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A Brayzillian Savannah

Savannah dancing. Photo courtesy: Cimone Dailey
Savannah dancing. Photo courtesy: Cimone Dailey

When makeup artist Brayzill Stevenson, 33, was just eight-years-old, he decided that painting the half-renovated basement of his family’s Joliet home would be his first creative solo project. Without his mother’s permission, he purchased the paint himself, and threw the contents from their cans, leaving vibrant splatters all over the walls and floors. “I didn’t sweep or anything like that, so there was dust everywhere,” he says. “My mother was furious, but in my mind, I was making it beautiful.”

Stevenson has not stopped beautifying his world ever since; it has become his canvas. Ironically, his favorite part of that canvas is himself.

Since the age of 15, Stevenson has gone out to perform in drag as his alter-ego, Savannah Westbrooke. “You spend your whole life being overlooked and then you create this character that cannot be overlooked,” Stevenson says. “You see her.”

Savannah is indeed difficult to miss at the drag shows she participates in, sometimes seven nights a week. Her favorite songs to lip-synch are power anthems and she’s often decorated with beaded, shining outfits and big hair. “She stands for positivity, self-love, and acceptance,” Stevenson says. “It’s okay to be weird. It’s okay to be funny, or a little strange, and not the norm. Showing that love is beautiful to me. She is fabulous for it.”

Stevenson hopes that his next, and perhaps biggest creative solo project will involve producing Savannah’s audition tape for the next season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

To view the entire photo essay, click here.

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