John Waters Would Like To Introduce You To His Idols

Maybelline's Velvet Black Eyeline.

This is the only thing I wrote down in my notes while I was reading John Water's new book, Role Models. It's the color he uses to pencil in his famous skinny mustache and one of the many interesting tidbits about his life I picked up in the book. The reason I didn't jot down anything else was that I was laughing too hard.

Not that Waters's person was supposed to be the focus at all. It's exactly what you'd think a book called Role Models would be: a collection of oddballs worthy of the guy who brought cult icons like Divine into the mainstream. Lesbian strippers, Manson groupies, fashion designers pushing the boundaries of "taste," and even Little Richard and Johnny Mathis all have inspired the man behind Pink Flamingos and Hairspray. Waters is just charming enough to convince you that convicted felons make great friends (he devotes a lengthy chapter to former Manson cultist Leslie van Houten), and that clothes that fit properly are overrated (his favorite designer is Comme des Garcons' Rei Kawakubo, known for her asymmetrical and deconstructed designs). To no one's shock, there's a ton of kitsch value here, but it's John Waters for crying out loud. Would you expect any less?


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