TRCH

Nottingham's Queens of Drag

24 July 17 words: LeftLion
photos: Tom Morley

Nottingham is full of fun, and some of the boggers who do the damn thing best are the city’s drag queens. We’ve rounded up the ladies you’re most likely to find lathering the slap on, miming away, and chucking shade abaht like nobody’s business. People of Nottingham; we introduce to you, the queens of drag...

MARILYN SANE

Occupation: Typey Typey Plinky Plonky Office Monkey and Drag Queen.

Where can we find you? I’ve recently started a YouTube Channel with my good friend and sister-wife, Nana Arthole, called Unnamed Drag Channel. I’m also a DirtyFilthySexy regular at Spanky Van Dykes, as well as at The Newmarket and Robin Hood Inn with the show group Scream Queenz Comedy Chaos.

First drag memory: When I was about six, my sister dressed me up as Louise, the girl from next door. Grandad went ballistic, but I wasn’t tucked so I don’t think that counts. First time in real drag I was eighteen and I played Angel in Rent. That was when I first caught the drag bug. Turns out it’s terminal.

Your most memorable drag experience: Presenting Nottingham Pride. It’s really important to play a role in your home town’s Pride events.

Get-ready time: I need at least a good hour and a half to two hours to make myself look like a beautiful cartoon villainess. I’ve done a twenty-minute emergency face before, but she was nobody’s friend.

Favourite Notts drag queen: My sisterwife, Nana Arthole.

Throw some shade: You look like you’ve had your face set on fire and put it out with a fork.

TITTANIA BON BON

Occupation: National Treasure.

Your colour: I’m a goddamn rainbow.

Average monthly makeup spend:
Way too much to even talk about. The husband will be reading...

Get-ready time:
Depending on the strength of vodka, my makeup time can really vary.

First drag memory:
Almost fourteen years ago, I was a go-go dancer and was annoyed the queens were paid more. So, thinking I looked the dog’s ding dong, I paraded around a nightclub in Sheffield, lip syncing to Steps. Bright pink hair, white face and a scarf as a top. Times have certainly changed. Needless to say, way too many vodkas saw me strip fully naked on stage and be carried off to the sound of B*Witched.

Opinion on RuPaul's Drag Race:
I like that it’s brought drag into the mainstream. For the younger queens, know your history and not your American history. Danny La Rue has always been a massive influence to me. Kenny Everett and Dick Emery are British heritage that are almost forgotten and that makes me sad. Although not fully-fledged queens, they used drag in sketches which are still funny.

Give us a wise quote:
You can cover a turd in glitter, but it will still be a turd.

LUXX ANDREWS

Occupation: Drag Queen, Host, and Bartender.

Your colour:
Sun-starved and pearly white.

Where can we find you?
Propaganda Nottingham, Rescue Rooms for Kitty Tray, and out and about in the Midlands.

Favourite lip sync song:
Fabulous Baby Sister Act: The Musical.

Favourite Notts drag queen:
Titty Bon Bon (Tittania Gill).

Favourite international drag queen:
Roxxxy Andrews.

Monthly makeup spend: Around fifty quid.

First drag memory:
Performing for a dare after falling asleep at the wrong time...

Your most memorable drag experience:
Working alongside the RPDR Girls with Kitty Tray and my Nottingham queens.

Opinion on RuPaul’s Drag Race: I think it’s a great platform for pushing drag out into the world, but people need to remember that not all queens are the same as the televised queens; we all have different aesthetics, skills and talents.

Tell us a joke: The problem with premature ejaculation is it usually comes out of nowhere...

Give us a wise quote: Respect people on your way up, because if you fall down, they’ll be there to help you up again.

Throw some shade:
Don’t worry about me. Worry about your STI results.

CLAIRE-LEIGH KNOTT

Where can we find you? I’m soon to be performing at a charity event which raises awareness for IDAHOBIT Day. I perform in a variety of bars in town, and have an appearance at this year’s Pride on the main stage; we’re the Scream Queenz Comedy Chaos.

Favourite miming song: It’s between When You're Good to Mama and It Should Have Been Me.

