UK drag fans are incredibly lucky with the talent the drag scene has to offer, besides that we get a great amount of tours across the country. Slay! Presents in particular is a popular promoter for not only providing the best tours which range from Drag Race girls to Dragula, but also have the very vest UK queens who share the spotlight and very well deserved too with a dedicated fan base. We grabbed a chat with the queens at their booth during the weekend discussing their Dragworld experience, top tips for the convention and thoughts on Drag Race UK!
DA: How has your Dragworld experience been?
CJ Banks: It was interesting, it was fun. We got to meet lots of people. We got to meet lots of fans of slay presents and us as individual queens. I had lots of fun. It’s tiring, everyone knows that it’s a long long day, especially to be in drag all that time.
Lawrence Chaney: Speak for yourself because I actually look like this 24/7.
CJ: You do, you do Lawrence Chaney, gowns to the floor to hide the slides. This is my first time here so Lawrence is a bit more experienced. I think is about planning to know what it is and if you know what it is, you can plan accordingly.
LC: You can never really 100% plan. Even yesterday my feet were sore and I was wearing slides.
CJ: It’s being on your feet for a long time and I can’t imagine queuing. We at least get to walk round every hour for a quick 2 minutes break or something. I can’t imagine queuing the entire day. We’re only seeing it from one side of the coin being at a booth but being a customer here and a fan must be a completely different experience. Stay hydrated, plan your meals, plan your day and plan when you’re leaving.
Miss Peaches: A good insider tip is expect the unexpected. You never know what’s going to happen. It does inflict on your body a little bit being in drag for 8 hours. I think we all agreed you shouldn’t be in drag for longer than 3-4 hours.
CJ: 4 hours should be standard practise industry length for the full shift but you know what, it’s fun and I think there’s a common understanding that by the end of the day, no one is meant to look flawless. Everyone is meant to be slightly cracked, slightly tired but enjoying themselves regardless.
MP: I mean touring and whoring are just this.
DA: So we’ve got Drag Race UK coming up, what are you hoping to see from that?
CJ: Everyone being represented. Ignoring the rumours, I hope there’s representation from across the country, from across the Drag scene and spectrum and from different stories we haven’t seen already from US drag race.
There’s plenty of stereotypes of the same sort of story happening in the US and here but the UK is it’s own beast and most of all, I’m super excited to watch.
MP: I’d be like ‘oh my god, there’s my friend’.
CJ: This must be what the US queens must be like. ‘I’ve worked with that bitch for half my drag career’. I can’t wait to see them succeed on tv. Very exciting.
MP: I think we’re the lucky ones now. We’ve seen it for what it is over there so we can take control of it and kind of fix what’s wrong with it. We can treat it and handle it the way it should be handled by not bullying as such. It really is the biggest thing.
CJ: In the fandom.
DA: We should be supporting each other rather than knocking each other down.
MP: Exactly, here we’re all for preaching about ’support your local girls’ and I think everyone’s going to start looking at their local girls a bit differently once it’s here.
CJ: I hope they do but you have to look at the respect the queens get in the US who are not on drag race. I hope I’m pessimistic in my optimism.
DA: Would you ever apply?
CJ: I think it’s stupid to say you wouldn’t.
MP: It’s a complete orgasm of a career for being a drag queen.
CJ: It’s the beginning of a career, not the orgasm.
MP: It’s the climax. It’s as good as it gets.
CJ: I think it’s the platform to take your art to the next level. I’m upset that not everyone will get to the application stage but I think that getting a platform whether on the show or outside of the show, if you do something important with that platform, that’s all that matters.
DA: What is your advice for someone starting out in drag?
CJ: Be unique! There’s 100 queens doing the same thing. Bring your USP! Think about it, this is a business. You can do it for fun but if you want to make this your full time job you have to be unique. You have to have a unique selling point and you have to brand yourself to that USP. It’s business so treat it like that. Professionalism!
MP: Alot of people don’t tend to start Drag with the goal of being a serious drag queen. A lot of people fall into doing drag so I think as long as you start out having fun, I think having fun with it is the most important thing.
CJ: If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.
MP: Exactly! And this is a job where you absolutely 100% have a say in what you do so, if you’re not happy in what you’re doing, why do it? There’s no point in doing it.
CJ: I think there’s a lot of people doing it for the wrong reasons and one of the other things is, we work with so many queens at this point, that sometimes the swinging factor is how nice they are and how professional they are. If you maintain you’re nice, you work hard and are professional, that does factor into a lot of how people see you.
DA: Which comes across from you guys. You’re always really nice, you work hard.
CJ: You don’t get far in this world from no working hard. You work hard early and you get the rewards.
MP: It’s always important to stay down to earth and not having an ego that will fill the room. It’s maybe good to bring an air with you, in terms of knowing what you bring to the table but you’re not going to know what she brings to the table until you talk to her and if you talk to her and she’s an absolute airhead and has the biggest ego going, that’s not representing yourself in the best light so I would tell new queens, there are 100 queens doing similar stuff to you. Stay humble!
CJ: Be professional, be humble, be nice. You shouldn’t have to learn those for drag. You should already be those things but take them into your drag career!
Dont forget to keep up to date with all the fantastic tours coming with Slay!Presents on the following social medias and be sure to follow the queens below:
Miss Peaches: @misspeachesgurl
CJ Banks: @thecjbanks