20180131_145231-ANIMATIONThe lighting in my bathroom is sooooo good! What more could a glamour-puss ask for before she leaves the house than the perfect light to do a last minute spot check of the paint job. My bathroom vanity is flanked by two ornately framed mirrors hung perpendicular to one another so that I can see every angle. Look up, look down, look left, look right; check the straight on and the profile; make a kissy face, make duck face, make a silly face, smile. Then, the only thing left to do is take the unashamed and totally self-approved bathroom selfie.

I don’t actually put on my makeup in this mirror. For that, I use my trusty, two-sided magnifying mirror. I sit at the kitchen table with all of my tools spread out for easy access. There is a lamp with a 65 watt, full spectrum flood light focused on the center of my face and a 65 watt, full spectrum light overhead. I pick up the mirror from time to time and swivel around in my chair to see the effect I’m creating from all of the many different angles (making all of the many different faces, of course).

Finding good light when I want to take a picture is really important. I’ve taken many, many terrible pictures in bars, performance spaces, dressing rooms and hallways with lighting conditions from blackout to washout. Over head fluorescent lighting is the absolute worst. They seem to completely erase all of the work I did to create dynamic contrast and blend my face into a totally unnatural shade of blech (no, that’s not a spelling error, I meant BLECH). I would much rather turn out the lights and take the photo in the dark with my phone flash, at least it’ll be dramatic. Public bathrooms at venues tend to have this scenario and finding a good selfie spot can be challenging. In this situation, I try to put the phone up as high as I can in front of my face to soften the blow from those harsh, contour killers.

Light that comes from directly in front of me seems to work the best. And, if there is a dimmer control all-the-better! I also really enjoy the effect of early morning outdoor, natural light. When I am in very dimly lit spaces, I try to find any light source (like the nearest window or the glow of an exit sign) where I can put myself in front of its beam  and snap the pic from there, no matter what strange position it requires me to get into (’cause it probably will). And while profile pics always seem like a good idea, they are not always the most flattering to my drag makeup.

There are for sure times when I have no choice but to take the less than perfectly lit snapshot, and that’s when I have to decided either to shrug it off as “capturing a moment” or not take the picture at all. Staging myself for what seems like a simple selfie sometimes makes me feel a tiny bit vain, but I didn’t spend all that time at my kitchen table for nothing, dammit.   🙂   It’s definitely worth it in the end.



Cookie Diorio is a Philadelphia-based drag performer, a classically trained vocalist, a songwriter, an activist, a husband, mama to the cutest little Yorkshire Terrier ever, a music teacher and lover of all things sparkly. She mastered walking in 5 inch stilettos in the night clubs of Boston, achieved her hair fantasy by studying vintage videos of Grace Bumbry and founded the giving project Art of the Heel.

Cookie grew up in historic Auburn, NY with gospel in her ears, civil rights in her blood and many songs in her heart. She trained at Ithaca College in the voice studio of Angus Godwin and learned the many different skills of western classical music from master teachers such as Carol McAmis in vocal pedagogy, Lawrence Doebler in choral arts, Dana Wilson in composition and Patrick Hansen in opera coaching. While Cookie has been in and out of the drag scene since 2002, she began performing regularly in the Philadelphia area as host of the Art Song Repertory Theater Company’s salon series “Saturday Afternoon Drinking Songs” in 2013. Since, she has produced the shows Fire In My Bones: A Gospel Jubilee, Beauty From Our Sorrows, Telling Herstories, Forces of Nature, Music: The Food of Love and I, Too, Sing America. She has also been soloist for events, galas, concerts and on the cabaret stage.


Cookie10Final           Cookie9Final
photo credit: Pink Melon Media                                                                                    photo credit: Pink Melon Media

Cookie Diorio Headshot 2
photo credit: Cookie Diorio   

Cookie Diorio Headshot 2
Photo Credit: Cookie Diorio

Cookie Diorio Headshot 5a
photo credit: Cookie Diorio
photo credit: Pink Melon Media



Call it cabaret for a cause or philanthropic frivolity, drag songstress Cookie Diorio uses her 6.5 inch platforms to celebrate diversity, promote social justice and create civically-engaged art by hosting a world class series of music showcases to benefit non-profit organizations making a difference in our communities.

art of the heel cover photo biting black airbrush



Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 @5pm

AIDS Law Project’s 30th Anniversary Kick-Off
with Sonja Bontrager, piano

Fergie’s Pub
1214 Sansom Street, Philadelphia
(Free Admission / Cash Bar)

Sunday, February 25th, 2018 @4pm

I, Too, Sing America
Art of the Heel
with Matt Brower (piano), Veronica Chapman-Smith and Shahara Benson

Unitarian Society of Germantown
6511 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia