Zach Dishinger (Age: 15)
Once the teenage cosmetics entrepreneur discovered makeup, there was no turning back.
The best thing about a boy wearing makeup is that it promotes a conversation and has the potential to provoke emotion in others. As a society, we’ve lost the art of conversation. That’s what I like to do: make people talk to each other, whether it’s about gender identity or expression. It brings us together as a community.
My inspirations are Lady Gaga and David Bowie. I want to get a lightning-bolt tattoo, and my mother isn’t too happy about it. I also love that Lady Gaga has a message and a large platform: She dabbles in everything, and she’s all about awareness and being yourself. I think just releasing a lipstick is pointless. With my brand, it’s not just a lipstick — we’re here to help people.
People have the idea of gender wrong. The majority of society confuses gender with someone’s biological sex, and they automatically gravitate toward the typical binary of male and female only. But gender is expressed in so many different ways, and that’s why I love it. If anyone ever feels different, I don’t want them to give up on who they are and gravitate toward the norm.
I’ve always been like this, since I was 4. I was always putting paint on myself in arts-and-crafts class in preschool. I would go to my grandparents’ house and do my makeup in full drag, putting Elmer’s Glue Stick on my brows and perform for them. I think my whole family just knew. People ask, “You’re a guy wearing makeup, don’t you get criticized?” I don’t care who you are — you will receive criticism no matter what you do. But my family and my friends are so supportive. I’m fortunate. Not everyone has that, so it’s my job to help others.
School for a number of gay or nonbinary teens is a really tough place. At one point for me, it was so bad that I actually had to switch schools. I got sent to a more conservative school — but it offered a makeup class. I found my calling. It gave me so much joy to walk down those halls like they were my runway, in that conservative environment. I went to homecoming in full glam and rhinestone shoes. I honestly think we’re moving in a positive direction, and we have the power to keep things moving.