Dressing as a drag queen is more than a hobby for EC student

She’s sugar, she’s spice and anything but nice. She wears fangs, three-inch high heels and a slick pink dress with a white fleece cardigan; except she isn’t a woman.

Reysand or “Rey” is a 19-year-old El Camino College student and political science major leads a double life as “Maya Azteka.”

Maya Azteka is Rey’s drag name, inspired by his Zapotec descent and his interest in his Native Mexican culture.

Fellow artist Jay Lopez is a social media follower of Rey who said he has seen him and his drag persona develop over time.

“I’ve watched Rey explore and experiment since the beginning of his persona, Maya, and there seems to be something deeper than just makeup and wigs,” Lopez said. “It is an exploration of self and a reflection of culture.”

Rey said he just likes to have fun and express himself through the world of drag and makeup.

“My ideal drag persona isn’t like an over the top drag queen, she’s more like a girl you would see at a party, a pretty one, one you would pass a blunt to if you had one,” Rey said. “A lot of drag queens go over the top, too intense but I don’t like to.”

Rey takes his time as he works on his makeup, focused on making each look his own.

But Rey doesn’t only focus on drag. He showcases his looks on Instagram where he has over one thousand followers.

Among his pictures are those of his drag persona and other looks inspired by monsters and ghouls.

“The other day I realized I watched a lot of “Scooby-Doo” when I was little so in terms of monsters and my designs, I got it from there. Anything I would read I guess as beastly or wild in a sense of wild animals.”

Rey started with pencils and paper but quickly settled into brushes and palettes.

“To me, it’s like the same as sitting down and drawing and I get to do something I like and that I know I’m good at,” Rey said. “That’s why my makeup style—when I do monsters and sh—, it’s not super clean, I like to make it the way I draw too.”

Rey said he started experimenting from an early age, often watching shows like “Face Off,” a show that uses prosthetics and makeup on people to create special effects.

“For some reason in middle school or high school, I would find myself looking up Youtube videos of makeup transformations,” Rey said. “I did my first makeup look for 8th grade Halloween, I dressed up as roadkill. I had like a rodent nose and I made myself look dirty and put blood on my shirt and I said I’m roadkill.”

A long-time friend of Rey and LA Harbor College student Brian Machuca, 19, said he is happy for his friend because he knows this is something he’s wanted to do for a long time.

“It’s really good, it’s pretty cool, like that Halloween one that he did, it doesn’t look like it’s amateur—cheap stuff that anybody could do, the fact that he can change his facial structure, it doesn’t look like it can be easily replicated, he’s good at what he does,” Machuca said.


Updated Sunday, July 28, at 3:23 p.m.: Names have been changed to protect identity.