An Interview With Alexis Stone, The Drag Queen Who Can Transform Himself Into Any Celebrity

Watch the video below and you’ll believe – Elliot Rentz a.k.a. Alexis Stone is officially an expert in makeup transformations. The genius drag queen behind the uncanniest Kris Jenner and Jennifer Lawrence lookalikes we’ve ever seen stopped by BEAUTY BAY HQ to show us how it’s done and talk about his idols, his inspirations, and just how he does those amazing transformations…

On his first experience with makeup… 

“I first started experimenting with makeup when I was 15, you know when teenage skin breaks through, and kids can be cruel… I started wearing foundation and looked like a cornflake.” 

 

On how he improved his makeup skills… 

“I’m fortunate in that so many of my friends and people I’ve lived with have really embraced the club kid look in day to day life – I used to sit in the corner and watch them doing their makeup. Because the people around me have always been makeup-wearers, it just became second nature for me to wear it too.” 

 

On how he got into drag… 

“I started doing drag when I was 16. As a child I always had a fascination with dressing up as a woman after watching films like Mrs Doubtfire. For me the interest isn’t so much the makeup but the transformation process – whether I’m becoming a woman or transforming myself into a celebrity. As soon as I started focusing all of my time on doing drag, that’s when my passion for makeup really started.” 

 

On how transforming into Nikkietutorials changed his life… 

“I wanted to do something different to your standard drag performance impersonations. One night I was sat at home with my flatmate watching Nikkietutorials videos, I remember looking at her face and thinking I could definitely make myself look like her. Turns out I could – I posted it, it went viral overnight, and then from that I just had such a thirst to  do more and challenge myself. In the space of six months I did 60 transformations, and went from having quite a big following at the time to what it is today (604k!). So yeah, Nikkietutorials was the first transformation that really took off for me.” 

 

On his favourite transformation so far… 

“I prefer doing the slightly older characters, like Jocelyn Wildenstein who I’ve always admired from afar. That was probably the most gamechanging transformation for me. She reached out to me after it, and I flew to New York to meet her.” 

 

On the positives of social media… 

“It’s really surreal how things are now at the touch of someone’s finger. In a world where we never thought we could connect with these people, now we can. That for me is so exciting, and that my work is not only appreciated by people around the world but by the people who I transform into.” 

 

On the most challenging transformation he’s tried… 

“Jeffree Star was the most challenging. I have such a wide, natural face and Jeffree has a very slim face so being able to carve the facial features out is the hardest thing. The trick is to look at someone’s face and dissect their features, almost looking at it as a caricature. I have to over-exaggerate small things like someone’s nose tip or the space between their nose and Cupid’s Bow to not only remove my own facial features but to add theirs on top of mine, so it’s all in the details.” 

 

On how he prepares for a transformation… 

“The first thing I’ll do is I’ll make sure I have about ten HD headshots of the subject in different colour variations. Black and white is always a good starting point for me because it shows up the contrast between the light and the dark. I’ve always been good at studying faces – I’m always doing it, even when I talk to people – and I’ve just managed to translate it into makeup. I’ve also got a background in digital retouching which obviously plays into me being able to study the face and know what works and what I can change. I never practice for a transformation, what you see is always the first attempt.” 

 

On his skincare routine… 

“Skincare is definitely, definitely more important to me than makeup. Makeup’s not gonna be on my face for the rest of my life, but my skin is. I do a lot of chemical peels so I’m adding collagen back into my skin. I use Alpha-H, which is a great skincare range – it’s definitely the best skincare brand I’ve ever used, I love Liquid Gold and the Beauty Sleep Power Peel. The best. I personally like to ‘feel the burn’ when I’m looking after my skin, I’m not one of those natural people (clearly!).” 

 

On the key to perfecting drag makeup… 

“Outside of makeup, I would say research. With makeup, I’d say utilise and enhance your own features. It’s what you don’t do, that’s what I find interesting with drag makeup. I think people have this idea that you have to have eyeliner that covers your entire eye, brows that go up to the  hairline etc. It’s the subtleties that I find quite refreshing. So, research, refinement, subtleties.” 

 

On his favourite part of getting ready… 

“Whenever I do a transformation I always love the end result. Being able to sit in front of the camera with the wig on, that’s when the character really comes to life. I joke saying I hate makeup (I think because I wear so much of it these days it’s just become the bane of my life!), but I do still get excited about products – especially highlighters, eye glosses, and things like that. I’m such a magpie so anything sparkly still excites me.” 

 

On what inspired Alexis Stone… 

“Originally I was just called Alexis when I was just a young teenager. Then I moved to New York and a club asked for my second name. So, just off the top of my head I thought Stone because of my obsession with Sharon Stone – I always wanted to create a cold femme fatale. I think there’s something so attractive about a woman who’s confident so that’s what I always carry myself as being. Recently as I’ve started working with brands I’ve had to put Alexis on defrost and make her a little bit nicer! .” 

 

On his idols… 

“My references have never been drag, they’ve always been from music, or women like Demi Moore and Sharon Stone. That’s always my advice to drag queens – whilst there are certain TV shows that are very fascinating, watch a movie, be inspired by something other than other men dressed as women! Drag is about impersonating women so I don’t want to impersonate a man dressed up as a woman.” 

 

On Ru Paul’s Drag Race… 

“I guess six or seven years ago drag was still very much a sort of quirky thing to do –now it’s more mainstream, everyone does drag. It’s great though, I mean I’ve not been on the drag race but I’ve definitely benefitted from the popularity that’s come from it -it’s given us all careers, and we get to be celebrated now as all being queer artists. It’s great that we can do what we love now. The show has maybe taken away certain elements of it being sort of exclusive or having that rebellious feel but overall it’s only positives.” 

 

On misconceptions around drag… 

“It’s obviously very different to the perception that your everyday viewer of Ru Paul’s Drag Race has. Ru Paul’s Drag Race is Ru Paul’s version of drag so that’s what people seem to misunderstand. It’s about his career which is why they have sewing challenges, singing challenges, presenting challenges etc, it’s based on his life. Drag is subjective to everyone, so there are obviously so many routes you can go down.” 

Watch Alexis's full drag transformation...