Nathan Phoenix X Le Fil: Behind the scenes of Drag Race UK

by | 24 Jan 2023

Go behind the lens of Drag Race UK series four, as hairstylist Nathan Phoenix reflects on the fierce and fabulous wig looks created for drag artist Le Fil

“The collaboration between myself and Le Fil started a few years back, after we both worked for renowned club night Sink The Pink. With Fil there as a performer and myself on hair backstage, we grew a connection and promised to work on some projects together at some point in the future.

All undercover and top secret, Fil approached me to work on a ‘project’ with them. This being Drag Race UK, I was absolutely ecstatic as it has always been a dream of mine to work on such a show! Fil already had a strong vision of each look and what they wanted to see from each runway moment. Although Fil had a strong outlook, they were also excited about my suggestions and ideas, so together we created some amazing hair looks. 

Fil is such a joy to work with. Working with someone so creative, who has a mind full of wonderful ideas, is so inspiring and a great ground for myself to bounce off of. We respect and are excited about one another’s ideas, and also tell each other when something doesn’t work and usually laugh it off! It’s a relaxed, calming and cathartic process when working together, which isn’t always the case when working with drag queens! 

I created around 12 wigs for Fil to take to filming, knowing that they would need to have backups as well. This meant not every look would get used – some of my personal favourites are still in the archive and I’m sure we will use them for shoots etc again soon!

One of my favourites which did feature in the show is the King & I look. Coupled with the outfit from Bang London it brought everything together and made a huge WOW moment on screen! I also love the drama and power of the orange, super long, sleek look that we did for Fil’s entrance look, finished off with the Aaron Carlo hair piece! Finally the pink tent festival look was a big favourite. I had so much fun creating this wig, based around Fil’s own hair. I added lots of accessories and pieces to the wig to create the end result. 

In terms of intricacy, Fil’s finale look was for sure one of the most interesting. We created this on Fil’s own hair and not a wig.  It featured quiff finger waves, using extensions for length and multiple scalp braids. This look was inspired by the outfit created by Fil’s sister, fusing Brighouse with China. 

Le Fil

Look from the finale

Look from punk week

King & I look 

It was such a rewarding feeling seeing my work on screen, and also having it be on a queer, drag show was a real moment! The response from friends and peers was also very enlightening. I have learnt that when creating a look, wig or working with a model’s hair to have a brief guideline but just start playing around, make mistakes and see what happens. Avoid over-analysing. This is definitely my approach, may not work for everybody but I say go for it! 

For any hair pros also looking to collaborate with drag artists, I suggest you reach out to emerging drag talent if you already have experience with wigs, and have some exciting ideas for what you might create for them! If you’re looking to expand or learn wig styling then I would advise assisting someone who is experienced and see where that takes you!” 

 

Products used: Webster Wigs, Color WOW, Got2B and Kevin Murphy colour

 

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