Dragadventures are delving into the London drag scene to a queen who is multi-talented, a keen writer leading her to interview drag queens whilst writing for The National Student, this awakening her love of drag even more. Cut to Stella Marbles the drag queen is born and taking to stages across the UK and beyond. This summer performing in New York Bushwig surrounded by drag royalty and winning the hearts of creative artists alike. Today it’s her turn to be interviewed where we take a look into her drag life, journalism, Bushwig, and the best advice she’s been given!
Dragadventures: When did you decide to begin a career in drag and what was your first show experience like?
Stella Marbles: I became interested in drag through journalism, funnily enough. I moved back to London in April and started going to shows regularly, interviewing queens for The National Student and so for fun I started to dress up when I went to shows. I was in love with drag and enjoyed doing it but didn’t think I could make a career out of being a queen (rather than a drag king) as a cis woman. However, the more I got involved in the scene the more I learned about incredible female and non-binary performers like Victoria Sin, Eileen Bothways, Lolo Brow, Lilly SnatchDragon, to name a few, who showed me that it was more than possible. Meeting my drag mother, Crayola, made a big difference as well, as they encouraged me to start performing and helped me understand where to start, because it can be daunting, there’s no instruction manual to beginning a career in drag.
My first performance was at Bar Wotever this April. I absolutely love the RVT, it is such a wonderful queer space, the staff and the audience is so welcoming to performers old and new. I did a lip sync number called Shark Bait. Looking back I cringe a little because it’s so different to my style now, I’m more of the heart eating type these days, but it makes me proud of how far I’ve come as well.
DA: What made you came up with the drag name Stella Marbles?
SM: People always laugh when I explain my name. A lot of people think my real name is Stella, but I actually called myself Stella after my pet dog, because we’re both bitches, and just because I think it has a timeless beauty to it. Marbles because my drag is insane and strange and stupid and I wanted something in my name to reflect that – not after Jenna Marbles as some people think.
DA: How would you sum up your drag persona in a sentence?
SM: If I had to sum it up I’d say I’m a basic bitch on bath salts, or a masked maven of madness. I love a good bit of alliteration.
DA: Who inspires your drag aesthetically, where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
SM: I get my inspiration from so many different sources. For my masks and outfits, I’m very inspired by designers like Rinaldy Yunardi, BCALLA, James Merry, Hanaquist, Diego Montoya, but often an idea for a mask will come from a material or an item I find and then I build the mask around that. I love taking something simple like a £5 Halloween mask from a store and turning it into something that looks couture, great drag and club kid looks don’t have to be expensive. A lot of my drag aesthetic is rooted in fairy tales and depictions of monsters and reimagining them in a context that is modern and overlayed with pop and rhinestones.
DA: You got to perform at this year’s Bushwig in NYC. That must have been such an amazing experience, what was the highlight for you?
SM: It was an unforgettable experience and definitely the highlight of my drag career so far – being able to perform at such an emblematic event for the queer community alongside some of the best performers from around the world was so humbling and exciting. Just being a part of it was incredible. There were too many great moments, but the highlights were being on that stage and getting to connect with so many amazing queens that I admire like Untitled and the Boulets.
DA: Alongside your drag career, you’re a published journalist. What inspired you to become a writer, and how do you balance it alongside your drag life?
SM: To be honest there’s never been a point when I haven’t been a writer – even as a little kid I have always been writing stories, real and fictional. I was inspired to be a journalist because for me, alongside drag, it is one of the greatest forms of storytelling, engagement, and activism. I love giving people and especially queer artists a platform to share their stories and their work, and in turn, encourage important conversations about politics, LGBTQ+ rights, and the world around us through the lenses of creativity and art.
DA: This Halloween you hosted for Horror Haus, of which the headliner was the incredible Abhora, are you a big Dragula fan and does this type of drag influence your own drag character/aesthetic?
SM: I am a huge Dragula fan – I have so much admiration for the Boulets and their outlook on drag. Dragula has helped show people that drag is for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to do drag as long as it is unapologetically yours.
I think their drag style and that of the queens on Dragula is so powerful because it reflects how drag enables us to connect with the subversive and the shocking, allows us to dig into the darker recesses of humanity and bring it to light in a way that’s equal parts horrific and beautiful.
Vander Von Odd, in particular, has inspired my performance style a lot, her performances are so emotionally raw and strong, aesthetically beautiful and disturbing at the same time, and there’s always a message to them, which is something I aspire to in my work.
DA: With more drag queens on the rise and being recognised, who are the top 3 queens you recommend us to check out?
SM: I could give you a list a mile long, but top 3 would be Lledir Werdna, Tequila Addams and Acacia Dali.
DA: What’s been some of the best advice you’ve been given, be it through drag queens/someone who inspires you?
SM: I think the best pieces of advice I have been given are to work hard and embrace your niche. You have something to offer the drag community and the world that no one else can, so celebrate what makes you stand out from the crowd, in your drag and everything you do.
Another piece of advice I like to keep in mind is from my good joody and London’s most beautiful binbag, Petite Lame: ‘Don’t give it all up for drag’. I’ve learnt the hard way that I can’t connect with my creativity and make the best art if I wear myself down and don’t make time to look after my health. You have to be in touch with yourself and the world to be able to really break it down on stage and in your looks.
DA: Have you ever had a fangirl moment when working alongside another queen you admire?
SM: It can be hard to not have fangirl moments when interviewing queens that I admire.
That was definitely the case when interviewing Anna Phylactic and then meeting her and Cheddar Gorgeous at Drag World. I admire them both a great deal so to talk about their drag one on one and spend time with them was so fun.
DA: Where can fans find you next, are there any projects we can have a sneak-peak about?
SM: I’m performing on the 19th November at Lady Aria Grey’s ‘Read for Filth’ show at LIB-RARY, tickets available here, and I’ve got a lot of exciting collaborations with photographers this month so keep an eye out for them on my Instagram. I’ve got dates available in November and December though so if you fancy having myself to perform or host at your gig, send me a message on Insta or via email.
Keep up to date with all things Stella on her social media below:
Twitter: @stellamarblesbushwig nyc, drag, Drag Shows, Feature Pieces, interview series, journalist, stella marbles, UK queen, writer