Well, hello. I have a midterm tomorrow and I am attempting to study but alas I am getting distracted as usual. I came across these images by Daria Werbowy today. She one of my favorite models and it appears she is a fantastic photographer as well. These were all shot for Equipment over the last few years. The photos of her are all self-portraits, and she uses a mirror in a way brilliant for a few that she shot of Kate Moss as well. These just feel like they have something to say and I want to take photos of myself and my friends in this kind of calm and rooted way.
I've known Jonathan Reinhart for a while now. He went to my high school and I met him through the theater company my friend performed in. It was almost shocking how good he was on stage, and at some point I worked up the courage to ask him to model for me. He actually became a fantastic collaborator on our first project, a story called Circus Freaks, and I've had the pleasure of working with him a few times since then. Since then, he has become an amazing drag performer under the fantastic name Anita Procedure. One day I was poking around his Instagram when I saw his amazing version of a drag Rococo outfit for a Rocky Horror show he attended. Jonny has always amazed me with his creativity and fearlessness, but this costume took him to a new level of #flawless. I commented on it (PROBABLY IN ALL CAPS) asking him to do an interview and photoshoot for my blog and he kindly obliged. And so, you lucky readers, here is the shining star that is Jonathan Reinhart in Marie Antoinette drag.
I first saw you on stage back in high school and I was struck by what a powerful and emotive actor you are. Can you tell me about your background in theater and how that transitioned into drag? What first drew you to drag?
Wow, thank you my dear! I grew up doing church plays as a kid, and was always very much a performer. When I was really little, my mom and older sister used to put dresses and lipstick on me. I think that laid the foundation for my future cross dressing. Haha. I continued doing local theatre, and at about 14 or 15 I found out about drag, and started dipping my toes into it. A theatre friend and I got cheap wigs from Party City, put on some makeup and my mom's clothes, and strutted around the house.
I think what kept me interested in drag was the art of the transformation. As I got better at makeup, wigs, padding, and everything, I saw how much you can fully transform into something else. Not even necessarily just another gender, but you can become an otherworldy creature. I think drag is magic. The way people receive you, and just the way you interact with people when you're in drag. Suddenly everyone has a smile when you talk to them. You're a bearer of fun, light, and irreverence.
That's a wonderful way of putting it! So even though you are dressing as a woman, you are kind of creating your own gender and persona. I think that's why we both responded so strongly to the rococo--it's this fantasy of femininity and we kind of used it as a way to mock traditional femininity. How much of drag is about gender and sexuality for you?
That's a very loaded question... I think gender and sexuality are weaved into the fabric of what drag is. It's a blurring of genders. Biological women do drag. Straight men do drag. Transgender women do drag. For me, drag is about breaking down gender roles and just looking fabulous and wearing whatever you want. Drag isn't sexually exciting to me in the way that it is to some people, but there's definitely a sexiness in the taboo of wearing things like heels and fishnets... and I tend to (or try to) be a sexy, seductive performer.
We both grew up in a very conservative place. Can you tell me about the drag community and how it differs from the setting you grew up in? Is the community a big part of your love for drag or is it more the transformation and performance?
It's hard to speak about the drag community as a whole, because there are so many facets of it... but I think it has a lot more in common with conservative communities than you would think. In both the drag community and other communities, everyone has their own idea about what's right and what's wrong, and when you delineate from that, it can cause drama or ruffle feathers. But you have to find your own tribe. The queens that I do feel very close with are extremely supportive and nurture creativity. For some queens, the community is their whole life. I'm definitely more focused on my own performance, and my close circle of friends.
So, like anything, you just have to find your place in the community and do your own thing. Which brings me to the fun questions: what have some of your favorite performances been? What is it like for you on stage?
My favorite place to perform is in a theatrical setting. I've been heavily involved with Green Valley Theatre Company's "VerteFeé Cabaret", which is a fabulous, raunchy variety show inspired by Weimar-era German cabarets located in Sacramento. Some of my favorite numbers I've performed are "Young & Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey, and "Drop Dead Gorgeous" by April Smith and the Great Picture Show. Another favorite experience was when I played Morticia Addams in the Addams Family musical at Roseville's Tower Theater, directed by Jennifer Bortz. It was a rare opportunity that really challenged me, and I hope that in the future I can do more gender bending roles.
