Last year, I stumbled across Miss Lacey Noel – an incredible young woman with oodles of talent and creativity (especially for her tender age), and she very quickly became one of my favourite Instagrammers and cosplayers. Plus, her obsession with Drag Queens is something I can TOTALLY get down on; her “Project Faux Drag” is one of the most exciting things i’ve discovered in recent times! She also has a wonderfully talented photographer for a mum, and together they make an unstoppable artistic duo who may make you a teeny bit envious, but more probably you’ll just fall in love with their gloriously colourful work and heartwarming relationship!
I had so many questions I personally wanted to ask Lacey, I thought other people surely would be interested in knowing more about her as well…
Tell us a little about yourself. I know you’re only 17 (!!) and you live in Hollywood, and your life seems full of such wonderful experiences and opportunities. Where were you born?
Hello, there! I’m Lacey Noel and I was born in New Jersey on the Christmas Eve of 1996. I am a cosplay artist, illustrator, and bone marrow transplant survivor. I now reside in Los Angeles, California where I’ve been able to grow as an artist.
Can you give us list all of the things that you do. You obviously model and do makeup… what else?
I’ve done hair and makeup on some of my mom’s clients and I know a bit about photography from my mom. I love to write. I’ve done stand-up comedy at the Laugh Factory. I’ve acted in some short films and a play, and I’d love to do some more acting. I’ve learned to play violin and guitar. I really love drawing. I love drawing portraits of people that I admire, and I’m determined to improve on my artwork. I’m taking a class in graphic design. Also, I’m learning how to sew and soon we’ll be learning about costume design in school!
You must have incredibly supportive parents who encourage you in your passions. Your mum is a photographer, and she takes a lot of the photos that we see of you. Is that right?
Yes, my mom is extremely supportive! She’s been photographing me since I was very little, and she’s even taught me mostly what I know about hair, makeup and life. She’s such an extraordinary woman. So strong, talented and inspirational! She’s my best friend. We do everything together!
Do you both come up with the concepts?
We work as a team. For the cosplay projects, my mom looks for the outfits and wigs, and I learn the makeup and study how these queens pose. For the photoshoot where I’m myself, I do my hair and makeup and we just kind of come up with something together based on the outfits that I have.
Do you do your own hair, makeup and styling for the shoots?
Makeup, yes. Hair, when it’s only my blue hair, I usually style it, and my mom dyes it. But when it’s a wig, usually my mom styles it or I get to borrow a wig from one of the queens!
What appeals to you about drag queens, and when did you first discover what incredible artists they are?
I guess my first drag queen discovery was getting To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar (Kobi: MINE TOO!) in my stocking on Christmas morning. Since then, I’ve become so fascinated about them! I love the art of turning yourself into the opposite gender, and how convincing you can look! Also, I love how creative and inspiring they are. When I started going to drag shows and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, I have not only become more confident with who I am, but I don’t look in a mirror without makeup on and call myself ugly anymore! And that’s truly a breakthrough because I used to get horrendously picked on in school, and I used to hate myself. It feels so wonderful to not feel like that anymore!
One of the things that I love most about drag queens is the courage and ability to have complete control over who you want to be and whatever you want to do, even if that thing seems so outrageous and out of the box. Although it is literally covering up/manipulating your body, it’s all with the purpose of exposing the person you really feel like you are. Do you relate to that?
Well, it’s art. It’s all art, and with art, you get the freedom to express yourself through whichever medium to decide to pick. I can relate to that because through dressing up, I can really express myself.
So many of your photos on instagram are actually you with some of the most beloved queens of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. How does this happen?!
I just keep up with what’s going on in the drag scene, and I go to a lot of drag shows!
Of the ladies from the show, who have been some of the nicest/funniest/warmest?
I love so many of these queens, and so many of them have been so sweet and kind to me. But there’s one queen who has really been supportive of me and my mom as well as Project Faux Drag, and that is Courtney Act. She is just so nice, and she has done so much for me. And also, she’s my drag mother!
You also cosplay regularly as queens from the show. Do they often get to see your photos? What are their reactions?
They do! And they seem to like them, too! I’ve even been posted on some of their Instagrams, Twitters and Facebooks as well!
I also saw that Tammy Brown recently dressed you up as herself!! I am GREEN WITH ENVY!! How did that come about?
‘That’s Tammie with an I E!’ ;D (Kobi: D’OH, that’s embarassing!) Well, Tammie really loved the drawing I did of her, and in a conversation we had, she said that she would love for me to draw a photo that not everyone has seen before. With my mom being a photographer, we set up a date for her to come over for a photoshoot. Then the idea of doing a cosplay project with her came up! It was super fun, and it was absolutely amazing working with her!
It seems you’ve met some really incredible people in your life, like Gwen Stefani when she pulled you up on stage at a No Doubt concert. Obviously they are all amazing experiences, but which have been the biggest standouts for you?
I have so many incredible moments in my life, and I keep experiencing more! Moving to LA was a huge change in my life, and here I’ve gotten the honor of doing such amazing things. I’m so thankful that I am able to say that!
The outfits you wear on shoots are always so extravagantly amazing. You seem to be a big fan of a very colourful, hyper-mod style. How do you dress in everyday life? What kinds of things do you wear when you go to school?
I go to school like that all the time! But sometimes when I get tired, I’ll wear a cute dress and do a nice little hairdo.
What/who are your biggest style inspirations?
Gwen Stefani, of course, but there’s also Edie Sedgwick, Twiggy, Patti Boyd, David Bowie, Goldie Hawn, Audrey Hepburn, Tracy Turnblad… The movie Hairspray changed my life and the way that I dress! Of course some of the queens really inspire my style as well! Bianca Del Rio is so fascinating and so neat looking! The way she dolls herself up is so unique and inspiring. I love how she wears things that are inspired by the ’60’s, and what I really love about that is that she KNOWS a lot about ’60’s fashion. She’s such a style icon!
Speaking of school, how do the people you go to school with respond to what you do and how successful you’ve so been so far? Do they know?
Hm… Well, in my other schools, I used to get picked on really badly, but now that I’m in high school, I do have more of the freedom to express myself through the way I dress and what I do. I’ll get stared at by people who don’t understand, but oh well. With my success, I wouldn’t call it success just yet. I’m getting more recognition at the moment, and a lot of people wonder who I am. Maybe I’ll find my calling through all of this, maybe I won’t. But either way, I am an artist and I need to create. And I am currently, deeply inspired by the world of drag. I feel at home in the drag community.
What are your plans for the future, once you finish school? Are you going to college?
Actually, I don’t think I want to go to college. There’s so much talk about how everyone HAS to go back to school after graduating, but I don’t see the point in doing so. If I want to go to college, I would probably wait and relax for a year and then go. But then again, I’m not interested in paying back debt for the rest of my life. I’m an artist and I don’t feel that going to an art school would help me very much. I need to continue with my work and keep creating, and I feel that school would only distract me from what I love doing.
If you could do absolutely anything with your life (which i’m sure you can, and will), what would it be?
Be happy, create art, have lots of fun, and live life to the absolute fullest! I would love to make a living off of what I do, as well.
Amen! I couldn’t have said it better!! What a gem of a gal, Lacey Noel. If you enjoyed this interview, please share it around. She’s such a lovely and talented lass who deserves all kinds of amazing things (including being a guest on RuPaul’s Drag Race, IMO).
I had so much trouble choosing which photos to nab, because she has SO MANY AMAZING ONES! But you should take a look at Lacey’s Tumblr, and you can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and all the other ones (full lists available on other pages).
– Kobi xx