If you didn't know, Trixie Mattel is a doll collector. More specifically, she has a big pink soft spot in her heart for the most famous doll of them all, Barbie. It’s not just that she’s a fan of Barbie, but the drag queen's self-brand pays tribute to the 60-year-old iconic doll. I mean, she takes her surname from Barbie’s manufacturer, after all. But beyond loving her aesthetic, Mattel sees Barbie as a business inspiration.
Mattel, just like Barbie, is a biological woman who can do it all. Not only did she snatch the crown on season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars, but she has also starred in her own hit YouTube series (which also had a brief run on Viceland), written and released two hit folk albums, and produced and starred in her documentary Moving Parts, which recently completed the festival circuit. As if all of that were not enough, the true skinny legend recently released her own makeup line, Trixie Cosmetics, giving you a playful new way to get ready for RuPaul's Drag Con NYC this weekend.
For the initial round of products, Mattel has released a hot pink, matte Stacy lipstick (shown below), which comes in a heart-shaped tube, and two varieties of glitter. The first, Sprinkles, comes in larger, fun shapes perfect for spicing up your hair and body look. Sprinkles come in five shapes: Pony Up (unicorns), Immaterial Girl (goldish-plum stars), Melon Baller (pink-gold melons), Skipper (neon bubble gum), and Buffy (hearts and crosses), shown below.
Because Sprinkles aren’t safe to wear on the eyes, the queen also created Sparkles, a more gentle, cosmetics-grade glitter. Sparkles currently come in four shades: Lemon Bar (electric yellow), Mali-blue (aqua), Carol Anne (holographic silver), and Marshmallow (ice white). Each product comes in packaging evocative of Barbie and other childhood toys, allowing you to embrace your inner child as you get ready to play with the fun makeup.
Mattel, who went to beauty school and has previously worked for makeup companies like Sephora, Ulta, and Mac, had long wanted to throw her voluminous blonde wig into the ring of the cosmetics industry, but her jam-packed touring schedule had always kept her too busy to give it the attention it deserved. “As we’ve learned from very public cosmetic mogul meltdowns, this process is lengthy and expensive, and the customers are so informed now,” she said. “Now, when you put out makeup, you’re under extreme scrutiny. Everyone is just a single YouTube video away from being canceled.”
"But that's another reason why I'm in this industry: I just want drama," Mattel said. "I want to be canceled, exposed, and ended. I want James Charles to burn my house down while Manny MUA watches and Jeffree Star drives the getaway car."
Last summer, the skinny legend finally got her chance to try her hand at makeup production: a collaboration with Sugarpill Cosmetics on the Oh, Honey collection, which included six eyeshadows, a matte blush, and a sparkling liquid lip color. The project gave Mattel a peek behind the curtain of cosmetics manufacturing, a perspective she then paired with her years of experience working in makeup.
“I spent a long time as a product specialist, basically watching people shop for makeup for a living," the drag queen explained. "It was a very educational experience. I learned that, basically, drag queens and boring people both want the same thing. We want high-quality products that are well-priced and fun to use." The fun is what really sets Trixie Cosmetics apart from the rest.
"I've learned in drag that packaging matters. We package ourselves as drag queens," Mattel said. "So I wanted to make a product that was fun, with nostalgic childlike packaging but also with professional formula." To accomplish this, she hired team members with backgrounds in toy design and packaging. “The products feel like they could be purchased at Toys R Us but perform like high-end cosmetic products."
To achieve the high-end quality she was looking for, Mattel spent time working with different companies and testing out their current products before moving forward with her own. She specifically sought out companies owned and operated by women or members of the LGBTQ+ community. While on tour last year, she would test out her own products to ensure the quality would last wear after wear.
The queen-slash-entrepreneur's new Marshmallow sparkle glitter has now become part of her signature oversized eye. "As I was testing out these products, I was looking for a glitter that I could wipe off every day and not get scratches under my eye," she said. "My glitters are soft enough that you can wear them every day and nothing happens."
While quality is paramount to Mattel, she kept coming back to the idea of having fun with her new line. “Instagram and YouTube are all about beauty lighting and how fancy and fierce everyone is, but I wanted my products to be a reminder that you’re supposed to have a genuinely fun, if not stupid, time putting makeup on,” she explained. “The spirit of drag is to feel gorgeous and absolutely ridiculous at the same time.”
“Makeup is a fun way for people to inject a little drag queen moment into an everyday experience,” she said. “People use the term ‘makeup routine,’ and I used to tell people that if it starts to feel like a routine, take a break. Put your makeup in a drawer somewhere and don’t use it again until you remember why you use it in the first place, which is to enjoy it.”
And oh, honey, there’s more! In an attempt to offset the ecological damage that often results from the makeup industry's practices, Mattel has partnered with The Honeybee Conservancy in order to advance bee conservation and empower communities with the education, tools, and, yes, bees necessary to support local agriculture. "I thought if I'm going to embark on this cosmetics journey, what's a way that I can make it philanthropic as well?" she said. A portion of Trixie Cosmetics' quarterly sales will go to the conservancy.
If you head to the Trixie Cosmetics website, you may see that some of the current stock is on backorder, but not to worry: customers can expect even more products later this year. A blush palette is on the horizon, as are new lipstick colors. We also have permission to share that Mattel is releasing a collaboration with our favorite average run-of-the-mill Russian bisexual transvestite hooker (her words, not ours), Katya Zamolodchikova, in the form of a Soviet-inspired lipstick shade, Red Scare. Vegan lipstick options will also become available down the road. "I've been a vegetarian since I was nine, and I want vegan people to feel good about everything in their makeup bag, too," she said.
Ever the Barbie, Mattel, of course, also has other types of projects on the horizon. Her documentary will become available to a wider audience later this year, she’s currently hard at work writing her third album, and she recently filmed a comedy special, Skinny Legend, which she promises will be a spectacle. "It's hilarious, and there are some jokes that you'll never forgive me for," she said. "I watched it back and some of the jokes, I thought 'Oh my god, I'll either be celebrated or run off the earth.'"
Sounds like she may finally get her wish of being canceled. You'll have to watch to find out.