Behind the Drag aims to showcase the off-stage lives of some of America’s most talented drag queens. The intimate series gives us the opportunity to meet the people behind our favorite over-the-top drag queens.
By day, he’s Jeff Sterling, living in Manhattan and working in marketing for a global skincare brand. By night, she’s Candy Sterling, a fierce drag queen taking over the drag scene in Brooklyn.
“A lot of people see it as me definitely living a double life,” Sterling said. “Being able to liberate myself through nightlife and through performance, I’m able to bring that same energy back to work and come up with really creative ideas and feel liberated in the office as well. And so it gives me that balance.”
Sterling was introduced to the world of drag through dance. He grew up training in jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop and theater and eventually danced backup for a friend who was a drag queen. But he admits he was envious, and although it took him a few years to get the guts, he eventually decided to go for it.
He credited his mom as his inspiration and a huge source of support. She was the first person to help put him in drag and taught him everything from contouring to overdrawing the lips.
“Candy’s about a two hour project start to finish, starting with a bucket of self-tanner from head to toe and finishing off with a pair of 301 lashes and a sickening lip liner,” Sterling said.
As for Candy’s style, she’s a minimalist in that she wears minimal clothing. And although nice on the inside, looks mean and fierce on the outside. She also takes inspiration from the late ’70s in NYC.
“Disco for me is all about liberation, excitement, joy,” Sterling said. “What I really take from disco in that era is really more of a feeling and this energy that existed in New York at that time. It’s this outlet where I’m able to express myself, to story tell, to celebrate all of these things that I love about the queer community and about drag and about queer culture and history. It’s this perfect culmination of everything that spoke to me and inspired me.”
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like watching this man become a flirty, seductive drag queen for his lover.
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