A drag queen who goes by Golgi Apparatus is being criticized on social media for creating a makeup look that resembles vitiligo. She posted a selfie on Instagram of her face with white patches around her lips and temples that do look eerily similar to the skin condition. The original photo has since been deleted from her feed, but the look lives on in screenshots posted on Twitter and Instagram.
Creating makeup to look like vitiligo was definitely not Golgi Apparatus’s intention, though. (Intentions aside, it goes without saying that skin conditions — like skin tone — aren’t a costume you can put on whenever you want to.) On Tuesday, she wrote in an apology post on Instagram that the look was inspired by a photo of RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Valentina “in which she had gray splotches on her face and tunning down her arms.” She added that “This look was just a way for me to have more fun/experiment with makeup. I in NO WAY intended for this to represent vitiligo, and I sincerely apologize that it offended so many people.”
In reality, the gray was part of a black-and-white photo collage. Valentina wasn’t actually painted gray. However, Golgi Apparatus paid homage to the shoot by mixing in her own makeup style. When someone in the comments section of her apology post asked why she used white makeup instead of gray on her light skin tone, Golgi Apparatus wrote back saying, “I used a stark white. I guess it just translated poorly. I was trying to tie it into these white highlights I’ve been doing lately on my nose and lips.” She went on to acknowledge that the white didn’t translate the way she intended and she “screwed up.”
As for why she decided to delete her post, Golgi Apparatus said she was receiving obscene comments and didn’t want to cloud her Instagram feed with negativity. “People started name-calling and picking fights with each other,” she explained. “The entire comment section just became a toxic environment that had nothing to do with the picture, just hate for each other. That’s when I drew the line.”