BWD: Give us a little one sentence introduction to who you are?
Sleepy: I am Sleepy, a Scottish drag artist and wannabe club kid, waiting patiently for the days we can go out and party safely again! Its difficult to pinpoint my exact aesthetic because I am a bit of a shapeshifter but you will most likely to find me dressed as some surreal and colourful club creature, dabbling in sfx makeup or combining it all to create some semblance of a of drag look.
BWD: When was your “I’m going to try drag” moment?
Sleepy: I had watched drag race, but as a cis woman, and with the representation at the time (and largely still) being almost entirely cis men, it wasn’t something that I saw as being ‘for me’. I did art in school but growing up I had been pushed into (many many) sports, and then in about 2016 I started to get sick, my body just couldn’t keep up anymore, and my world started to get smaller. I needed to find something that I could physically do to keep myself sane, and that thing became art. Drag is one of the few artistic endeavours, where I could be in full control too, I never wanted to just be a makeup artist, I wanted to create the makeup, the costumes, the hair, down to setting up and photographing my work, so drag it was! It’s now been about two or three years since I first started.
The name She is Sleepy was also a bit of a reclamation of my circumstances, following a diagnosis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis also known as ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’, as CFS is a bit of a misnomer in my opinion. The name creates this idea (even among many doctors) that you’re just getting tired, or even that it’s just laziness. It’s a condition that is little understood, highly stigmatised and can be completely debilitating, it affects everything from my joints, to my memory.
Its also great to have my own little world to escape into, where I can transform myself into anyone or anything I can dream of! A limitless creation in a limited body.
BWD: It’s amazing to hear that you tackled something so life-effecting head on and turned it into as stunning expression of your art. The doctors may not totally understand your condition, but they’d sure be able to understand the beauty you’ve created. Well done!
BWD: How did you learn such fantastic make-up skills?
Sleepy: I am entirely self-taught! Special effects makeup was something I have always loved, and it was something I had wanted to study, but I went to university for biology, so makeup was delegated to Halloween instead. When I got sick makeup was one of the few things I could actually do, and over the last year, I have devoted my time to it. Practice is really what makes all the difference, and I’m proud of how far I have come in that time, but I’m more excited to see where I am in another year!
BWD: You’ve done such an impressive job so far, as tough as it is to imagine, we can only see you getting even better.
BWD: Which look are you most proud of so far?
Sleepy: The next one, hopefully!? Haha. In all seriousness, I am my own biggest critic (as I’m sure we all are!) but I think when it comes to art, our own opinion should be the one that counts, and I want each look to be better than the last! I think critiquing your own work, from your own perspective it’s the best way to improve, while create something that makes you happy! If other people like it too, then great!
BWD: Absolutely, personal growth comes from within and if you can’t critique yourself, who the hell you gonna critique? We absolutely love the latest look you created, who doesn’t want to cuddle a big fluffy heart with a cute face?
BWD: If you were going to do a Disney villain look, who would you go for?
Sleepy: My favourite Disney villain by far is Ursula, and while I have done an Ursula look before I do want to revisit it and really do her justice. I’d also love to do a Yzma look at some point too, she is iconic.
BWD: You’re part of the incredible visual art team for Give Face right, how did that come around?
Sleepy: Yes! So Give Face Cosmetics were doing giveaways for their 5th year anniversary, of packages put together by some of their collaborating artists, and I was picked for one (thank you Gucci!). It was probably a few months after that that they approached me to be part of their visual artist team. At the time I’m sure I only had about 500 followers, they’ve been beyond supportive of me and my work and I can’t thank them enough. They also make great makeup, great wigs and while I do get sent some PR I also buy from them too because I love their products and their brand ethos. Go support an independent, drag owned and run UK business!
BWD: Massive shout-out to Gucci, a local legend around our scene too! We’re so happy to see a company truly dedicated to making fabulous products for queer people, by queer people.
BWD: Who are your two favourites from the rest of the team?
Sleepy: Only two… Oh that’s so tricky! Give face has a brilliant group of artists. I think Gisele is such a creative powerhouse, from makeup to costumes to performing, just soo talented. Charity Kase is one of my favourite artist’s period! Annndd I’m going to be cheeky and pick a third but I would lovvee to see Victora Scone on Drag Race UK season three (BBC I am looking at you)!
BWD: We ain’t even mad cos honestly those are three of our fave UK drag artists right now, the level of creativity from each of them is outstanding – put them all on the show tbh.
BWD: Do you have any quick make-up tips for beginners?
Sleepy: Expensive does not necessarily mean better, there is no substitute for patience and practice, and wash your damn brushes! Haha.
BWD: Amen to that!
BWD: When you’re not painting a gorgeous creation on your face, what kinda hobbies do you have?
Sleepy: I studied marine biology at university, and with that I am also a professional scientific diver and a free-diver, so you might find me underwater, although not in 2020, thanks Covid! Fingers crossed for this year though.
BWD: What was your top bop from 2020?
Sleepy: Anyone who knows me will know that I have terrible taste in music. I’m definitely more of a visual artist… but I am excited for a point, sometime in the not-too-distant future, where we can all be in a club, listening to Chromatica.
BWD: The itch to dance to Rain on Me in a bar after a few cocktails is getting stronger and stronger!
BWD: Do you have any goals or aspirations for the future?
Sleepy: Leaving the house! I actually do have a project that has now been in the planning stages for a while (also because of Covid), but I want to create a makeup series, interviewing other artists, while I transform them into my own creations (think something like transformations or paint me bitch, but the other way around?). From a selfish perspective, I want to work on other people’s faces! But I am also really excited to be able to sit down and chat to some of the local artists I love. Hopefully with vaccines being rolled out, this won’t be too far away!
BWD: Really hope that you get a chance to film it soon, it’s definitely something we’d love to watch. Keeping our fingers crossed.
BWD: Finally, give us three fabulous people to follow?
Sleepy: Well, go and follow all my fellow Scottish drag artists, obviously! But to pick three you might not know but should definitely be following: Hoso Terra Toma based in Seoul, Sweet Pickles from Richmond, Virginia annnddd… Lola from Lisbon.
BWD: What a great selection! Thank you 🙂
You can find Sleepy over on Instagram, go show some love!