Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: How to Do Drag on a Dime in Second Life!

As my regular blog readers know, I have a drag queen avatar in Second Life, named MissDrag, and I have written about doing drag in SL before (here, here, and here).

Now, in the real world, I have never (yet!) picked up a makeup brush or cinched my waist (as if!) to fit into some eleganza extravaganza ballgown and lipsync for my life, but despite this lack of real-life experience, please let a truly seasoned DIGITAL drag superstar (well, in my own French vanilla fantasy, anyway) share a few tips on how to get started in Second Life drag.

First, understand this: THERE ARE NO RULES IN DRAG. RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN. DRAG WAS AND STILL CAN BE A TRANSGRESSIVE ART FORM. So feel free to break some rules about what a drag queen (or drag king!) should look like.

I mean, in the recently-concluded Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, one of the finalists dressed up as a piñata who occasionally farted out confetti!

Drag queen Crystal Methyd, dressed as a piñata 

Given the virtually endless avatar customization options in Second Life, your drag can be anybody (and anything) you like! Start with a male body, start with a female body, start with something in-between, or start with something completely different: a mermaid, a centaur, or a technicolor whirlwind of animated pixels! Whatever you can dream up, you can create for your own unique, signature look!

I mean, if you stop to think about it, everybody in Second Life is already doing drag. It’s actually a lot harder to recreate your actual, real-life look than it is to start from scratch with a blank canvas! (Although if that’s your scene, more power to you, boo. It’s your Second Life; make it what you want!)

Well, I woke up one morning
Flossed my teeth and decided
“Damn, I’m fierce!” You look good!
You can be just like me! A goddess? Yeah!
Don’t just pussy foot around and sit on your assets
Unleash your ferocity upon an unsuspecting world
Rise up and repeat after me: “I’m beautiful!”

I’m Beautiful, by Bette Midler

In real life, I am a 56-year-old, gay, divorced academic librarian who spends waaay too much time on the Internet, and is significantly overweight, asthmatic, and sometimes struggles with clinical depression, but in Second Life, I am Vanity Fair, the absolutely fabulous former supermodel 😉

I mean, if this is not drag, then what is? I just choose to unleash my ferocity upon an unsuspecting virtual world instead of the real world!

My main avatar Vanity Fair: Everybody in Second Life is doing some form of (digital) drag. (This delightful Lou belted minidress is a free gift from Asteria, by the way!)

Now that we have firmly established that there are no rules, there are, however, a few general tips and guidelines. First: BIG HAIR, mawma! (Although many well-known real-world drag queens like are rocking the bald look, too!).

The higher the hair, the closer to God.

—Dolly Parton

If Dolly speaks the truth, then this next hairstyle is truly divine! This is the Hunny wig from Zsa Zsa’s House of Beauty, home of the finest drag queen wigs on the grid.

It comes the fabulous wig wall at Zsa Zsa’s Haus of Beauty (exact SLURL, open your map and follow the red arrow from your initial spawn point on the Tableau sim):

Here’s the full look, from head to toe:

Another guideline which can be observed or discarded as you see fit: accessories are all-important.

Purse first!

—Bob the Drag Queen

This wonderful purse is the Love Loca handbag from Vive Nine/Ryvolter (here’s the exact SLURL):

This purse comes in various versions with different Bento poses, hanging from your shoulder, elbow, hand or even just one finger!

This avatar is wearing:

  • Mesh Head: Freya by Catwa (free group gift, no longer available for free; more details here)
  • Mesh Body and Nail Polish: Romeo by Altamura (this was a free group gift for Valentine’s Day 2019; the Altamura group costs L$100 to join, but I had joined back when it only cost L$50)
  • Hair: Hunny wig by Zsa Zsa’s House of Beauty (L$235)
  • Eye Shadow: Pride Galaxy eye shadow by Dotty’s Secret (free group gift; group costs L$75 to join, but I took advantage of a free group join period in the past)
  • Lipstick: the high-definition lipstick is included in the Catwa Freya package
  • Dress: this green Liam dress was a freebie from the SL Marketplace! It comes in just the Signature Gianni size, but I was able to make it fit the Altamura body using the alpha sections on the HUD.
  • Purse: the Loca Love handbag in black from Vive Nine/Ryvolter (L$249 per colour)
  • Shoes: I picked up these female sandals and tintable feet by Ydea (which completely replace the masculine feet of the Romeo mesh avatar!) from The Free Dove, but they are no longer available there, and unfortunately, I cannot find them anywhere else in-world or on the SL Marketplace. No matter. I’m sure you can get similarly creative for your own drag look!

TOTAL COST FOR THIS DRAG LOOK: Only L$534! (L$50 to join the Altamura group, L$235 for the wig, and L$249 for the handbag)

Now we turn from day wear to evening wear! Check out this sickening lewk!

