The standout Selma, Ala., episode of “We’re Here” not only brings Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka and Shangela to the city, but also takes a deep dive into the history of the civil rights movement, examining the intersectionality and vulnerability.
During the episode, Bob the Drag Queen also pulls off one of the most iconic wig reveals in the history of drag — by hiding his 11-year-old niece inside his wig. As Bob dances to Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair,” the wig comes off and reveals his the young girl as his dancing sidekick.
It took Bob’s creative team to pull off the surprise, including costume designer Domino Couture, makeup artist Tyler Devlin and hairstylist Gloria.
Couture and Bob the Drag Queen (Christopher Caldwell) have known each other since to Season 8 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” But Couture says Bob has dreamed of pulling off this reveal for over ten years. “It needed to have a moment,” Couture says. “He would say, ‘I want it to have a platform or a big event,’ but we could never quite make it happen.”
Until they traveled to Selma.
In designing rich costumes for Bob and the series, Blackness inherently has to be a part of Couture’s approach. Couture chose a jumpsuit for this episode, with 1970s Pam Grier serving as an inspiration: “I looked at that aesthetic where a person that walks into the room and has that power with it. That’s where it started.”
Ultimately, the hair needed to be functional, but also, says Couture, “How do we make ‘Whip My Hair’ about Blackness too, while trying to hide a person in there?”
The answer was a larger than life Afro, a wig that needed to serve as a prop and function to sit there while Bob was hiding his niece, Neveah. This huge wig needed to be large enough to cover an eleven-year-old girl.
Gloria had a suitcase filled with reasonable-sized-Afros: “I bought out several stores in Houston,” he says. Those were all placed together to surround Neveah, who would be sitting on top of his shoulders.
Adds Couture, “If you look closely in another scene, we’re all there crocheting wigs together.”
When it came to the costume fitting, Neveah wore a morph-like brown suit that she could step into, and a small wig that she could wear that would match Bob.
While in school, Neveah was sent rehearsal footage to watch, and right before the performance joined her Uncle for the finishing touches, after everything had already been built. There wasn’t much time for rehearsals and choreography, says Couture: “The cameras started rolling and we get to do it twice, and you hope that it goes right.”