'RuPaul's Drag Race' star fulfills terminal cancer patient's makeover wish

Dean Eastmond was able to check one thing off his bucket list when a drag queen did his bedside glam.
Dean Eastmond was able to check one thing off his bucket list when a drag queen did his bedside glam. (Photo: Dean Eastmond)

Dean Eastmond is a British journalist known for his powerful and inspiring voice. At just 20 years old, the zesty writer has his own publication, HISKIND, which celebrates the lives of gay men and the LGBTQ community. More recently, it has provided a platform of conversation for the young writer, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Eastmond found out in 2016 that he had the rare Ewing’s sarcoma, which grows in bone and soft tissue surrounding it, after noticing a discomfort in his rib. And ever since, he’s been determined to change the dialogue surrounding teens with cancer.

“The life and times of cancer kids is exclusively documented through cringe-worthy chick-flicks,” he wrote in an op-ed for Teen Vogue. “‘But young people don’t get cancer in real life’ I found myself thinking over and over again as the only resources I could find online were either obituaries or medical journals. I was at the prime of my life, about to take on the world and suddenly I was stripped of everything I previously knew. Cancer has changed my life forever but has been, in a really odd and twisted way, a gift. In fact, cancer taught me how to love myself for the first time in my life.”

Through the documentation of his illness in his publication, as well as on social media, Eastmond has been open about the growing connection he’s felt with the LGBTQ community. Earlier this month, when he found out that his diagnosis was terminal, this community became even more intertwined with his narrative.

“If this turns into me writing a bucket list, you just know me being painted by every RuPaul’s Drag Race girl will be at the very top of that list,” Eastmond tweeted, garnering a popular response by the very stars he was referencing.

From Trinity Taylor to Jinkx Monsoon and a number of drag queens in between, Eastmond began to receive messages of support, which said “Dean Eastmond Slays.” But it wasn’t until a visit from Charlie Hides that his true drag queen dreams came true.

In the same week that Eastmond had announced he was leaving the hospital to spend time at home, Hides was set to perform in a nearby town. The drag queen told Yahoo Beauty that instead of heading to London for the night after the performance, he planned a trip to the journalist’s home. And of course, a glam session was what transpired.

“I didn’t want to do a traditional glamour face; I wanted it to be more expressive and somehow to embody Dean’s unique energy and personality,” Hides says. “The Ankh [Egyptian symbol of eternal life] was my final touch. I know his time here on earth is limited, but his spirit will live on through his writing and through all the people he’s touched, so adding the Ankh on his forehead was the perfect final flourish.”

Through a conversation with Hides, as well as Eastmond’s own tweets, it’s evident that the glam was a hit. But what was most important to both of them was the ability to go to a happier place during such a difficult time.

In the same Teen Vogue piece, Eastmond had written, “Strength, now, comes if I manage to have a full day of independence, if I have an hour or two without freaking out about this illness or if I’m able to forget about my diagnosis for a few moments.”

Having Eastmond forget about the pain he was in was of course Hides’s goal. And it seems that he achieved just that.

“As we were getting ready to leave, he mentioned, almost as an aside, that ‘for a few hours I forgot about the cancer,'” Hides recalls. “What Dean and his family are enduring is unspeakably heartbreaking. If I was able to help them forget, even for a short while, then that’s the only response I care about.”

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