The Man Behind the Makeup


Photo by: John Orijel

Fresno Reel Pride LGBTQ Film Festival taking place at Tower Theatre in Fresno’s Tower District. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

“The Life of Lei: The Man Behind the Makeup” showcases the many obstacles Paul Hernandez, the man behind the makeup himself, faces in his personal life. Hernandez’s drag persona goes by the name of Leilani Price, who, in particular, has stood out with her creativity, entertainment and fun personality.

Fresno is known for the local popular drag scene with many talented drag queens in town, but not a lot of people know about the true person under the makeup.

Price supporters started waiting in line at 6 p.m. to watch the film. Fans were very pleased to spot Price outside the Tower Theatre Thursday, Sept. 19, to greet each and every individual waiting to watch the film. The audience was full of energy and excitement before the viewing began.

Going through the process of starting the film, at first it was all fun to have director, Matt Broughton, follow Price and document fun moments of Price’s journey.

“There was a scene in the film that kind of changed the entire course of what we’re shooting. I was interested in Leilani, but I wanted to know the person behind it all,” says Matt Broughton, director of “The Life of Lei.”

Moments in the film drawed topics on how Hernadez struggled with not spending time with family when he was always at a drag event. At one point in the film, one of the sisters stated that she wanted her brother back in their life, making the emotional moment for the audience.

Moments in the film, he also talks about the struggle with depression on how family relatives would be accepting with the career path on the drag entertainment, making the thought if he should stop doing drag for good.

As he continued his career as Price, he has taught others that it is okay to feel sad, to feel happy, and to love yourself in every way and form.Ondoing those actions of leadership and acceptance, it came to the realization that after Fresno Pride 2018, it was now known that Hernandez had to continue his career as Leilani Price.

“It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not fit in, because it’s our time to shine more than ever. It’s okay to be fat, fem or to be a drag queen and embrace all of these things. And that’s what I hope people take from this film,” says Price.

During the Q&A, Price and Broughton did mention that there will be possibly a part two of The Life of Lei.

The screening of “The Life of Lei: The Man Behind the Makeup” made a positive impact to the Fresno community that it has now been selected to be screened at other locations including Fresno State University, Sonoma State, and other locations here in the U.S.