Queer Eye's Jess Gilbeaux Started A Drag Career After Her Makeover

Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Smith/Netflix.
In an especially moving episode of Queer Eye Season 3, viewers met Jess Guilbeaux. She's the series' first lesbian "hero" (what the makeover stars are called), and her episode really brought to the forefront how difficult it is to feel like you truly belong. All Jess wanted was to be a strong black woman, but she had experiences in life where she was told she was "too black" or "not black enough" or "too gay" or "not gay enough" etc.
Basically, society has done a very good job of making people feel less than, and the Fab Five wanted to break Jess out of that. Now, after Queer Eye, Jess seems to be living her best, most confident life. Her transformation began on the show, when Karamo was insistent that she already was a beautiful, strong, black, lesbian woman. By the end of the episode, Jess was feeling it herself. "I had it in me but you all brought it out and I really appreciate it," she told the cast, adding, "You all just showed me that it’s beautiful and sexy to care for yourself." Jess' Instagram bio now reads, "a strong, black lesbian woman."
She seems to have really taken the lessons from the show to heart. After a promo for her episode came out, she posted on Instagram about the impact the show had on her. "This experience was life changing for me," she wrote. "I learned how to love my natural curls, love my highly melanated skin, and all of what makes up who I am (a fierce gay kween™️). I can't wait for y'all to see Season 3. My heart is so full and happy and this is only the beginning!!"
The biggest change to Jess' life post show seems to be that she's starting performing in drag shows. On Queer Eye, Jess said she liked to embrace both the masculine and feminine. She defined herself as a "soft butch" and she's channeling that into her new drag persona. In February she shared a photo after her first performance along with a lengthy caption about how it was such a big step for her.
"So!! In case you don’t know, last night was my first performance ever in a drag show. Rewind to a year ago and I would have never had the confidence to do it. If you were there to support me, I cannot express how grateful I am," she wrote.
Her first post on Instagram after her makeover was also telling of how much her confidence had grown. "Just keep breathin,'" she captioned a selfie where she's wearing her new clothes and hat. She hashgtagged the photo, #gayandproud and #blackwoman, so it seems she's finally accepted that she's enough just as she is — which was Karamo's big hope for her. Like Jess said, she always had this in her, she just needed a little help bringing it out. And now she's trying things she's never tried before and embracing her identity in a whole new way.
Don't ever say TV can't change lives.

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