Indian beauty influencer and Drag Queen Bahaar is breaking the walls and proving that makeup or art has nothing to do with gender but talent and choice.
People always love to label things. Associating each and every activity to a specific gender seemed like a necessity for some reason. And it took years for the other half to realise that there are things that just are and don’t require to be associated with any gender. Art and makeup happen to be something that doesn’t limit to or can be assigned to a gender. Artist like Prashant aka Drag Queen Bahaar is helping people understand it through her social media and we are in complete awe of her.
If there is a way of expressing, enhancing and showing off a person’s artistic talents, it is through makeup. For years, the beauty industry has considered women to be its primary target assuming that it is only them who can draw a wink or perfect the art of contour. But many men and others are proving that beauty is subjective. Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with men doing makeup or even honing their makeup skills. The stigma is not limited to just make-up, but a display of feminine expression by men – whether it is beauty, fashion, or gesticulation.
One person who is contributing in breaking this stereotype and stigma around makeup or beauty is Prashant AKA Bahaar. With a strong community of 3.25 lakh people on Trell, Bahaar is sharing her authentic self with them. Bahaar is Prashant’s alter ego, a drag queen who has broken the glass ceiling and is an inspiration to many others who yearn to be accepted for who they truly are.
In the year 2019, Prashant, a Trell content creator, and entrepreneur located in Bangalore revealed her alternate identity as Bahaar. Her exposure to social media, particularly international drag videos, helped her break prejudices and motivated her to pursue a career as a drag queen. Prashant’s transformation to Bahaar would be incomplete without her rigorous makeup regime which takes up to 3 hours. This encouraged her to learn more about makeup and eventually teach others on Trell.
With Trell, Bahaar has grown from pillar to post and has garnered millions of followers who support her in her journey and look up to her. Trell’s creative team has enabled her to enhance her content through a slew of initiatives, including scriptwriting, editing tec
1. First of all, why Bahaar? How did you choose this name and what does it represent?
The story behind my name is very random and transpired when I was watching the movie Mughal-E-Azam. Apart from Anarkali’s role played by Madhubala, I really loved Salim’s co-star’s character whose name in the movie was Bahaar. I thought it was unique, catchy and the meaning of the name ‘Bahaar’ means the Spring season. As an individual, my personality reflects colours and light, so I couldn’t think of a better fit than Bahaar.
2. Makeup is an art form that has been stereotyped for a long time until creators like yourself changed this narrative. How did your journey as a contributor to this art begin?
I started experimenting with makeup while I was bedridden after breaking my leg in 2019. I slipped down the stairs and broke my ankle. I still remember the first time I put make-up on. It was just eyeliner and lipstick, but I felt liberated. I felt comfortable and it made me feel like myself. It made me feel good and there was no stopping after that. I started doing makeup on a regular basis and a few months later, Bahaar was born. Thereafter, I started creating content in 2021 feeling inspired to express myself and share Bahaar with the world.
3. Drag as an art form has always been part of Indian culture but received very less recognition at the same time. Do you think the Drag culture is changing in India?
Yes. Thanks to social media platforms, creator-led companies like Trell, media platforms like yourselves, influencers, individuals, and other allies, who have helped build a positive representation of drag and the LGBTQIA+ community. India still has a long long way to go but the future of Drag in India is surely bright.
4. Who or what was your introduction to drag and did you always find yourself performing on stage?
Like any other drag queen, It was RuPaul’s Drag Race show that led me to this. The OG! I didn’t really plan to perform anywhere. I was doing it only on Instagram for fun but then my friend, Maya The Dragqueen, encouraged me and gave me confidence that I can perform and I should perform. So I did!
5. Who was your inspiration growing up, in makeup as well as Drag?
I only discovered Drag when I was in college. Growing up I did not even know the concept of drag. I was closeted and too scared to come out and express myself. I was also living in Patna which is not a very accepting city. So I had no one to look up to at that time, but after I moved out is when I started becoming freer. My all-time favorite icons would be Rekha, Zeenat Amaan, Parvin Babi, Madonna, Cher, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez etc.
6. Do you think make-up contributes to your transformation from Prashant to Bahar?
Oh yes, definitely. It reveals the real me. Prashant is not me. Bahaar is me!
7. What would be your response to people asking ‘Why does drag need to be amplified as an art form in India?’
I always tell straight people that they get to practice what they love without being questioned and finally, a time has come when we also get to do what we love without being questioned. Since a majority of people in India are conservative and not very accepting, it is important to educate them about self-expression, and hence amplification is necessary.
8. How has Trell as a platform helped you build a loyal and loving community?
I have always loved Trell. They gave me a platform to practice my art and a positive community to mingle with online. Remember when I mentioned in the 3rd question, that Drag has a bright future in India? Trell is playing a huge role in promoting it and I am forever grateful for that. Moreover, I was very new to content creation when I joined the platform. Trell’s team assisted with various aspects of content creation such as scriptwriting, lighting, camera positioning – which enabled me to enhance my content and build a large community of loyal supporters.