Ryne Bulington, a sophomore fashion and merchandising major, became Ryne Stone for the first time in 2016 after appearing in Ball State Spectrum's Drag Show in Wonderland. Bulington uses drag as his outlet for his art, letting it represent his own fantasy or the illusion that he creates. Ryne Bulington // Photo Provided
Student reflects on drag experience, illusion
Some days he spends hours perfecting his makeup.
He starts by filling in his eyebrows and making his eyes look bigger. He puts on layers of contour and foundation and follows by making his nose appear thinner and his lips larger.
Finally, after he composes his own outfit, he puts on a colorful wig to throw it all together.
In 2016, Ryne Bulington, a sophomore fashion and merchandising major, became Ryne Stone for the first time. Ball State Spectrum held "Drag Show in Wonderland," where Bulington appeared in drag.
“The first time I saw myself, really, you just, you just feel like a different person. It was almost like looking at a different person,” Bulington said.
While on an exchange in Japan, Bulington used his down time exploring videos on Youtube and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.
“I just stumbled upon a drag queen one day and watched their videos because it was really funny,” he said.
His prior experience as a performer for theater prepared him for his on-stage experience. His knowledge of makeup was not a sudden learned skill, but something he had done throughout his life.
Depending on the extent of his vision, the time needed to perfect the look can range from a half hour to five hours.
Unlike the idea of a typical drag queen, Bulington does not use significant padding for large boobs to create an extreme feminine physique. He uses the idea of tall, statuesque women for the idea of his accented male body.
“[Drag] is not something I think about a lot. I never think about when I put on makeup, if it is male or female when I dress up,” he said. “I never really think about, ‘Oh, this is for women.’”
Bulington is a demisexual, or someone who doesn't feel a sexual attraction unless there is an emotional or romantic connection.
He also identifies as a male and is very comfortable with his male body.
“Once you get past that point where like you’re not afraid to, you kind of realize, like, clothes and all that and gender are just kind of rules that are set up that don’t really mean anything,” he said.
Bulington uses drag as his outlet for his art. Currently, he is playing with the idea of consumerism and its effects on the world. His ideas change often, sometimes from day to day.
Bulington’s drag represents his own fantasy or the illusion that he creates, which makes no statement about who he is but just what seems to be on his mind.
“My decorations, or my drag, or my clothing, it’s all kind of like creating this illusion, one that you are aware of. I would categorize that it all is drag. I see no difference in Ryne or Ryne Stone. They are just two ends of the spectrum.”
Urban dictionary defines a Drag Queen as a man who dresses as a flamboyant woman to entertain others.
While it may not be as common, female drag queens do exist.
“It is just kind of bending the gender aspect of life,” Bulington said. “It’s just kind of taking out gender altogether and just making art.”
While Bulington is fairly new to the ‘drag scene,’ he’s constantly learning and improving. He said he’s always evolving and has come a long way since his first show.
“Whatever you are doing in life, you can kind of sense, ‘Is this right? Am I doing the right thing right now?’” he said. “I feel like here and there I might get stuff wrong, [but] I feel like I am going in the right direction.”
Bulington continues to grow and gain more skills as he practices and performs. Since his initial performance a year and a half ago, he has performed in about 20 shows and continues to set goals for himself for his future in drag.