This avatar is again wearing the Freya mesh head by Catwa (which includes the lipstick you see here) and the Romeo mesh body by Altamura, plus:

  • Hair: Eleganza wig from Zsa Zsa’s House of Beauty (L$180)
  • Eyeshadow and Eyebrows: Vanilla makeup set by Dotty’s Secret (L$200)
  • Choker: the Nefert golden choker was a free gift from Poison Rouge at the recently-concluded 5th anniversary round of the Très Chic shopping event
  • Dress: This gown is my own unique creation! I bought the full-permissions Men’s Long Sleeve Skirt Dress from White Canvas Templates from the SL Marketplace for L$200, and textured it myself using a red bandana pattern I already had in my inventory, adjusting the tiling (i.e. how often the texture repeats) to get this look.
  • Purse: the Loca Love handbag in red by Vive Nine/Ryvolter (L$249 per colour)
  • Shoes: The same Ydea sandals and shoes as above (no longer available)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS DRAG LOOK: Only L$879! (L$50 to join the Altamura group for the Romeo body, L$200 for the Vanilla makeup, L$180 for the wig, L$200 for the full-perms gown, and L$249 for the purse)

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and put together your own drag on a dime! And feel free to send Auntie Ryan pictures of your eleganza extravaganza!

And don’t forget to hit the SL Pride Festival to pick up some free gifts to help you create that signature look; the festival closes today! Here is more information on the Pride Festival.

Another Fifteen-Minute Second Life Avatar Makeover: A Complete Head-to-Toe Bollywood Beauty Makeover for Only L$150!

You probably already know that my passionate hobby is to create a complete head-to-toe Second Life avatar look from scratch, while spending as few Linden dollars as possible! (You can find all my previous, patented 15-minute SL avatar makeovers tagged here on my blog, including this latest post).

I have had an alt that I have styled as a Bollywood actress for many years now. She used to pick up all the saris at hunts such as the semi-annual ones held by FallnAngel Creations (remember them?), a store which has long since left the grid but continues on in the SL Marketplace. I hit every single hunt, and picked a collection of gorgeous system-layers-and-flexiprims saris which I wore on my classic, system avatar.

Here’s the Before picture of what she used to looked like:

And here are the After pictures. I think you’ll agree that this is a definite upgrade!

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head and Eyes: the Freya head by Catwa (a free group gift; the group is free to join, but if you haven’t picked it up yet, you’d better hurry, because this gift is only available until May 24th, 2020! More information and locations to pick up this fabulous freebie are here. The mesh eyes are included in the Freya package.)

Mesh Body and Nails: Juliet by Altamura (this was a limited-time group gift from Valentine’s Day 2019, which I turn to again and again on this blog; at the time I joined the Altamura group it was only L$50, but it now costs L$100 to join their group; this Juliet body is now for sale in-store only at the full price). In order to use the Essences skin below, I needed to buy and install the Omega system kit for Altamura (available for L$99 at this exact SLURL).

Skin Applier: The Sibyl skin applier for Catwa heads from Essences (free group gift; group is free to join; more information is available here). At the back of the Essences store, you can pick up a set of Omega body skin appliers in all eight skin tones for only L$1! (This avatar is wearing the darkest skin tone, E8.)

Hair: What you see here is a combination of a black hairbase from Catwa’s Master HUD, paired with the Pulled Back Bun hair that is already in your Second Life inventory! Just open your inventory, and scroll down to the very bottom of your inventory window to find the Library folder. It’s in Library / Accessories / Hair Design Options / Pulled Back Bun folder. It’s free, completely adjustable, tintable, and uncomplicated, and it fits well under hats and hoods, too!

Sari: This lovely sari is a free gift from the Habibi sim (just join the Habibi group for free, and click on the sign at the spawn point of this Middle Eastern themed sim).

Shoes: red flats by Garbaggio (part of a free sample pack of Slink-compatible shoes from Garbaggio, available on the SL Marketplace; Altamura mesh bodies have Slink-compatible feet)

Animation Override: Those of you who have been following the fifteen-minute SL avatar makeovers on my blog already know that my favourite freebie AO was one that was put out by a store called [ImpEle], called Chubby Girl AO. That store closed down years and years ago, but until recently this AO was still available to purchase for free from the SL Marketplace. All you had to do was add a separate hands-only AO for Bento hands (which were thoughtfully included for free with the various freebie versions of the Altamura mesh bodies) and you were all set to go! Unfortunately, this item has now been removed from the SL Marketplace, but I have provided step-by-step instructions on how to assemble your own Bento AO for only L$2!

