Victoria Scone, UK Queen’s First Female Drag Race: “I didn’t know if drag was an option for me

In her first interview, Victoria Scone – who breaks new ground as a female drag performer at RuPaul’s Drag Race UK – talks about her nervousness, her excitement and her historic appearance.

“God, I think the first time I had anything to do with drag was when I was a mime artist at a very young age.

“I probably should have said, ‘Oh, I want to be like Cinderella’ or ‘I want to be like Jasmine’, but instead I said, ‘I want to be the drag queen!

“Drag has always been a part of my life. I really believe I was born to be a drag queen.

“But I didn’t really know if that would be an option for me as a woman.

Victoria Scone, whose real name is Emily, tells BBC Three that she has loved drag for years.

And now she’s making history as a female drag artist by appearing on season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

Drag is traditionally associated with men dressing up as women, but in recent years there has been a greater variety of artists, including women, transsexuals, and non-binary artists.

At RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, artists like Victoria compete in singing, dance and comedy competitions for the chance to be crowned the next British drag race superstar.

‘I was told, “This isn’t the competition for you”‘

“I’m feeling excited,” Victoria, who lives in Cardiff, says about the new series airing in September. “I can’t wait.”

In choosing her name, Victoria says she wanted “something very British” and “something edible, being a curvaceous woman as I am.” It’s also a pun, as in “Where’s Victoria? Victoria’s gone!

The drag artist says she takes inspiration from traditional styles of British drag and drag performers such as Danny La Rue, Ceri Dupree, Miss Jason and Son Of A Tutu.

“Very much old-school drag. I just love it. I love the fact that you can get up there, you can hold an audience for an hour or two hours or more.

“And it’s your bloody night. You are the star of that show.”

She also describes her drag style as “very, very camp” and she says she always aims to make her audiences laugh and feel comfortable.

“I don’t make people feel hostile when they walk into a venue. It’s like we’re one big happy family in one big happy queer space.”

But it wasn’t always easy to be a woman in drag.

When she entered her first drag competition, she says, “I was told, ‘This is not the competition for you.’ But I haven’t given up. ”

Her first gig was at The Two Brewers, an LGBT hangout in south London: “And a few days later I applied to another place and then to another place and then to another place.

“I was completely hooked. So no matter what was thrown at me, I was going to be a drag queen.”

She also says it’s harder for female queens and drag kings to get booked at drag venues.

“My existence is technically political every time I step on stage, you know, as a woman in drag.”

She hopes, though, that her appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK can help boost diversity in the drag world.

“Now that the top tier of drag is doing it, there’s no more excuse for event organisers not to be booking more diverse lineups.

“Lineups can be so much more enriched and varied.”

Victoria, 27, points out that she’s “very much not the first female drag queen in existence” and she hopes she won’t be the last to appear on the show.

“Hopefully there’ll be a million more AFAB drag queens, drag kings, non-binary performers and so on.”

(While Victoria does occasionally use the term AFAB – used in the drag community to refer to performers who were assigned female at birth – and says she “understands it’s important in conversations to be inclusive,” she says she prefers to simply be called a drag queen.)

‘Drag is for everyone’

“It was a very strange, cheerful moment for me,” says Victoria about the first step into the famous Drag Race workshop. “It was like ‘I’m exactly where I need to be right now’.

“I wasn’t scared, but I had these bubbles and butterflies from my first day of school.”

Victoria, who has trained as an actress, singer, and dancer, says she was particularly excited to show her creativity in designing her costumes and props.

“Sometimes people think I have an advantage because I’m female, but I think that’s not the case at all,” she adds.

“I’m not a very slim woman, so I have to wear a corset all my life and I use padding.

“Some male drag queens can just throw on a tight dress and go on stage. I absolutely can’t.

“I would look like a bagged ham on the Morrisons meat shelf if I did,” she says, laughing.

“I have to work just as hard, if not harder, most of the time.”

Victoria, who worked as a sales and event coordinator before moving full-time to drag, looks back on the early days of her career and reflects on making her drag “palatable” and “bookable” to join the traditional drag scene fit.

For the future, however, she hopes to be able to express her “theatrical” and “political” side more strongly and to “speak more about the problems I am confronted with as a queer woman in this industry”.

And with that in mind, she also wants to make sure that fans and viewers know that “drag is there for everyone”.

“It seems so backward to me to determine who can perform in drag,” she says.

“As queer people we are oppressed and marginalized, so why should we keep doing this within our own community?

“People often don’t even consider the fact that, as a woman in drag, I might be a queer woman.

“In my opinion there just aren’t enough queer women in public, so I’m here to be ‘celesbian’ – a prominent lesbian,” she concludes, laughing again.

 

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