WIGS BY EXODUS// FORMER DRAG QUEEN CREATES CUSTOM WIGS

George Berry knows an amazing wig. He’s spent four years wearing them.

A wig isn’t just a fortified tuff of hair. It’s a key aesthetic to visual storytelling. As with make-up or costuming, the wig breathes life into a character, film or theatrical production. Most importantly, it eliminates the hassle of excessive styling and hair product.

“The great thing about a [synthetic] wig is that they hold their style with proper care,” Berry said in a phone interview. “And, when put on [ it can] change an entire look, regardless of your natural hair”

The 24-year-old is the brilliant mind behind Wigs by Exodus, an up-and-coming wig boutique with a penchant for stylish, bouffant up-dos. The brand’s name pays homage to his past life as a female impersonator. It was during his tenure at the University of Alabama, that Berry sashayed across the small stage of Icon, Tuscaloosa’s only gay bar, as Exodus.

The nightlife gig combined his love of dance with the “glitz” and glamour of live performance. With every lip synch and costume, there was a new wig. And, for the most part, they weren’t that good.

“While I did drag, I just kind of wore off-the-rack-wigs and I always felt like the hairlines were bad and I couldn’t really find what I wanted without spending a fortune,” Berry said. “I felt like I wanted a fortune-quality[wig], but I couldn’t find anybody to even make it for me, or had time to make it. So, I felt like there was a great market for someone who could make those wigs and more people needed to be styling them.”

So, he did just that.

Launched in 2016, Wigs by Exodus is an all-inclusive line that caters to anyone looking to add a little flair to their hair.  Per their social media account,it’s the “The Hair That Moves You!” The business, now in its second year, has created quality wigs for school productions, magazines, and, of course, fellow drag queens.

The small business boasts a strong clientele from RuPaul’s Drag Race, including Trinity K. Bonet, Dusty Ray Bottoms, Trinity “The Tuck” Taylor, Alaska and season 10 standout Aquaria. Even with a star-studded roster in his arsenal, the dancer-turned-entrepreneur hopes to get his pieces on the heads of future competing queens.

Since graduation, Berry has turned in his heels for ballet slippers. Formally trained in dance, the UA alumnus has starred in productions of Don Quixote, Frozen, Peter Pan and the Nutcracker. His most recent feat, a coveted residency with the Roxey Ballet company in New Jersey. By day, he would pirouette. By night, he would create wigs.

The magic happens in “wig land”, a clever nickname for his 9 clear plastic bins, encased with un-styled wigs, brushes, hairsprays and various styling tools that have traveled with him through his treks to Georgia, New Jersey and, most recently, back to Alabama. From start to finish, the average wig can take a minimum of five hours. Depending on his schedule, Berry can work on up to two pieces at a time.

“Basically, I customize wigs. I start with some sort of base wig and I add to it,” Berry explained. “I’m going to add hair to it. I’m going to adjust it and then I get ready to start styling. I like to call it frankensteining, especially for drag wigs when you want to something big. You may not find what you want in one wig, so then you’re gonna start taking pieces of other wigs and putting it all together to make that finished look.”

Though Berry’s departure from drag isn’t permanent, the experience molded him to the person that he is today.  Nevertheless, the young entrepreneur said he is using this time focus on different endeavors.

Moving forward, the young entrepreneur hopes to release a line of ready-to wear wigs. With his recent relocation back to the Druid City, Berry said he wants to get involved with the community, working on local productions and partnering with charitable organizations.

“Through drag, I learned a lot about myself and I enjoyed being that person and being someone different, but I also enjoyed being me,” Berry said. “I’m kind of going through a phase in my life where I want to be me a little more, but I will definitely miss going back to the glitz and the glam… And the big wigs.”

Berry laughed, adding “That’s why I like to put them on all the time or see how they look on my head, so I will see how’ll it’ll look on someone else’s head. It’s always something in my brain. It helps me be a better drag stylist, because I know what I would want to look like. I think that it’s great for drag queens. Because we all want to look different. We don’t want to look like we do in the day. We want to look like this crazy wonderful person.”

To learn more about Wigs by Exodus, you can visit their Instagram page @WigsByExodus or FaceBook.

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