In Fuse’s Shine True, which just concluded its first season earlier this month, the self-described “artist, model, and fashion photographer” Richie Shazam partners with “musician and life and relationship coach” Lucas Silveira to give makeovers (of the fashion and emotional kind) to eight different individuals across the U.S. and Canada. But Shine True isn’t your everyday makeover show — which, between the likes of Netflix’s rebooted Queer Eye and HBO’s recent We’re Here, are in plentiful supply. 

Shazam identifies as non-binary while Silveira is a proud trans man, and the majority of their mentees similarly identify as non-binary or somewhere along the gender-nonconforming spectrum. Where the typical “makeover show” formula may feel almost rote at this point, Shine True stands out less as a series preoccupied with “making people over” for the sake of it and more with doing so as a testament to the power of being openly, proudly, and visibly queer.

For Shazam, this element of the series was intentional. At a recent talkback for a screening of the finale episode, held in partnership with them. at Creator House in The Space at Flatiron by WeWork, the artist explained that it was always important for them to be able to work with members of the LGBTQ+ community — and more specifically, with those members who are interested, but reluctant, in exploring styles that fall outside traditional binary gender lines.

At the top of every episode, Shazam talks about the way they understand, firsthand, how complicated it can be to grow up outside the binary. “Growing up gender-nonconforming doesn’t come without confusion, especially when it comes to your external presentation,” they say. Though Shazam grew up in New York, where LGBTQ+ acceptance has long been leagues ahead of smaller cities, the multi-hyphenate still had a hard time feeling comfortable with their own gender presentation for a while, primarily because of the response it elicited from family members. Long before Shazam had the confidence they’re now known for, they, too, had to go through their own growing pains, figuring out how best to get over their personal fear and shame.

Richie Shazam (L) and them. contributing editor Michael Cuby talk Shine True at the Creator House in New York.2020 Serichai Traipoom

It’s partially why hearing about these same feelings from other people tended to weigh so heavily on the host while filming. In the finale, while shopping for “big, flamboyant, drag-inspired” clothes at a Chicago vintage store, young mentee LaDon expressed reservations about the shopping venture, explaining that shopping for clothes in the women’s section was “triggering all [his] anxieties.” In response, Shazam consoles and reassures him by opening up about the anxieties they also had to get over eventually. “I felt that there was no support that allowed me to [express myself the way I wanted to],” Shazam tells him. “And I want you to know that I’m here to support you and cushion you and make you feel really comfortable.”



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