HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Robert Malkowski is the man behind Queen Mary, an old-school cabaret drag entertainer that has been dazzling audiences all across Virginia and North Carolina since 2015.
Her motto is, "Look fabulous, not fearful."
"We are here in the inner workings of the palace of Queen Mary," said Malkowski, who is from Moyock. "Queen Mary is the wizard of her own little Oz, and I am the man behind the curtain."
But with no audience, the queen's wig has come off and Malkowski has gotten comfy with his sewing machine.
"I have an insatiable need to be creative," he said.
Queen Mary's colorful costumes are now being used to create coronavirus couture.
"Some things are beaded, some are dresses I hadn't completed, so I cut those apart, started making things," said Malkowski.
They're not called masks, but "Surviving Fabulous Face Shields."
"No two of them are alike," said Malkowski.
Each mask is custom created, full of bedazzled designs, lace overlays, sequins, jewels and ribbons.
"It is taking away some of the fear about what's going on and looking good while doing it," said Malkowski.
So far, 400 masks have been made and shipped all over the U.S.
"Chef Graham Elliot has one, some of the men from Queer as Folk, The Housewives of New Jersey and comedian and actor Bruce Vilanch," he said. "I love being able to help others and the community."
Right now the majority of the sales from the masks are going to help the LGBT Life Center, but soon Malkowski will create masks that will benefit NENC Pride and breast cancer and diabetes initiatives.
"It's a great feeling to do something, and you can look fabulous and be safe at the same time," he said.
To order your Fabulous Face Shield, click here. Orders can also be placed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.