When it comes to avant garde drag, the question you need to be asking yourself is: Is she hungry?
Hungry is a berlin-based drag artist who can be found on Instagram and Twitter @isshehungry. You may have seen Hungry’s work on billboards in Times Square, at any of the major fashion weeks, or on Björk’s Utopia album cover. In fact, Hungry has been responsible for Björk’s zany, beautiful make-up throughout her Utopia tour.
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utopia in stores today ! björk's ninth album , utopia , is officially available for physical and digital purchase in stores around the world now , and has already received advance praise from the a.v. club , uncut , pitchfork , consequence of sound and the ny times , to name but a few . link in bio to buy yourself a copy ! #björk #utopia
I could probably say this about every drag performer I write about for this column, but it bears repeating when it comes to Hungry: They’re not like any drag artist you’ve seen before. Hungry practices what they calls “distorted drag.” What does that mean? To them, it means that they show audiences “a glimpse of an alternate reality in which a human body was forced to adapt to new surroundings.”
Hungry’s artistry is truly otherworldly in that sense. From the striking androgynous garments–many of which they make themself–to their unique and distinct style of make-up, Hungry in drag looks more alien than human.
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nihilism. Hungry by @robertbartholot I’m doing a @misty_couture takeover! Give her a follow to see more and support a great one woman business! look for @lifeball_official 2017 18“ corset gown by @misty_couture leather bra by @creepyyeha sleeves by @aleksndru_ face pieces and hood by me
When asked where they’ll be seen in drag, by Indie Magazine, Hungry responds: “I take the train. I take the bus. I went to a mall. I often eat in drag. I don’t relate to reality anymore.” There’s something special about the simplicity with which Hungry admits this. In a sense, their drag knows no boundaries. Hungry can step right out of an editorial shoot onto the busy, gritty streets of New York City with ease and comfort.
No need to change or wipe that make-up off or kick on some more comfortable shoes. As much as they don’t “relate to reality,” every time we see Hungry somewhere we might go, every time we see them doing something as simple as eating pizza, our own sense of reality is disrupted. We’re taken completely out of ourselves and into a whole new realm of understanding bodies and people.
Hungry’s unearthly attributes can be most easily seen through their distinctively painted face, for which they are most well known. Put simply, Hungry’s make-up techniques are revolutionary. For example, they’ve perfected a symmetrical look in their face. Practically all of Hungry’s mugs can be divided directly down the middle to create two perfectly matching halves. Symmetrical face structure is one of those unachievable beauty standards, but Hungry takes that troupe to an extreme, making it appear beautiful, but also quite eerie.
They’re also known for their tendency to paint under their eyes, which enlarges them and drops them down. Combined with a totally black contact lens, the effect completely changes the shape of Hungry’s eye. And of course, none of this would be complete without some glued-on gems, flowers, or silicone vaginas (like the one on the Björk album cover).
And when they final product is complete after about two and a half hours of painting, Hungry is no longer human. They accomplish this transformation so well, not just with their impeccable make-up skills, but also in very large part due to their grand garments and performative modeling.
Be it the train or the runway, Hungry can be found modeling tightly cinched waists and incredibly glamorous, yet highly androgynous, garments. You’ll never catch her in any sort of padding, and her bare chest often exposed. Hungry is a true high fashion queen. Even Violet Chachki–whom I adore, don’t get me wrong–has nothing on Hungry’s level of couture. Still, what makes Hungry’s artistry so thoroughly remarkable isn’t just the glamour of it all, but rather the way they bend our conceptions of the human body. Be it through the strange juxtaposition of a tightly cinched waist with a flat, bare chest, or the angles they create with their limbs when modeling and the deliberately dramatic movements they make when strutting down a catwalk.
Take the artist’s most-time consuming look, which took them two and a half months, as an example of their level of commitment to fashion. “I’ve spent two months hunting down an iconic pair of unworn Alexander McQueen heels and then had no look to match,” Hungry admits in the same interview for Indie Mag. “So, I spent two weeks creating a fitted full body harness out of white leather as well as a matching headpiece with ostrich trimmings.” So, not only did Hungry spend months finding a pair of unworn McQueen shoes, but they also built a whole cohesive outfit around them.
This look has come to be known as their “Axolotl look,” because Hungry was inspired by the peculiar Mexican amphibian. If this seems like a strange place to draw fashion or make-up inspiration from, you haven’t seen enough of Hungry’s shoots. The artist is inspired by everything creepy or inhuman from insects to fungus to gods. Other times, they say, it’s “fabric” or “a color” that inspires them.
And something about Hungry’s work goes beyond simple inspiration. The drag performer truly transforms themself into a distorted, glamorized version of infestation and an undead rabbit and even sleep paralysis. When talking about their different looks, Hungry says, “It’s always a full character. There’s no mixing and matching in my archive. Some are approachable, some are intimidating, some are completely unrelatable.”
This total embodiment of a character is what makes Hungry’s drag so very remarkable. According to the artist, in an interview with Paper Magazine, “Drag is a megaphone. It’s not only a voice, it’s an echo that will get you heard, no matter what your message is.” And Hungry’s message shouts loud and clear through that megaphone: There are other ways to see the world, other ways to understand the human body. “I try to portray another reality [than the everyday one] in a show performance,” Hungry tells Oneg Magazine. “I try to show a different life that could be real for a while in a different reality besides ours.”