"My career is to stare at myself for hours on end in a mirror while trying to perfect certain steps, so I encounter doubt and fear every day," ballet soloist Harper Watters said.
If you haven't witnessed one of Watters's mesmerizing performances, perhaps you've caught one of his YouTube videos, like his viral "Ballet Boys Workout," which features him strutting on a treadmill in pink, sky-high heels. He told POPSUGAR that those heels, along with makeup, are his "superhero capes," giving him confidence to own his true self in all of his endeavors, including dancing.
"When you put them on, you feel like you can take on anything, and I try to take the attitude that heels, makeup, and dancing give me into how I live my life," Watters said. He is the new face of MAC's Love Me Lipsticks — a campaign that centers around self-expression — and it's a full-circle moment for him.
After all, one of Watters's first experiences with makeup was with a MAC lipstick his dance teacher gave him. "I remember her saying, 'Put it on your top lip and then rub it together,' but I was like, 'I need more,' so I did both lips and really laid it on," he said. "I've got juicy lips so it was a real big red kiss, and I was like, 'I'm ready for the show.'" It was that, and RuPaul's Drag Race, that continued to spark his love of makeup.
Watters would look for makeup tutorials on YouTube to attempt to emulate the fearlessness that the drag queens had on the show. "It wasn't that I just saw a drag queen," he said. "I saw confident people who were almost in the same kind of fight that I was in, including their identity, owning their true selves, and being seriously unapologetic with who they are."
Today, Watters does his makeup for all of his performances with the Houston ballet and creates behind-the-scenes videos of him and other dancers in his company creating their looks. He expressed that he found self-love, which impacted his confidence in everything that he did. "I have to love myself," he said. "Accepting who I was as Harper and taking that to my dancing elevated it so much and I was feeling that off stage at the time . . . Accepting myself, owning who I am, and being unapologetic with myself gave me the confidence to really be the artist in-person that I know I am and I am now."