they seem cool

The Photographer Exploring Men’s Relationship to Makeup

When Quil Lemons puts a swipe of glitter on his cheekbone, it’s more than a beauty statement. It’s a way of channeling his alter ego, Glitterboy, who looks great in makeup despite identifying as male (which is the point). Glitterboy has starred in a Milk makeup campaign, but Lemons is better known for his behind-the-camera work. The 21-year-old photographer came of age on Tumblr, where he was inspired to buy a DSLR and pursue photography. He moved to New York to attend The New School and has since shot for VogueGucci, and the Museum of Modern Art. Below, the up-and-comer speaks to the Cut about Cuba, Thanksgiving, and cloning.

What is your most-used emoji?
The lemon or the glitter emoji. Even in emails, I’ll send a lemon emoji.

What is your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving. I really like to eat and see my family, and that’s the holiday where we all get together. Christmas comes with too many expectations about what it should be and who should be there.

If you could spend three months anywhere, where would it be and why?Cuba, just because I want to go completely off the grid and not have people texting or calling me.

What superpower would you have and why?

What’s the best album ever made?
Janet Jackson’s Control is an amazing album and I’ve been listening to it every day.

Go-to karaoke song?
I just had a karaoke party yesterday for my 21st birthday party. I did “Fineto” by Chief Keef. It’s like a moshing song, but it’s a trap moshing song.

Who do you think is cool?
I’ve been like completely enamored by Kelsey Lu. I was raised by a lot of women so I really think women are very cool. My homie Tiara Wack is another music artist. And this photographer Nadine Ijewere.

What fictional character would you love to hang out with?
Maybe Angel from Pose because we have a lot in common.

If you could be a magazine, what magazine would you be?Document Journal.

If you could speak to animals, which animals would you want to talk to?Birds or flies. They’re everywhere and I feel like flies are really nosy.

Jeans or sweats?

What’s something your social-media followers don’t know about you?
I had braces for a long time so when I get really excited sometimes I drool. I had braces from 14 to 18 and I don’t think my saliva glands ever went back to normal.

What was the last website you looked at?

If you could be outfitted by one designer for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Wales Bonner.

What do you eat for breakfast?
I normally skip breakfast and go straight to lunch.

If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Water ice, which is a flavored ice kind of like Italian ice, Alfredo pasta, and salmon especially when the skin is crispy.

If you were a color, what would it be?

On Quil Lemons: Homme Plisse Issey Miyake jacket, $695 at Issey Miyake, 119 Hudson Street; Fendi wool trousers, $590 at

The Photographer Exploring Men’s Relationship to Makeup