Drag Race Runner-up Pearl Has Turned 'Flazeda' Into A Fragrance
Should we wrinkle our noses at it?
The Brand: Pearl, the drag queen and top-three finisher on Season 7 of RuPaul's Drag Race. But also, RuPaul's Drag Race itself.
The Extension: Flazéda, a unisex fragrance whose name is inspired by Pearl's accidental catchphrase.
Is This a Brand Worth Extending? That question is more complicated than it looks! Because on one hand, there's Pearl. For all her good luck, she is still the queen whose dubious claim to fame is how bored she seemed all the time. Is vacuous beauty really the flag we want to rally around? And if it is, hasn't it been planted in enough places already? I mean...Britney Spears has a fragrance, right?
On the other hand, because it is named Flazéda, this perfume is also linked to Drag Race itself. And since that show remains one of the wittiest and most subversive hours on TV, I have no problem with its getting more attention.
Is This Extension Worth Branding? I'm not going to fork over $124.00 for the chance to smell, as the Flazéda website promises, like "top notes of anise, pepper, bergamot, and jasmine; middle notes of amber, lavender, and mandarin; and base notes of sandalwood, vanilla, and vetiver." That's an awful lot of notes, and I'm pretty sure "vetiver" is just the rejected name of Coldplay's third album.
But since when has a fragrance line ever been about the stuff in the bottle? I don't know what White Diamonds smells like, but I sure as hell know that it helped Elizabeth Taylor extend her relevance for at least a decade. If you read the words "white diamonds" and thought, "These have always brought me luck," then my case is rested.
So the real question for Flazéda is less "How does this smell?" and more "How does it impact my understanding of Pearl and Drag Race?"
For the former, the result is surprisingly good. In retrospect, I realize that Pearl's empty beauty is perfectly suited for work in high fashion, and by attaching her name to a fragrance, she quite shrewdly owns her perceived weakness as a strength. Plus, the name of the scent uses her catchphrase in an unexpected way, infusing it with ironic glamor when it was originally just a slip of the tongue. That makes Pearl, by extension, seem like she's in control of the joke, and that's exactly the sort of power you need in the drag world. She took the right product, the right name, and the right perspective and fused them into one. (Or...somebody did. Probably a marketing person somewhere. But Pearl's the beneficiary of the result.)
And then there's the black-and-white short that's been released to support Flazéda:
This shit is gorgeous, y'all. Very "Vogue" video. Very Calvin Klein's Obsession. It also has a cool soundtrack that's reminiscent of Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good," which adds even more slinky appeal to the shots of Pearl (in both boy drag and girl drag) lolling around looking attractive. If we're going to focus on this particular queen, then this is exactly how we should do it. Not everyone could pull this off -- a Jinkx Monsoon fragrance line wouldn't make sense, despite how awesome she is -- so good on Pearl for finding the right platform.
Meanwhile, I'd say this fragrance could also do good things for Drag Race. For years now, alumni queens have basically stuck to making parody videos, releasing terrible club singles, or appearing in commercials, PSAs, and web series that are connected to the show, its advertisers, and its producers. And there's nothing wrong with that, of course. Particularly when it means I get to see Alyssa Edwards be more delightful then she ever was on her season.
But Flazéda is an opportunity for RuPaul's Drag Race to demonstrate that it can push its girls beyond its own bubble. And that would make the show seem even more relevant, like when Jennifer Hudson's Oscar gave American Idol extra clout.
So I say godspeed to this unisex Coldplay album of a product line! The presentation has been on point so far, and it could lead to more good things. Like maybe a summer run of The Snatch Game as an actual series. Or a line of frozen dinners called Shangela's Halleloo Buffet.