Getting into drag and being in drag for several hours is extremely uncomfortable. But when I get on stage, I'm focused on performing. It's always thrilling stepping out and feeling the energy of the crowd, and giving them a unique, exciting experience.
Photography: Jenna Opsahl
Model, Makeup Artist, Drag Aficionado: Jonathan Reinhart
A huge THANK YOU to:
Margie Rudolph for the stunning hair accessories
Luna Nova for the best Marie wig we could have asked for
Christopher Cook for an amazing collection of lingerie
Thanks to my homie Tiffany at Garrett Leight, I got to shoot some pictures for their online journal! I did a story for them before on Nerja in Spain which was obviously incredible. But this story was really fun because I got to wander around my old school with my besties from UCSC and revisit some of my fave places. Also I love the frames I pulled this time, check out those Amelie Pichard collab sunglasses with SPARKLES in the lenses. Insanity.
You can see the full story here!
Oh man, I've been feeling all kinds of inspired lately. I am working on an article for a magazine I really love, so that's exciting. Also been doing my reading for my Honors Thesis, which is kind of working under the theme of "Dangerous Women in the Works of Hieronymus Bosch." But we will see how that morphs as time goes by and I do more research. Amongst school and writing, I haven't found much time for photography, but I am working on it. I found the most inspiring photographer lately: Michaela Knivoza. I wanted to share her work on my blog so as to inspire myself to make work in a similar vein as hers. I am entranced.
The following and above images are from her series 'Saints Without Name' and 'The Healing of Saint Sebastian.' Especially since I have been learning more about the Christian saints in all my research, these photographs really call to me. They portray the same kind of mystery that I have found in reading about biblical figures. Growing up, I was interested in Greek mythology and fairytales, but I had no idea about the fascinating characters in the New and Old Testaments alike. That is something I have really enjoyed about my education, especially in Renaissance art: I feel like I have been let in on a secret I wouldn't have had exposure to otherwise.
Her series 'Agast Atera En' is a fantastic collection of photos taken around Europe in which she combines landscape and body to create new mythologies. They are a little disturbing, a little strange, and very beautiful.
Her courageous use of self-portraiture really strikes me. I think I've lost a bit of my confidence in taking self-portraits. Or maybe I've gotten tired of my face. I think my self-portraiture works a lot better when I obscure myself in some way. Not like, take away my face or anything--but a lot of times I end up taking pictures of myself with my same makeup routine and I just feel like I look too much like myself and not like the idea I am trying to explore.
Things to think about.
Anyways, Michaela Knivoza has made a lasting impression on me and I hope for you as well.
Orange County has it's own Utah and it's called Red Rock Canyon at Whiting Ranch. Ian and I went on a hike there yesterday. There were more people than I wanted there...I mean I would have preferred no one to be there. It's an absolutely stunning place and I can't wait to do a real photoshoot there. But I like the pictures that came out of yesterday so here they are!
Hey man, you never know when I'm gonna decide to blog about fashion week. The last time I did it was FW15 and I STAND BY WHAT I SAID ABOUT YEEZY so don't think I'm changing my mind. But this season, I found that the designers I was most drawn to were those that used sheer fabric in their pieces and embroidered over it. I've been loving this look for a while now, and even tried my own hand at embroidering a while back. I have been working on a jacket for like a year now (whoops) but I never get tired of looking at the incredible designs these artists make with some string and fabric.
I mean????? What kind of blessed beings are we that we get to be alive in this era of Valentino. Every season lately is an absolute DREAM. Not to say that previous ones weren't, but you know. The sheer top with the strange almost tarot-y skirt? The sparkly waves???? I am quickly learning that this collection just makes me speechless so I should probably stop trying to write about it.
Admittedly, this collection reminds us a lot of our good friends at Valentino, but that's fine with meeeee! These patterns are a little more dizzying than Valentino's, a little thicker and wilder. I love the cuts on these dresses, as well. They seem so medieval, and that is what kind of solidifies them as still being McQueen.
Alright well, maybe this was just a collection of dresses that would make me feel like a fairytale princess. What can I say about this collection? The darker dresses are for my secret rendez-vous by the light of the moon, sneaking out of the castle walls. The white dresses are for my appearances in court floating across the room making policies to take from the rich and feed the poor.