Q: How important was your appearance growing up?
A: I wasn't one of the quote-unquote pretty girls that everybody paid attention to, so I focused on finding beauty in other ways to show who I was. Of course, when you're a kid, that doesn't feel good enough, but now it feels perfect.
Q: What was your first makeup experience?
A: I ate my mother's lipstick 'cause I thought it would taste like cherry — it was red, but it did not taste like cherry at all. And to this day, when I get lipstick on my teeth, I have that flashback.
Q: Who were your beauty heroines back then?
A: You know, Betty Rubble was supposedly the pretty, younger one, but I thought Wilma Flintstone was great.
Q: And now?
A: My wife, Portia — she inspires me. But I've finally gotten to that place where I don't want to be like anyone else.
Q: When did that change for you?
A: In the past seven years. When I came out [in 1997], it was the beginning of the process of realizing that I could be proud of myself in all aspects.
Q: Any advice for the American Idol contestants?
A: It's a very hard place to get to, but find who you are and embrace that.
Q: How did you feel when CoverGirl asked you to be a spokesmodel?
A: Excited. I thought, What an amazing company to think outside the box like that.
Q: What's your preshow routine?
A: Have you ever been in a fire station when the alarm goes off? When it's showtime, there are people who put on my shoes and my pants and my hair and my makeup.
Q: And off-camera?
A: I've never liked the painted-face look. When people see me without makeup, I look very similar to ... me.
Q: What beauty products can't you live without?
A: CoverGirl Simply Ageless. No, really — it looks like you don't have makeup on.
Q: As a woman on the go, what are your travel essentials?
A: Portia. She's tiny, so I can put her in a carry-on. Then I can have my assistant Craig with me — he's too big for the overhead.
Q: You love to dance. How do you stay fit?
A: ThighMaster. Actually, I work out three or four times a week — cardio and a little yoga, and I've been vegan for about a year-and-a-half. It's given me a lot more energy.
Q: What kind of role does your appearance play when you're performing?
A: I dress and wear makeup the way I feel like. As long as I'm comfortable in my own skin, I feel more confident, and I think confidence is beauty.