By Efemia Chela
Nigerian artist Oroma Elewa, quotes Frida Kahlo and remarks, ‘I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best, the subject I want to know better’. Self-knowledge and confronting our appearance are deeply linked.
Not in the predatory capitalist way that’s often used to sell us things we don’t need, but in the sense that it definitely feels difficult to exist when your body is not your home. It feels even worse when patriarchy and restrictive gender norms pressure you with aesthetic demands that don’t match your own self-conception. Many queer people struggle with body dysmorphia or feeling out of place and part of our journey is finding comfort in our physical manifestations – whatever we determine them to be.
Two of our MxsterMinds, Majic Dyke and Chelsea Keta (Slim Girl Supreme), embody mastery over one’s own image and the desire to make art out of their bodies, exceptionally well. Both deal in confident self-presentations and striking visuals which have garnered them massive Instagram followings of over 20 000 users each.
As a professional make-up artist, 22-year-old Zimbabwean Chelsea Keta can do it all. Contoured and sculpted cheekbones, natural dewy skin, banging bold lips – all hallmarks of conventional beauty. But the makeup shapeshifter also likes to get a little weird; pretty isn’t everything after all. Some of her greatest creations are unsettling and eerie. Such as a broken-hearted valentine, zombie Michael Jackson in ‘Thriller’ or ocean-blue Mystique from X-Men and a bloody and bruised Egyptian mummy. Devotion to craft are Chelsea’s calling cards as she covers her entire body in paint, and ropes in wigs and accessories to complete the illusion. Also a rising star on TikTok, she describes the digital world as her ‘blank canvas, ready for creativity.’
Majic Dyke, whose name puts a queer spin on Magic Mike, hails from Kenya where they make performance art as a non-binary drag king. They gender bend and lean into their feminine and masculine sides at will. While drag queens now have a large presence in the mainstream, drag kings have yet to break through in the same way. Majic hosts Kings of Kenya events to give these hard-working, and might I say, hot performers more time in the spotlight. Giving them space to embody masculinity in non-traditional ways, as well as mentorship in the craft. They describe drag as a ‘vehicle for expression helping them to live a life full of love and positivity.’
Apart from turning up the heat with their full beard and sensual performances, Majic uses their skills as a gender equity consultant and life coach to help queer individuals and organisations to heal and succeed. On their podcast, Life with Majic, they discuss diverse topics such as grief, sexual pleasure, spirituality and activism.
Queer people possess a unique power to change beauty standards and challenge gender rules just by being ourselves and drawing deeply on our creativity. Chelsea and Majic’s trajectories show the creative rewards available to those who embrace themselves and the power in shaking up your appearance from time to time.