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Trixie Mattel's Message: Don't Take One More Drag of That Dirty Butt

Trixie Mattel tobacco

The Drag Race star tells us the personal tale of why she got involved with a national smoking prevention campaign.

With makeup, less is more. But more is more-er. My look might be shocking for some, but for me, life in plastic is fantastic.

A drag queen's life is centered on unique looks and the ability to make a joke out of pretty much anything, including yourself. How many young gay boys feared the repercussions of embracing their favorite Barbie doll or telling their friends who they really were? In the case of Trixie Mattel, that fear grew into courage, which ultimately gave birth to a life-size version of that Barbie doll dream.

In case you haven't heard my story, I want to share it so you can appreciate it -- why I care about my appearance, my body, my health, and my individuality. As a kid, a young gay kid struggling to find his identity, I lived with an abusive stepfather. Any time I did something he thought was "gay" or "queer" or in any other way seemed like a "sissy," he would call me "Trixie." I won't lie and say it didn't hurt. But I refused to let my story end there. Reframing the intended insult and claiming the title for myself, I learned to take the power away from words. Begone -- you have no power here!

As drag queens, we get to be two-dimensional in most of our work -- which means we also get to be fearless, and go deeper than your average 6-foot-2' boy in makeup and a pinstriped dress. We get the privilege of challenging gender norms, pushing character styles to their limits, twisting expectations, and striking the perfect balance of fashion, performance, and comedy. And even if the audience can't laugh with you, they still can't stop looking at you. Drag queens are at the spear edge of pushing LGBT culture forward. It's been true from times before Stonewall until now, with the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars. With all this power, we take seriously our role in supporting the growth of LGBT youth and young adults. In whatever small way I can, I know the killer confidence, cutting-edge aesthetic, and sheer self-love displayed by Trixie Mattel is making a difference. In short, I live my life by my definition of flawless, and I'm proud of it.

Serving killer looks and devastating jokes has always been my focus. But now I have a new endeavor. I recently got the opportunity to participate in a very cool new effort dedicated at reaching LGBT young adults with a tobacco-free lifestyle message. It's called "This Free Life," and you may have seen yours truly in the video called "Flawless." I'm not the only queen in there (Shangela, Manila, and Tammie helped out too), but I might as well be the only queen in the room at any given show.

I had a lot of fun working with them. I'd never seen something like this for our community, so I'm so happy to see this campaign out there. For me, not smoking is actually a no-brainer, but I know that it's not as easy for some folks. While on set with Manila during the production, I got to hear about her story of quitting cigarettes. Having the chance to glamorize a tobacco-free lifestyle is something special. I come from a family of smokers -- basically, a family of people who don't live very long, sadly. I've lost several members of my family to smoking-related complications. Every year, my mother quits smoking for my birthday -- and every year, I see her addiction win. Because I've seen firsthand the toll that it takes, I never even wanted to try it.

As acceptance and popularity of drag has continued to grow, more and more people are being given a voice. I hope that as drag queens, standing up and saying that we are proud to not smoke, we can inspire more and more people to live healthier. Thankfully, most of my work happens in places where smoking inside is no longer allowed. That smell sticks to your wig, girl. It sticks to everything, no matter what you try to mask it with.

Being a nonsmoker in an industry of smokers, I have found the balance in being an enthusiastic health advocate and friend to tobacco users. Some of my closest friends are smokers. I've let them know that the health and beauty in a tobacco-free lifestyle is a lifelong party and they're always welcome and invited.

TRIXIE MATTEL is one of the stars of the "This Free Life" smoking prevention campaign. Trixie will be appearing at Gay Days Anaheim Friday. Follow her on Twitter @trixiemattel.

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