Cory Wade is a musician (check out his album, “Unify” onSpotify), a model and an activist. He also self-identifies as “that gay multi-racial bald guy from America’s Next Top Model.” Find him onInstagram.
Was there a moment in time when you realized you were a creator/maker/artist aka you?
I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. I used to sing into a hairbrush with my mom in our old family home in the suburbs of Philadelphia. We would blast the Mariah CareyEmotions album at the neighbor’s expense while dancing around in high heels and makeup. My Dad taught me how to play guitar and from there, I started writing my own songs while continuing to explore the creative expression of my outer appearance.
Is there a relationship between your identity (queer/gender/ethnicity/otherwise) and the work you make?
There absolutely is. Everything that I do carries an undertone of “be yourself with reckless abandon and don’t give a f–– about what anyone has to say about it.” My more recent work promotes inclusion and writing up a narrative where everybody fits. My makeup is an amalgamation of so many. This has given me a unique perspective that I have been trying to figure out how to use as a unifying force. I am black, white, gay, fem and I am here on a hunt for love just as we all are. That is why my work is dedicated to humanity and the unification of us all.
What do you want the beauty/fashion world to look like in 10 years?
I want the see the kind of representation that illustrates the unlimited culture of humanity as you experience it when you are walking down the street. Down with the standards. Show me the real.
What is inspiring to you right now -- other makers/artists/musicians/ideas/cultural trends?
Janelle Monae’s album “Dirty Computer” is really speaking to me, Janet Mock and Ryan Murphy are affecting my art tremendously for their work on the FX series “POSE”, and the energy of Pride Fest in New York has left an impression on my art heart as it always does! I also continue to draw inspiration from artists like David Bowie and Grace Jones…
What message do you hope to get across in your music? You seem to be a very positive and balanced person (which we love) and you touch on a bittersweet world in some of your song lyrics, is your art how you navigate all the negative vibes?
My art is indeed my coping mechanism for a lot of our world’s darkness. When I hurt, the lyrics flow out of me easily just like blood flows out of an open wound. It is that process that eventually heals my pain or at least gives me the ability to look at it from a different perspective. I realized through writing my first album that pain is necessary. Darkness is necessary. We are here to learn. Sometimes we forget and resent the darkness so much. But life is just a giant lesson and a contributor to our spiritual evolution. I called my album “Unify” because it is about finding unification and balance between the mind body and spirit, even in the most tumultuous of times. I believe that when we get these three key elements to work in perfect harmony without one outweighing either of the other two, it becomes impossible for you to forget how to love yourself and others. I think that is part of why I come off so positive and balanced… It’s because I am trying to practice what I preach!
What's the 411 on being as unapologetic as you are?
Self-love is self-confidence and you can’t be sorry along with being confident. The two sentiments don’t really mesh well. You’ve got to love on yourself enough to know that you don’t owe anything to anyone! No one else has the power to validate you. Only you can decide if you are truly worthy. We all have this inherent power that it is crucial for us to tap into if we want to live in the full experience of who we truly are! Call it magic, call it whatever, but you’ve got it! We’ve all got it!
What 3 things do you think makes someone an activist?
Passion, action, and fearlessness.
Who are your fashion/beauty icons? Whose look inspires you?
David Bowie, Grace Jones, Boy George, Janelle Monae, RuPaul Charles, Prince, Daniel Lismore, Ari Fitz, Annie Lenox, Jaden Smith, Miss Jay Alexander, Desmond Is Amazing, and really ANY other fashion icon who has challenged and helped us to redefine “normalcy."
What was your first “makeup moment” and what do you wear today?
My first makeup moment was with my mom on Halloween. She let me go trick or treating in drag when I was in 4th grade and painted my face for it. Today the makeup I wear varies according to the occasion. On a day to day, I’ll just put a base on and then play with reds and browns around my eyes to give myself a vampy hallowed outlook. When I’m on stage I delve more into the glitter and glam end of the makeup spectrum.
If you were the leader of the "free world" who would you choose to run alongside you?
Rain Dove, my roomie, and partner in crime.
We get a short time to inhabit this earth. Explore every facet of your being while you can! Do not hold back. Be yourself with reckless abandon and don’t give a f–– about when anyone has to say about it.
Tell us about an exciting and/or new work/project/thing you’re working on; how did it originate? How is it related to other work you’ve done? What is next for you? Do you have any hopes, dreams, plans you are excited about?
There is SO much going on right now and I am screaming my gratitude from the rooftops for all of the good that has been coming my way as of late. I am just coming off of a high after performing on the main stage of Pride Fest in New York! I am excited to be modeling on a campaign for Berenik, and I am working on writing new music with the help of Ben Weinman who is most well known for playing lead guitar in the Dillinger Escape Plan and now works with amazing artists like Kimbra and Dawn Richards. I also have a ton of performances in the books that I’ll be ready to announce for very soon. Watch my Instagramto see all this magic come into manifestation!