In fact, the only thing that the Before and After avatars have in common are the earrings! These glorious Arpita earrings are by Mashooka Designs, a wonderful Indian clothing and accessories store which left the grid a long time ago, but continues on in the SL Marketplace (unfortunately, these earrings are no longer available).

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR LOOK: Only L$150! (It cost me L$50 at the time to join the Altamura group to get the Juliet mesh body group gift, L$99 for the Omega system kit for that body, and I paid L$1 for the Omega body skin appliers from Essences to match the Sybil Catwa head skin.)

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Pale Beauty

I am in a resolutely foul and cranky mood this evening, for two reasons.

First, I realize that I have spent EIGHTY CANADIAN DOLLARS to change the name of one of my Second Life avatars, which, even for someone who loves SL as much as I do, is an filthy, obscene amount of money; and…

Second, I am still struggling with bouts of anxiety, depression and anger at having to self-isolate in my apartment because of the coronavirus pandemic. I started working from home March 16th, 2020, and I feel as if I am slowly starting to fall apart at the seams, and it hasn’t even been ONE FULL MONTH YET. And today Helen Branswell reports for STAT:

A modeling study on the new coronavirus  warns that intermittent periods of social distancing may need to persist into 2022 in the United States to keep the surge of people severely sickened by Covid-19 from overwhelming the health care system.

The research, published Tuesday in the journal Science, looked at a range of scenarios for how the SARS-CoV-2 virus will spread over the next five years. Those scenarios included variables like whether people who are infected develop short-term immunity — less than a year — or longer-term protection. But, overall, the research concludes it is unlikely that life will return any time soon to the way it was before the virus’ emergence.

2022? 2022?!??

And, just to add insult to injury, I have developed an ugly, painful reddish-brown rash on the backs of my thighs from spending 16-to-18 hour days perched in front of my personal computer, sitting on one of my wooden kitchen chairs, and it has has just made me even more cranky, upset and ill-tempered. (I plan to drive out to my office in the science library tomorrow, to pick up my lushly upholstered and much-missed executive office chair, praying to God that I can fit it into the back of my subcompact car, so I can bring it home.)

As a virtual hermit who largely lives his life on the internet, all of a sudden I can no longer sit for long periods in front of my computer! (So much for my admittedly unhealthy coping mechanism.) In between sessions on my PC, I lie on the sofa, with my legs propped up, rubbing a corticosteroid cream originally prescribed for my eczema on my thighs, seething.

So, no, I am NOT a happy camper today. I am not a happy camper at all.

However, I still take some small amount of pleasure from my weird little hobby of designing a complete Second Life avatar look from head to toe. So tonight, I have plunked down an avatar at the side of the (New) Frank’s Jazz Club, listening to the music stream as I lie on the sofa:

Here’s a few more shots of my avatar from the front:

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: The Limited Edition Bento head from Akeruka (L$1 group gift; the Akeruka group costs L$150 to join, and I would strongly urge you to pick up this Bakes on Mesh head before it’s gone, which comes in eight different skin tones and with matching skin appliers for Maitreya, Belleza, Slink, and Omega-compatible mesh bodies included). The beautiful mesh eyes are also included in the package.

Mesh Body: Juliet by Altamura (a limited-time group gift from Valentine’s Day 2019, which I turn to again and again on this blog; at the time I joined the Altamura group it was only L$50, but it now costs L$100 to join their group; this Juliet body is now for sale at the full price). In order to use the Serenity II skin below, I needed to buy and install the Omega system kit for Altamura (available for L$99 at this exact SLURL), as well as use the free Bakes on Mesh relay available at the Altamura store.

Skin: This beautiful pale Serenity II skin with blonde eyebrows is a Bakes on Mesh skin by Alaskametro (available for free from The Free Dove freebie store). This was my inspiration to get creative tonight!

Hair: This elegant updo is called NO.KEY and is by NO.MATCH (it was a freebie during a short period of time last year when the store was giving away a free gift each day).

Dress: This truly lovely retro Celebrate Spring! dress in opal is by steampunk/historical roleplay outfitter Cog & Fleur, and it was a free hunt prize in their recently-concluded Good Eggs hunt.

Shoes: Jai pumps by Rowne (free group gift; unfortunately, the Rowne store seems to have disappeared from the grid).

Necklace: This is an oldie but a goodie: the Glazed Heart necklace from Eolande’s (remember them? they have long since closed up shop).

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: L$300 (L$151 total for the Akeruka head, L$50 to join the Altamura group to get the Juliet body, and L$99 for the Altamura Omega system kit)

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Limited Akeruka Bakes on Mesh Bento Mesh Head

Akeruka posted the following message to their group, called [AK] Heads News & Support:

Hi ladies, since we all are in this incredible hard time because of coronavirus, we thought about giving to you all ladies a bit of happiness doing this amazing GROUP GIFT; [it] is a LIMITED head, this head will NEVER be sold after it.

