Bonjour 2019! We are back with another worldwide Wednesday, the first of 2019! Meet the French queen Le Filip, we talk influences, working with drag royalty and of course the Paris drag scene!
Dragadventures: What kickstarted your passion to become a drag queen? Was there a drag queen in particular that influenced you?
Le Filip: I count my first time on stage as my first time in drag, because I’ve been lipsync-ing naked with lipstick and a towel on my head (as a wig) for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been drawn to queens like Lady Bunny, Joey Arias or Jackie Beat, queens with great stage presence, even greater skills and just legendary entertainers. The one queen who really made me want to make a living out of it is Sherry Vine. I love her for her simple yet very effective and caustic humor, her respectful way of portraying a very sexualized version of a woman and humility and various talents from singing to lip-syncing to comedy. I’ve always been very feminine and fishy in drag yet I’ve always been drawn to comedy and the art of putting together a show, I’ve struggled to make the two sides of me meet and Sherry made it possible for me to say: “Yes I can be pretty and drop self-deprecating slut jokes.”
DA: When was the first time you started performing and how did it feel to get your first break?
LF: I’m a pride queen. I had my first break in Zagreb Croatia for the 2012 Zagreb Pride. You see Pride in Croatia especially back then was very political and very protest-oriented since the situation in the country regarding queer people wasn’t good. There’s was no shows no place for actual fun part of Pride besides the afterparties after which we would always get reports of people getting attacked by some “fag hunters”.
Me my foolish self and I sent a message to the Facebook page of the event and flat out lied to the organizers saying I was a queen and had experience and wanted to do a show to make our Pride Parade even gayer and just a bit more fun. It was obvious to the organizers that I had barely stepped on stage but they knew how to appreciate the intention. So they offered to set up a stage at the Pride after party and let me perform. Naturally, I was mind blown, I had never been blown like that ( I also just never had been blown in general and yes I was 18 #latebloomer). It was very nerve-wrecking and it was all a blur but somehow I pulled through those three lipsyncs and now we’re here!
DA: For performances do you like to perform to French music in particular?
LF: I like to perform to everything as long as I can put together a medley of somehow amplify or change the tone or meaning of the initial song. I rarely just lipsync a song that I haven’t somehow altered with audacity (the program) without at least a stunt that elevates the song to a different meaning. As I’ve said the fun for me in performing is to see people laugh, make them happy make them react in some type of way, to shake them up or make them question, I’m a pleaser and yes just like in sex.
DA: How would you best describe your aesthetic? It seems to vary between alien/androgyny to full French classic glamour which we love.
LF: Since I’ve always been focused on performance and perfecting my showmanship I’ve often let the aesthetics kind of on the side or had a different approach at least. It just didn’t matter to me in the same way. I’ve been covering my natural eyebrows only for a year now and I’ve been in drag for 6 years. I’ve been very much in touch with French glamour mixed with the classic “highway hooker” drag. Yet I also pull from my own androgyny and like to toy with the concept of gender hence why I don’t have a female-specific name simply Le Filip, THE Filip as opposed to Filip the one who buys the groceries and all that stuff. When in full glam I do prefer the idea of a woman, a fully grown woman, not a teen not a princess, but a fully realized strong spirited, sexually awakened woman of the world.
DA: Where do you get your inspiration from when creating outfits?
LF: I’m gonna say it again but I draw the most of my style from strong women. And I find it silly when I say strong because for me all women are strong just by simply breathing in this male-dominated world. So I’ll say women like The Bride from Kill Bill, la Cicciolina the Italian pornstar turned political, perhaps all of the James Bond girls, Barbarella and of course Pamela Anderson (have you seen her Twitter?)
DA: You’re from the beautiful city of Paris, what is the drag scene like there, are there any local queens we should keep an eye out for?
LF: When I first started in Paris 5 years ago there was not much. There was a distinct separation between (and still kind of is) celeb impersonators and drag queens who work on their own individual personas. There were just a few queens perhaps a dozen including myself. But ever since I’ve arrived it hasn’t stopped growing and two years ago the first major drag baby-boom started. Thé scène is expanding at such a fast rate that I see new faces and new talents by a dozen every week.
It is heartwarming to see. There are now 2 drag weekly venues Cookie Kunty’s Jeudi Barré on Thursday’s and my own venue LIPSTRIP on Wednesday’s. There are also monthly shows like Drag Me by Sativa Blaze and Fugly by the House of Fugly led by Calypso Overkill. I would invite everyone to watch out for the House of Morue and yes I know I’m biased since I’m in the house myself but these girls are amongst queens I have the most respect for. The level of talent and work put into their drag is just astonishing, they understand the art form and have themselves great respect for it. We have mutually taught each other so much whether it is hair, fashion, performance, photo, and video it is really a powerhouse that is shaping the Parisian drag scene and influencing a lot of the upcoming Parisian talents.
DA: 2018 saw you support Sasha Velour on her Klub Kids tour this in Paris. What were you most excited about?
LF: Yes I’ve performed with Haus of Morue alongside Sasha Velour and she was nothing but kind and professional. The audience was turnt up like I’ve rarely seen and rightly so, there is a motherfucking drag race winner in the room, so yeah it was a bit nerve-racking to stand alongside that thunderbolt of a queen.
DA: How would you describe Le Filip’s persona in three words?
LF: A pathological woman.
DA: What quality does your drag persona have that you wish you had in your life off stage?
LF: I guess, now that it’s been 6 years of putting Filip through Le Filip I kind of learned a lot, not everything but I do feel like I have improved already. I feel more like Le Filip now has more to learn from Filip and then I guess the cycle reverses again. I guess more poise, less impulsiveness, more self love always more love.
DA: Back in 2015, you performed alongside UK drag royalty Meth the drag queen and Joe Black. Would there be any future plans to come back to the UK and perform?
LF: Oh god, Meth was a dream, it was like a masterclass for drag. Joe Black is a vision and just mind-boggling to watch. It’s indecent truly. As for Le Filip in the UK, it’s something I wish for and dream of to share one day the stage amongst UK performers who I truly admire and respect for their high level of talent and work put in their shows.
DA: What does the future hold for Le Filip, are there any future projects in the pipeline?
LF: For now I’m running my own drag venue called LIPSTRIP and since it’s weekly and I’m hosting it, it’s a lot of work and demands a continued focus. I would love to have some UK performers at LIPSTRIP too. I am also still performing around different venues and clubs in Paris and am open to collaborations. I do have a few filming projects in the works and some other stuff I can’t just yet talk about but yeah keep an eyelash out for this hoe.
Keep a big beady eye out on the fab Le Filip on the following Social Media: