The Fabulous Life Of Raja, 7HollywoodMag - Fall 2013/14
Fashionista, artist and performer, fashion inspired beauty Raja does it all - While best known for winning performance on RuPaul’s reality TV series, Raja is primarily an artist and fashionista. In addition to being a painter, the ostentatious LA native also confesses to a penchant for travel and Mel Gibson films. Possessing the walk of Naomi Campbell and elegance of Linda Evangelista Raja is a unique talent.
With a love of performance and costuming, Raja’s bombasticism is her signature trait. Her creativity is a key influence on her costumes, which are in themselves, art pieces - conceptual extensions of his vibrant persona that embody tangible themes and narratives.
Her love of high fashion combined with her natural beauty sees a new approach to drag. Raja admits to having grown up voraciously consuming Italian Vogue, which is evident in her personal styling, grace and poise. "I experiment with a range along with clothing design and sculpture , its a multi media experience for my audiences. I’ve got a bunch of skills and may as well use them," she reveals.
An active painter, Raja says she is inspired by many classic painters, from Freda Khalo to Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol. After attending art school in California she made the transition to performing seeking inspiration from the likes of the iconic Leigh Bowery – still a posthumous force in the universal drag scene.
While she’s largely known for the RuPaul TV show, Raja says that was simply one chapter in her life. "I’m primarily an artist and drag is just one of the things I do. I spent most of my time as a make up artist.
Now in the right side of 40, Raja offers some d some enlightening views about gay subcultures and generational contrasts "I came out in early 90s first experiences were being a clubkid, which was all about grabbing attention and dressing up."
Confessing to a love of the gypsy life, skipping around the country to compete is drag performance events and just generally having fun, Raja is an LA home girl at heart." I’m a gypsy, travel is really what fuels me in everything I do."
"I remember NYC in the 90s and clubs like the Limelight – Times Square was seedy, the West side was a scary place. Now it’s evolved and lost a lot of character, which is a little sad, still I go to New York to visit my friends, there’s so much culture there."
After releasing a single back in 2011, Raja says her forthcoming projects see her following her dream of writing a children’s book. Now with a publisher connection making the project a reality, she is applying her skills as an illustrator to a book that reflects themes such as empowerment, self realization and hope.
"I hope it will encourage people to enjoy life and experiment," she says. "Kids are far more sophisticated nowadays, and they can embrace more complex dialogue and observe themes such as acceptance and tolerance. I really hope that the book helps someone and makes some sort of difference in this world."