Dakota Dekovitch is a junior at Rowan University studying in the theater department. The 20-year-old student has a concentration in design tech, with a passion for costuming, musical theater, and makeup. But Dekovitch is not just a student.
In her free time, Dekovitch is a drag queen who goes by the stage name “Buttercrème,” a name that highlights her elegant style, comprised of pinks and whites with long flowing gowns fit for a princess.
“In a different lifetime, I would like to be like a party princess person. I used to wanna work at Disneyland,” said Dekovitch. Unfortunately for her, these dreams feel like something that may never be a reality for a transgender woman such as herself.
In return, she does the one thing she can do to feel like a princess. Designing elegant outfits or gowns and powdering herself in drag makeup. Because when it comes to drag, it does not matter who you are, you step into this persona, allowing yourself to be as courageous as possible in your skin.
Her love for drag comes from the show “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” which she stumbled upon through YouTube. With the only TV in her house being in her living room, and the only computer being a shared one with her family, Dekovitch was not fully comfortable watching the show around her family at such a young age.
Watching updates through social media, her appreciation for drag grew and once she was finally able to watch the show—the rest was history.
“The first season I watched, which is funny for people who know Drag Race, was All Stars Three because that was between season nine and season ten. All Stars Three is a hot mess. But it was the first season I watched,” Dekovitch said. “And then the first actual main season I watched was season ten. I fell in love with it.”
Shortly after Dekovitch’s love for this profession, a friend of hers who now works as a makeup artist was getting into drag as well. This was the peak that led Dekovitch to be as talented and beautiful in drag as she is now. But her start in 2019 was far from pretty. Since she was new, her actual drag designs and costumes weren’t the greatest.
“It’s bad. We can all say it’s bad.” Since 2019, she has shown so much growth— growth that she’s proud of. You can see this growth if you check out her Instagram.
“Even if you scroll down, you can see my oldest post going up, how my makeup changed, how my styling has changed. Everything like that, it’s visible, my growth.”
Stepping into her room feels like stepping into her page. She is organized and delicate with those same pinks and whites exploding from her closet, and wigs lining her apartment shelves. Suitcases sit under her bed, overflowing when opened. Her drawers are filled with beads and pearls. A sewing machine sits atop her desk. A notable factor that sets her apart from a majority of drag kings and queens, she makes all her costumes by hand.
“Most of it is just playing around with what I have, kind of deconstructing other things, looking at pictures, inspirations, seeing how everything works, following lots of other costume people, drag people, everything like that. I pull inspiration from anywhere, and it kind of comes into a big conglomeration of what I do,” said Dekovitch.
The self-taught designer, besides a sewing class in high school and the very few costuming classes offered by Rowan, has come a very long way from her start with a hot glue gun, scissors, and some old fabrics pulled from clothes from Goodwill. While she calls most of her costumes “hodge-podgy” clippings from old wedding dresses or curtains found from donation stores, there is a piece she is particularly proud of. She even makes her wigs, purchasing cheap wigs and designing them into masterpieces.
As a special assignment she asked a professor to allow her to do, she created a replica of the pink gown that her favorite Disney princess Aurora wore. This is the only outfit she deliberately bought fabrics for and the only gown she fully designed and sewed in the proper manner that designers follow. It is a piece she is immensely proud of and hopes to have an excuse to wear it very soon.
“So many of these costumes I haven’t worn at all yet because they’re too big for me to wear, or like, too extravagant. And also, I’m not 21, so I don’t have drag shows to do.” The drag world is extremely competitive and it can be hard to find gigs, especially when under the age of 21. Most shows are performed where alcohol is sold and you must be over 21 to participate as a viewer or as a performer.
Lucky for Dekovitch, she turns 21 in December. While this profession may be a hard one to get a gig in, she is excited to truly dip her heels into drag. In the coming months, Buttercrème expects to have many opportunities to showcase her sustainable and hand-made dresses clad in dramatic drag makeup.
If you want to see her fashions and makeup now, you will have to hop over to her Instagram or TikTok @Dakota_Dekovitch.