesthetically, but utilises cosmetics in a way to perform and invent in relation to other content within today’s popular culture. Putting his own twist on characters like The Grinch, and transcribing the blindfolded state of Sandra Bullock in Netflix’s Birdbox, keeps Jack’s work both current in form and context.
Whilst maintaining affiliation with Beauty Bay as a brand ambassador, the makeup guru has recently taken his own initiative, dipping his toes into the business side of the industry with his brand, ‘Tiggy Lashes’. Currently selling in five styles, each faux silk pair is named after a significant, influential woman in his life (as if he couldn’t get any cuter).
Whether he is giving us an honest first impressions review over on his YouTube channel, or simply sharing his latest makeup selfie on Insta, makeupbyjaack is a patriot to both the LGBTQ+ and beauty community. Maintaining a balance between superstardom and humbleness is hard to come by, but I think we just found him.
– Sian Howells
Influencers, whether bloggers, vloggers or just top-notch Instagrammers, are increasingly claiming their place and making an impact within modern-day society. Whilst identifying as a heterosexual white female, I am so inspired by those who speak out for themselves and raise awareness for those who identify within the LGBTQ+ community.
Ingrid Nilsen is by far my favourite LGBTQ+ influencer. The YouTube star candidly and openly talks, having previously featured videos on her channel explaining the ins and outs of her first ever relationship and breakup with a woman, after coming out as homosexual in a YouTube video in June 2015. Her Instagram feed gives me L I F E, and she is one out of the humungous sphere of influencers who owns one of my most favourite fashion tastes. If you’re into classic daytime looks with the odd quirky, retro piece, you will be sure to fall in love her feed. Her beauty vlogs are amazing too – offering plenty of tips and recommendations for skincare products, as well as demonstrating some gorgeous hair tutorials. Nilsen not only uses her following to engage with the LGBTQ+ community, but also to raise awareness of breast cancer over on her YouTube, offering up some really honest words in her most recent Instagram captions; making a note of what she is truly grateful for. In a world popularised by Instagram-obsessed, publicly and privately self-loathing females, influencers like Ingrid Nilsen who are comfortable in their own skin are the kind of women we need to be looking up to.
– Anna Mather
He’s the first male CoverGirl ambassador. Ever. He’s constantly breaking boundaries and carving out a new path for men in makeup. And guess what? He’s a proud, openly gay man of the beauty community, spreading his relentless positivity and cheerfulness across his reach of a massive, 13.6 million followers. And that’s just on Instagram. James Charles has managed to capture the hearts and attention of a community previously viewed as exclusive, first causing a stir when CoverGirl reached out to him in 2016.
In just the last 30 days, Charles has gained nearly 1.5 million subscribers on his YouTube Channel, which is currently sitting at an enormous 13.7 million. At only 19 years old, the YouTube sensation has accomplished a triumphant amount – which I’m sure he’d give thanks to, and for, his passionate and supportive fan base. Videos where Charles has been vocal on his sexuality, for example ‘I GOT CAUGHT…MY COMING OUT STORY’, has certainly made an impact; an educational insight into his experiences, ultimately spreading the word to his younger and ever-growing spread of subscribers about the LGBTQ+ community. A successful, kind and intelligent businessman, Charles is definitely one to watch (especially after his recent collaboration with Morphe: ‘The James Charles Artistry’ palette). His early and seemingly unending success is very much deserved, and may he continue to champion the path in makeup he is defining so greatly for many others to follow.
– Molly Roberts
Jazmina Daniel, better known by her Instagram handle missjazminad, is an insanely talented makeup artist who is highly celebrated for her intricately detailed lip art creations. Even if initially you don’t think you’ve heard of her, I can guarantee you’ll have seen at least one of her incredible inventions flaunting around your news feed, and gasped at the amazement before your eyes. She paints and re-interprets anything and everything: from beautiful, landscape scenery to detailed famous portraits; from The Little Mermaid to Girl with a Pearl Earring – she even goes as far as re-imagining scenes from cult classics, such as The Shining. Daniel’s luscious lips and complimentary talent alike has additionally earnt the artist the position as the official lip model for Jeffree Star Cosmetics, showing off every different shade and colour on both his website and Instagram page. December 2017 saw the star get engaged to her long-term girlfriend, Karla Pagan (@doomskay), whom she is always proudly showing off across all social media platforms. True love does happen!
– Lauren Banks