We don’t know until how much time it will be as gift, we will just wait [for] the things to get better in our life.

Guys, I know you want a gift as well but we are still working on [a] beta male Advanced head. Soon more news for you guys!!!

If you are not already a member of the [AK] Heads News & Support group, it will cost you L$150 to join it. Then visit the Akeruka store (here’s the SLURL) and click on either the big poster up top, or the three smaller ones underneath it. Pay the vendor L$1, and you will receive the Akeruka Limited head package.

As you can imagine, the store is quite busy, and it might take you a little while to be able to teleport in. In a second message to the group, the owner of Akeruka added:

Ladies, the gift will stay DAYS so [you] don’t need to rush, and do not click multiple times on vendor, it will not make difference, [the] vendor is processing all deliveries, so [you] need to be patient!!

So, if you can’t get into the packed sim, use a tool like the handy free Teleport Hammer, or be patient and wait a few days. But please, don’t wait forever!

Also, and this is a very important point: Limited is the name of the head, but this does NOT mean this is a head with limited features. This head is Bento and fully-adjustable. The package comes with many extras and nice additions.

Instead, Limited only refers to the fact that this is a limited-time offer, and after it is over, this head will no longer be available for purchase, unlike the past group gifts of Akeruka Bento heads, which would then be placed for sale at the regular price. Once this head is gone, it’s gone.

One more very important thing about the Limited head is that it is 100% Bales on Mesh. There are no skin appliers for this head, unlike previous group gifts; there’s just a folder of system skins in eight skin tones (in versions with and without eyebrows), and a folder of tintable eyebrow, blush, and hair base tattoos.

The Akeruka skin tones have quite a range. Here is the darkest skin tone of the eight (the eyes are mesh, they are included in the package and their colour can be changed on the HUD):

And here is the lightest, which would work well for goth girls and vampires! The alien version of the eyes is also included as an option in the Limited head HUD. Included in the Limited head package is a separate teeth HUD, which gives you the options of monster or vampire teeth—a nice touch, and something to keep in mind if you do vampire roleplay in Second Life.

I must confess that I spent a quarter of an hour tearing my hear out, trying to pull a look together using this new Limited head! No matter what I did, the Limited head remained a stubborn red colour. I was obviously doing something wrong, but what?

You see, I had paired it with the Altamura Juliet mesh body I had picked up as a group gift on Valentine’s Day in 2019, adding the Altamura Omega system kit (available for L$99 at this exact SLURL) to it, so that I could apply matching body skin. (The Limited head package contains a separate box to unpack, which contains body skin appliers in all eight Akeruka skin tones for Maitreya, Belleza, Slink, and Omega-compatible mesh bodies, so you should be all set to go without having to purchase anything else, something I have always liked about the Akeruka group gifts. Other stores sometimes offer a free head, but then you have to shell out for matching body skin.)

What I did wrong was, without thinking, I automatically added the default body-and-head alpha from the Altamura Juliet package like I usually do in setting up a new head and body from scratch, completely forgetting that you need to remove all alphas for Bakes on Mesh to work! Once I took off the Altamura body-and-head alpha, and put on a body-only alpha which was part of a freebie version of the eBody Curvy mesh body which I had in my inventory, I was then able to see the skin properly on the Limited head. It just took me a while to figure out.

So, let’s take a look at our finished avatar!

This avatar is wearing:

  • Mesh Head: Limited head (L$1 group gift from Akeruka; it costs L$150 to join their group)
  • Mesh Body: Juliet by Altamura (a limited-time group gift from Valentine’s Day 2019; at the time I joined the Altamura group it was only L$50, but it now costs L$100 to join their group; this Juliet body is now for sale at the full price)
  • Head and Body Skin: Akeruka skin tone 4 (part of the Limited head package; I bought an Omega System kit for Altamura for L$99 and used the matching Omega body skin applier that was also part of the Limited head package)
  • Hair: Iris by D!va (free group gift located on the other side of the wall behind the front counter; the group is free to join)
  • Dress: Kattie by Arcane Spellcaster (purchased using a free group gift card last year; at that time the group was free to join)
  • Shoes: Sonnet pumps by Hilly Haalan (free group gift; group is free to join)
  • Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (unfortunately, this free product is no longer on the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. The Limited head includes a complete facial animation HUD in the package. The Altamura Juliet mesh body comes with natural Bento hand animations built in.

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: L$300 (L$151 for the Akeruka head, L$50 for the Altamura group fee at the time I joined it, and L$99 for the Altamura Omega system kit)