I first encountered Chad Gasman when I was lurking on the r/MakeupAddiction subreddit. I was scrolling through people’s “Face of the Day” posts, when one look in particular caught my eye. People sometimes post drag looks, but I could tell that this was something different. This person was gender-non-conforming, sure, but their look wasn’t typical “drag.” Their makeup was bold, but not garish or over-the-top. And they looked absolutely fabulous. I was intrigued. Chad had posted their Instagram handle, so I immediately went to check it out. Within minutes, I knew I had to ask them for an interview. And, to my delight, they said yes!
So, first off, tell me a little bit about yourself. I know from your Instagram account that you’re a Georgetown student. What do you study? What else do you do?
I’m from Los Angeles, originally, but I’ve been in DC since starting school here back in 2016. At Georgetown I’m double majoring in Women’s & Gender Studies and Government, and concentrating in Sexuality Studies and Political Theory respectively. I’m also the President of the campus queer group, as well as a member of our unrecognized pro-choice group and our student government. I’m also an avid lover of the cat café right off campus.
I first encountered you on the r/MakeupAddiction subreddit, and was impressed with your makeup skills and bold, colorful aesthetic. Tell me a little bit about your style and your inspiration.
I’m really big on capturing people’s attention with my style. So I love wearing bold colors and weird patterns, as well as really playing with what’s expected when it comes to both makeup and clothing. I also love playing with gender expectations, wearing makeup, earrings, nails, and heels with a more masculine outfit. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, which has a very unique style that I draw a lot of inspiration from. I’ve also been really interested in drag queen looks, especially club kids and genderfuck drag, which has been creeping its way into my makeup and fashion.
Based on your Instagram, you seem pretty open about your gender identity. What challenges have you faced as a non-binary femme?
Luckily, being in college means that I have a lot of progressive-minded people as friends, so more often than not my gender identity isn’t a challenge. However, not everyone is as great as my friends, so the day-to-day occurrences include stares and comments. There have been a lot worse people too, but those are the rarer occurrence and don’t really bother me anymore – it’s become a part of being trans.
Tell me a little bit about your skincare routine. Are there any specific cleansers or moisturizers that you love?
I’m really bad at having a consistent skincare routine because my schedule in college is so volatile. I used to follow the k-beauty routine step for step, but now I just do an oil cleanse to get off my makeup, whatever water-based cleanser I have laying around, and moisturize. My products change depending on what’s available at TJ Maxx, because a girl is broke and can’t keep buying expensive high-end products, but I’m currently obsessed with my Elizabeth Arden moisturizer.
What’s your daily makeup routine? Do you have a go-to “look,” or do you like to change it up?
Everyday I wear the same base – medium/full coverage foundation, concealer, brows, cheek – but my eye look and lip changes depending on my mood. I usually try to change it up and play with color in my eyes and lips, but if I’m running late I just swipe on some eye gloss and a nude lip.
Do you have any “holy grail” makeup products that you can’t live without?
I am OBSESSED with my Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Foundation. Besides my brows, it is the only product in my routine that never changes (although I’ve been playing with the Mac Studio Fix, but it just doesn’t have the same finish or longevity).
Do you wear any fragrances? If so, do you have a signature scent?
I used to not be big on fragrances until this year, but I’ve been wearing Givenchy’s Ange ou Demon every day since Christmas and it’s definitely become my signature.
Do you have any tattoos?
I do! I have Keith Haring’s Rebel with Many Causes tattooed on the inside of my left forearm, and the pink triangle tattooed on the inside of my right wrist. To me, the Haring piece is a reminder of how easy it is to avoid addressing injustices, and the pink triangle is a symbol of queer pride.
Describe your personal style in three words.
Colorful, Femme, Genderfuck.
Has your style changed over the years? Did you go through any notable “phases” when you were younger?
I used to be a t-shirt and shorts person – almost every day of middle and high school I wore a different graphic tee, a pair of cargo shorts (or ill-fitting jeans if it got cold), and maybe a zip-up hoodie if the weather permitted. Luckily I’ve grown, and gone through a steady development from there to where I am now, without any major phases that radically changed my style.
Who are your style icons?
The only one that pops into my mind is Curly from Buzzfeed – I love the way he plays with what’s accepted of male fashion and I try to do the same when I queer my looks together.
Let’s talk about the future. What’s next for you in 2018? What are you looking forward to?
The future is really uncertain for the rest of 2018. Right now I’m applying to summer jobs and internships hoping to stay in DC, and just looking forward to where the rest of college takes me. Although, and I hope I don’t jinx it, I am really excited about potentially working for the National Center for Transgender Equality if I get their internship.
What do you aspire to do after college?
Currently, I don’t really know. I’m looking into going back to school and getting a Masters, but I don’t know exactly in what. A current pipe dream I have is to be a professor.
And finally… What does the word “femme” mean to you? What does it mean to be “feminine”? Can femininity be powerful?
Femme, to me, is a queer identity that is a form of resistance to male domination and patriarchy. Femme is owning your femininity, whatever that means to you. Following that, I don’t think there is one way to be feminine, and attempting to define it is meaningless – as we all explore femininity in different ways. Which means of course, that femininity is powerful as all hell.