HBO’s ‘We’re Here’ Jeremy Austin aka 6 is here

(Jeremy Austin)

Magnificent Makeup Artist and Drag Queen, Jeremy Austin aka 6, shares their story on how a 17-year-old teen from Columbus, Ohio overcame homelessness and drug addition to becoming an incredible drag performer and Head Makeup Artist on HBO’s award-winning reality series We’re Here.

We’re Here elevates Queer voices, touring around the U.S. where three Drag Queens – Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley – inspire and teach their own “drag daughters” to step outside of their comfort zone for a night of no-holds-barred, full-on drag.

The show just took home the GLAAD award for Outstanding Reality Program, and is in pre-production for Season 2 of the hit series.

Jeremy Austin aka 6 is a popular drag performer, makeup artist and hair stylist who has lived in Los Angeles for eleven years. 6 is known best for breathtaking visuals, captivating performance style, and unique perspective. 

The bold biker-chick aesthetic has earned the attention of Sam Smith and the band Erasure, both having tapped them for appearances in their music videos Promises and Nerves of Steel respectively. In addition to partnering with @Yandy, 6 is the gorgeous face of Cammy Nguyen Lashes as well as a face for Nails By Glamazon.

We had a chance to sit down with 6 and learn more about them.

Tell me about how you started out as an artist/creative? 

I started as a teenage runaway. I met a group of drag queens when I was really young who introduced me to the world of drag, and I started playing and make up and hair.

I was 17, about to turn 18, and there was a MAC Cosmetics at the mall in Michigan. I went in there asking for a job or wondering when they would be able to hire me, what the age range was, and they were always like “You have to be 18 or older, and have to be out of High School.” And I was out of school for years, but I had to wait until I was 18.

Shortly after, I went in there to get Carbon eye shadow, it had just come out, and I heard that it was like the blackest eye shadow that you could find in the market and of course doing drag make up I wanted the blackest color.

I asked the guy behind the counter, and he said “You got to be careful, that’s such a really intense product.” I was like, ” I could show you a couple of things to do.”

He was like “Oh really, well then show me.” and I did a make up application right there on one of the employee’s and he hired me on the spot. As it turns out, the guy was famous makeup artist, Gordon Espinage.

What was the moment for you, when you first started doing make up that you knew that you wanted to continue to do it and pushed you to get into drag?

The drag thing happened first. I was doing drag makeup for a living doing drag before I started doing makeup for drag. It was different back then, drag was just something that you did on the weekends, it was like a Friday Saturday kind of a deal. It wasn’t like you know, a full legit career.

You weren’t gonna be able to make a career out of this and if you did make a career out of it, you weren’t going to necessarily live well. Only certain people made it. They were either the people that booked the shows or they were the headliners at the bar.

You basically had to pick a bar, decide that you wanted to live and die there, and that place would take care of you as their Queen.

Before drag started to evolve, the Queer Community just was not very accepting of drag queens. I was at that age in my life where I was going from being a teenager to being a young adult, and I wanted to be loved by a one person versus being adored by multitudes of fans.

Looking for a gay partner just wasn’t an option for me then, because I did drag so I decided to quit doing drag and just focus on finding a boyfriend thing. As you know, life has its way of you dealing with what you either wanna deal with or don’t want to deal with, but you’re gonna have to face it eventually. Truly and honestly, it wasn’t until three years ago that I picked up makeup and put it on myself again after not doing it for 20 years. 

What motivated you to get back into the drag world?

I was on the street, I was homeless and recovering from drug addiction. I had relapsed for my second time. I had gotten a year and a couple of months sober, and I relapsed hard-core. It sent me into this tailspin of paranoia, and you know… fear, anxiety, and regret.

I didn’t make a decision to get sober again for another couple of months, but I asked my higher power, I just connected with the internal instinctive portion of myself and I said “What is it gonna take? What is it gonna take for me to get sober and stay sober. What are the things that I want in my life?”

