“The Vampire Diaries” Star Kat Graham Credits Drag Queens As Her Biggest Beauty Influence

Rachel Adler

Kat Graham, who stars as the always-reliable (even in the worst of circumstances) witch Bonnie Bennett on “The Vampire Diaries” has more talents than many people know. The 23-year-old actress not only has quite the defined list of creditionals for an actress her age, but she has also recently released two singles, her latest being “Wanna Say.” With her toes dipped in two different pools, it’s not surprising that Graham is influenced by a variety of things, crediting drag queens as her biggest makeup influence as well as her close friend, designer Jeremy Scott.

Below, Graham opens up to us about everything from her countless beauty must-haves, wanting a duffle bag of makeup with her at all times, and how her style differs from Bonnie Bennet’s.

BH: When it comes to going out, what are five essentials that you like to keep in your bag?

KG: I wish I could have my whole makeup kit in my bag, but then I’d be carrying a duffle. I think it just depends on what you’re into. If you went out with red lips, then you should definitely have your red lipstick with you. When you go out your lip gloss is always important, you don’t want chapped lips. A little thing of hairspray, a little small sample size of perfume because it always makes you feel a little bit better. And I always like to travel with water, because it keeps you so hydrated, it keeps your skin fresh. I remember I was in Texas a couple weeks ago, and it was so dry and it just ate up all of my makeup. I hadn’t thought about beauty in that way – that it really depends on where you live. If you live in a very humid place like Florida, go easy on maybe the bronzer. Or go easy on crazy oily based things, if that kind of humidity makes your skin oily. It really depends on where you live. And I don’t think people ever talk about that. Your makeup is going to be different in how it settles on you depending on the weather, the temperature, and what your skin naturally is like.

BH: Do you have any favorite products that are your absolute go-tos?

KG:  MAC always has the most amazing lipsticks. I love Laura Mercier, I always use her SPF colored tint first before I do anything. I love Smashbox products and brushes. I even like L’Oréal – they have the best mascaras. I’m the kind of girl that grew up going to Rite Aids and CVS’ because that’s where I bought my makeup. Not that I didn’t know any better, that’s just where you got your makeup. I just discovered the Maybelline Eye Tattoo Color that stays on. I have these long days, and I want to make sure that color stays on me, so I just discovered that. I’m all about fancy, big brands, Stila, and Bobbi Brown for foundation. I love stuff like that, but I also believe in being able to appreciate what’s just right next door.

BH: And finally, have you picked up any hair or makeup tricks while you’re on set?

KG: Not on “The Vampire Diaries” because the character that I play doesn’t really wear a lot of makeup. If you take a photo of me (regular me) and then put it next to Bonnie Bennett you have to squint your eyes to see the similarities. I’m learning most of my makeup tricks and all my techniques from drag queens, honestly. From everything like contouring to highlighting. People are like, “It’s so funny that you say that,” but I’m just being completely honest. A lot of people look at these performers in the gay community as clowns, or men dressing up as women, but there’s really a beautiful art to it. One of the first people to do my makeup was Sutan, who also goes by Raja, and I’ve learned so many makeup tips and how to do everything from focusing on your best feature, to highlights, to contouring, to using all of your eyelid space. I learned all of that from Sutan. I have to give credit where credit’s due because I have yet to be on a TV show where they have done my face as well as a drag queen has.

Learn more about Kat Graham’s style influences and latest music single on StyleCaster.