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Five minutes with Richard Symons

As the Auckland Pride Festival fast approaches, Verve sits down with makeup artist and queen of fashion, Princess Richard.


Are you looking forward to the Auckland Pride Festival this month?

Definitely! I don’t have any involvement with the festival but I do enjoy attending some of the low key events.


In 2015 you set up your own online magazine called Shuttle. As the editor, what does the magazine mean to you?

It’s about breaking away from what’s traditionally known as beautiful. It started out as a platform for my work as I was getting frustrated of doing work for people and it never getting released due it being seen as ‘weird’. I think Shuttle has become something that showcases people that don’t necessarily have a voice in mainstream media. It’s not about money as I don’t earn anything from it, it’s about giving people the space to express themselves.


You’re also a makeup artist, how did you get into that?

I studied art, photography and graphic design for a year and I hated it. So, in 2010 I studied makeup for the year and it was a great experience. I love it! It’s my favourite thing to do.


Have you always been into fashion and beauty?

Not really. I had always been the run-of-the-mill until I discovered the emo style in my teen years. It was great finding a style that liked to experiment with makeup.



Who are your fashion icons?

Alexander McQueen was a big inspiration when I first started out. Also the New York Club Kids like Sussi are very inspiring and a lot of inspiration comes from my friends. I’m also obsessed with make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench.


You’re known as Princess Richard, what’s the story behind the name?

It’s a little cheesy but in 2012 I was living in a hostel while studying photography and I was looking at people on tumblr who had fabricated themselves a sense of confidence. So, I thought why be a dumpy 22-year old when I can be a princess?


How would you describe your style?

I would have to say two-dollar shop. I’d say K-Mart is a good description of how I dress. It’s funny because even though I’m a lover of fashion I don’t actually own any fashion pieces.


What are your three makeup necessities?

Moisturiser, highlighter and eye-shadow.


What’s your definition of beauty?

I don’t think there is a definition of beauty. It is anything that you want it to be.


How often do you perform as Princess Richard?

Not very often. I’ve performed three time in total. The first time I was dressed as a nun performing ‘I will follow him’ from the film Sister Act. The second time I was Britney Spears doing a piece on celebrity break-downs. I had a variety of outfits that showcased the chronicle of her downfall. My last performance was with Drag Queens Yuri Guaii and Busty Springfield and we were covered head to toe in fake blood. That was fun!


What was the last performance you watched?

It was Priscilla Queen of the Desert, it was amazing!


Words: Lauren Sanderson
View more looks from Princess Richard here.