The things that I wanted most was to make a difference. I wanted to find somebody to love, the way that you love in movies, I want to find that romance. I really wanted to find someone who would see me as the creative and the artist that I am, and allow me to do that and be able to differentiate between me and that character.

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I also said what am I gonna do? Am I gonna go back working in the bar as a man and start doing make up again. This is before I even had another makeup brush. I didn’t have any make up, no make up, no wigs, nothing. My internal spiritual told me to start doing drag again, I had to get makeup and hair and wigs and costumes and clothing. I was gonna learn songs and was going to re-invite myself as “6.”  

I didn’t want to do drag the way that it had been shown to me before. I wanted to be be able to create it for myself, because I wasn’t doing it to become famous. I wasn’t doing it to become ‘well-known’ or ‘well liked’ I was just doing it because I knew it would make me money and I knew it would give me an opportunity to enter myself back into the gay community and re-introduce myself to my people.

How did you become one of the head makeup artists on HBO’s We’re Here?

My dear friend, she’s one of my closest friends now if not my best friend, Eureka.

She knew what my talent was, she saw me doing drag on my own and was like “You are really talented at make up.” She saw that I was able to take anything and make it look beautiful and I think that’s where my gift is. I’m able to take anything and anyone regardless of your face shape, gender or how you identify.

I feel like I’m able to take the features that you have and really bring out the true beauty that you have. That was something that Eureka saw from the beginning and was like I need this person on my team and I’m so grateful that she did.

How did you navigate being able to reconnect with the group of Drag Queens on the show?

I think that’s the thing, I was so deeply rooted in the drag community at such a young age, I knew drag queens. I’ve walked in the presence of and performed on stage with some of the greatest drag queens have ever lived. and I did that all before I actually started doing drag this time.

I think there’s a lineage and a history there that I have with drag that I have been able to be a part of it and be on the inside of it looking out back when nobody was doing, when it was very underground. It wasn’t lucrative, and so I have a huge dynamic history with drag and drag culture.

I was hustling and busting my ass at these bars making $25-$50 a night. Getting in full drag, spending hours getting a new make up look, planning new outfits. The whole time I was doing it, I was hopping from couch to couch trying to live.

Photography by Shaun Vadella

What is your advice to those from smaller towns like yourself who are looking for that outlet that ‘We’re Here’ brings to learn how to be comfortable being themselves?

Drag is literally the clothing that you wear, it’s the make up you put on, it’s the way you do your hair, it’s the way you walk and the way you talk. Those are all things that you can change if you want to.

The great thing about We’re Here is all the hosts of the show, Shangela, Eureka and Bob The Drag Queen are just so incredibly versed in adversity. The world has shown them to be of adversity and each one of them is specifically educated on what it’s like to be a oppressed human being. Whether it be within their own community or within just social aspects of the world.

The one thing that is really eye-opening about the show and traveling from different cities in different states is that a lot of people get primarily stuck in their version of who they see themselves to be, and what they know themselves to be.

The blessing with the show is that we literally force people to come out of their comfort zone’s and see something completely different in themselves. So, that they might be able to connect with something a little deeper on the inside.

What can people expect from Season 2 of We’re Here?

I feel like season one we were just trying to figure out the format, what was gonna happen, and how was everything was going to be received.

Now I feel like the producers Johnny and Steven are really amazing about knowing exactly what it is that they want and I think that the team of girls like Eureka, Angela and Bob know exactly who they are as queens and there’s really no like differentiating anymore.

If you could go back to the first time you decided to do drag, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?

Don’t do drugs. Don’t do drugs–actually I can’t say don’t do drugs. My journey with addiction really brought me to the place that I am now. I’m proud of who I am now.

Looking back if I could look at myself back then and tell myself a piece of information that would give me a little bit more comfort, it would be to stop caring what other people think about you. The right people will show up into your space and you’re going to be okay no matter what. You will always be okay.

Stay up to date by following Jeremy Austin aka 6 at, and Instagram: @callher6, TikTok: @callher6

Jessica Velle reports on entertainment, politics, social media and stories relevant to the Latinx community. She can be reached at