“I’m very much the kind of person to make friends with anyone—if you want to kick it, we’re probably going to kick it,” Richie Shazam beamed in a recent call. That kind of open-hearted magnetism transmits by phone, but it’s especially strong on Instagram. Last week, on Transgender Day of Visibility, the model and photographer posted a series of stylized odalisques in conjunction with the Mugler spring 2021 show. A TikTok-style fashion video saw her twirl through designs fresh off the runway, from Simone Rocha to Prada. And in February, Shazam shared a moody photo from GQ’s Modern Lovers issue, which dubbed the model and her partner, Ben Draghi, “fashion’s new queer power couple.”
The latest medium to serve up Shazam’s good vibes is television, with the new docuseries Shine True. Cohosted with Lucas Silveira, the Fuse TV show is a spin on the classic makeover format, with each episode centered on a young nonbinary person looking to feel more at home in their body and in the world. (Episode one is available on YouTube.) Shazam recalls last year’s production process as “a three-month intense bender of looking in the mirror and experiencing so many beautiful moments of queer magic and seeing these incredible families trying to better understand their loved ones.”
A West Indian glamazon by way of Queens, Shazam feels at ease in the role of mentor, having navigated similar circumstances. “Growing up in New York, I had so many varied identities,” she said of a punk mosh-pit-in-heels phase. “I went to wherever I was accepted, wherever it felt warm.” Her mother, who passed away while Shazam was in high school, was an early beacon: red lipstick, White Diamonds perfume, Indian-Guyanese gold earrings and bangles. These days, “the people that I call my family are my chosen family,” the model said. “That, for me, was the true beauty of our docuseries because I, in turn, was able to process a lot of my own dramas and deal with my own familial rejection.”
As states move to restrict gender-affirming medical care for trans minors, Shine True offers a holistic vision of wellness, rooted in come-as-you-are acceptance. “So much of the media depiction of us is sort of these very intense, harrowing, really dark experiences,” said Shazam, who signed with IMG last month. “For me, I walk through this world with a lot of light, a lot of positivity, and a lot of force. Queer people, we’re just inherently magicians. We want to paint the world that we want to live in.” As the model’s three-day wellness diary reveals, that world is lush—from new houseplants to glitter eye shadow. “Anything sparkle, count me in.”
Monday, March 29
8:30 a.m.: Rise and shine. Finally feeling like a human after getting the second dose of the vaccine. Feeling sluggish but definitely improving, and excited to start the week with a bang!
Tulips at home in Williamsburg.
Courtesy of Richie Shazam.
10 a.m.: After guzzling my first (and maybe a second) cup of coffee, I receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers gifted to me by a friend after speaking in their course on media representation. The artist visit was a full-circle moment for me, being able to speak to students from my alma mater about creativity and authenticity. I was filled with joy—I’ve come such a long way. These flowers affirm my journey and their appreciation. I feel seen and embraced. Surely this is a good omen that the week will be good. Receiving your flowers is a queer sentiment—subjectivity, beauty, and power.
12 p.m.: I drink some juices to try and rebuild my strength and immunity. I like ginger, lemon, grapefruit, aloe vera concoctions. After gulping down my healing tonic, I begin my makeup ritual. For me, doing my makeup is an almost meditative time with myself where I get to tell the story I want to tell with my appearance and expression. I’m obsessed with Pat McGrath products that illuminate my goddess skin, as well as Byredo eye shadows that are packed with sparkle—cuz you know we all need a little sparkle in these dark times. I apply a sort of fairytale reddish-pink hue for my eyes to emphasize a brightened spirit.
Shazam’s beauty lineup, including Byredo’s Prismic shadow palette, Skin Fetish foundation by Pat McGrath Labs (“I use it religiously”), a new Marc Jacobs concealer, and Lesse’s skin-soothing face mist.
Courtesy of Richie Shazam.