This Man Used His Makeup Skills To Transform Into…Kim Davis

Instagram star Jan Bonito has moved from celebrities to politicized figures with his latest make-up transformation

Oct 07, 2015 at 12:37 PM ET

The more media attention Kim Davis received, the more Jan Bonito knew he wanted to become her. “I just love troublemakers, I guess,” he said.

Davis is a departure for the makeup-artist-turned-Instagram star, who has made a name for himself by transforming into celebrities, meme personalities, and TV and film characters. Bonito has transformed himself into a Rachel Dolezal doppelgänger in the past, but he typically finds inspiration from the likes of Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, or Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, aka the ain’t-nobody-got-time-for-that lady. But there was something about the homophobic Kentucky clerk’s blend of high camp and politics that appealed to him.


“People spend time getting angry at her. I just wanted to laugh at her instead,” he said. “I think her stance is ridiculous, of course… And although this transformation is political, I still tried to insert some humor.”

Bonito first got interested in makeup two years ago when he attended cosmetology school. Though it wasn’t until last Halloween when he was scrambling for a costume that he got the idea to start imitating people.

“I didn’t have a costume so I decided to play around with my sister’s makeup. Then my favorite show, American Horror Story, had a new season coming out so I decided to try one of the characters,” he said. “When my first character succeeded I just kept going and that’s how it all started.”

The characters Bonito creates have earned him a cult following—313,000 followers on Instagram alone—all of whom eagerly await each transformation. He’ll release photos and, if the mood takes him, a short video documenting the process. He describes it as painting a portrait on a canvas, only his face is the canvas. It begins by selecting a personality, finding the right reference picture, and the correct shades of make-up, wigs, and props. Then he gets to work.

He intends to mainly stick to the celebrities that brought him Internet fame, but the interest in his Kim Davis drag has Bonito thinking more within the political sphere. When asked who is next on his agenda, he is quick to respond.

“Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” he said. “For Trump, there’s plenty of material for me to make fun of and use. I kind of want to do a face-off between Trump and Hillary. I haven’t really decided on how I’m going to portray her.”