Miss Fame, Kurtis Dam-Mikkelsen arrived on set at 9am. When I stopped in later that afternoon, I was told the transformation process was still underway. As I entered the room, it was clear that this was much more than your typical fashion photo shoot. Miss Fame, sitting in a corset, heels, and a Marilyn Monroe inspired wig, was applying the finishing touches to her makeup. I was mesmerized. Miss Fame’s presence is striking to say the least. This was more than just beauty; this was a live performance piece. Miss Fame is a walking, talking work of art.
And talk we did. After the first two looks were shot, Miss Fame sat down with me to discuss her career. I was eager to chat about her favorite beauty products and techniques, but after dodging the subject twice, she told me that she has that information on her YouTube channel. She was more interested in discussing the creative process and everything that happens beneath the surface of Miss Fame.
Kurtis Dam-Mikkelsen grew up on a chicken farm in California. He moved to New York in 2011 with nothing more than dreams and aspirations. Before any real fame had amounted, Kurtis turned his fine art background into a skill for makeup artistry, and created a character named Miss Fame. She preformed drag shows, and soon found herself as a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag race. Since then, she has managed to leverage a spot on a hit reality TV show into a modeling career that millions of girls would kill for. Collaborating with power house beauty brand L’oreal Paris, and signing a contract with IMG (one of the most highly respected agencies in the fashion industry, Miss Fame is living the dream.
Can you believe it? I asked. “I can believe it” she replied. “I worked for it”.
While Miss Fame may be enjoying the ranks of her success, she made it clear that nothing was handed to her overnight. She described her life before fame, briefly touching upon darker days and family struggles, but was quick to speak of how these moments of strife pushed her forward, and gave her the strength to continue growing. At times, she looked close to tears as she spoke about her passion for creating beauty, and the thrill of working in an industry she had admired from afar for so many years.
“These models, all these girls. I look up to them for inspiration”.
At many points during the shoot, Miss Fame stopped to share stories of working with top models she now calls her peers. It’s clear that the fashion industry is near and dear to her heart. And as she stood on set, exuding aspirational beauty akin to the models she spoke so highly of, it’s clear she has found her place, and her journey as a fashion model has only just begun.