Favourite Notts drag queen: Luxx Andrews pushes me to leave my comfort zone and quite literally slaps me out of bad decision-making. I’m friends with lots of queens in Notts and consider many to be my drag sisters.

Favourite international drag queen: It’s got to be the one and only Bianca Del Rio.

Monthly makeup spend: I don’t tend to buy products every month; a girl my size buys in bulk. I do buy a lot of fabric as I make 90% of what I wear.

Get-ready time: A good three to four hours from shaving to finishing touches.

First drag memory: The show was in Blackpool, and I was being chased by a queen dressed as a nun with an inflatable penis.

Throw some shade: I couldn’t possibly throw shade at you, not when Mother Nature beat me to it.

NANA ARTHOLE

Occupation: Current-reigning Duchess of Witch House.

Monthly makeup spend:
Not much at all, darling. I only wear a little tinted moisturiser. And that’s not even on my face.

First drag memory:
Memory? How very droll. If you’re not blacking out from drinking, you’re not doing it right. I starred as Violet Beauregarde in a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at my childhood theatre group. I also dressed up as Shamela Anderson for a fancy dress competition in a red swimming costume with pink balloon boobies and “American tan” tights. I won third prize as a boy, because initially they awarded me first place as a girl. First and second prize were already taken before they realised their mistake.

Your most memorable drag experience: It’s a tie between being a customer on E4’s Tattoo Artist of the Year and watching Alaska Thunderfvck pee in a goldfish bowl backstage at our 2015 Pride party.

Opinion on RuPaul’s Drag Race: It’s the second most fabulous game show in television history. The first is Get Your Own Back with Dave Benson Phillips. Coincidentally, also hosted by a bald, black man with fabulous teeth; as white and straight as the American government.

Give us a wise quote: The bravest ducks get the most bread. Then they die of malnutrition.

SELMA CLITZ

Occupation: Comedy Queen Extraordinaire.

Where can we find you? The Newmarket, Propaganda and The Robin Hood in Sherwood.

First drag memory: It was at @d2 and I looked awful. I had a long, straight, thirty-inch wig that was unstyled; eyebrows to my hairline; and extremely bad contour that looked like Mars bars on my cheeks.

Your most memorable drag experience: Being with The Les Follies Showgirls back in 2013. Drag was needed in Nottingham after loads of its bars closed down, and Tittania Bon Bon and Vivienne Lynsey asked me, along with a selection of other queens, to start a big drag troupe at The Newmarket to bring the queens back to Nottingham. Each and every show with them was a hit, and made way for us to become who we are today.

Tell us a joke: How do you make a drag queen scream twice? Give her a good rogering and afterwards, clean yourself using her best wig.

Throw some shade:
Marilyn Sane: Who knew snow was used to highlight? Go figure.
Luxx Andrews: Dip her in a pool because those wigs are thirsty baby.
Kitty Tray: We all thought dinosaurs were extinct. Clearly we were wrong.
Madame Tess: The only queen I know who’s been in their third trimester for six years.

GLITTERHAWK

Your colour: Black.

Where can we find you? DirtyFilthySexy.

Favourite lip sync song: My mix of Hellraiser quotes, Combichrist and Aphex Twin.

Favourite international drag queen: I love the kooky, spooky, punky queens like the Boulet Brothers, Vander Van Odd, Squeaky Blonde, May May Graves, Valentine Anger and Ursula Major. Currently, my obsession is Sasha Velour on Season 9 of Drag Race. There’s just something about her performance and art that is so incredibly beautiful it really touches my cold, dead heart.

Monthly makeup spend: I’m a cheap queen. If it costs a quid, it’s mine.

First drag memory: As a kid growing up through the eighties *cough* I found myself drawn to the new wave/new romantic/pop musicians like David Bowie, Adam Ant, Steve Strange, Toyah Willcox, Boy George and Pete Burns.

Your most memorable drag experience: Performing in front of 400 people at Spanky Van Dykes supporting Alaska Thunderfvck at DirtyFilthySexy's Alternative Pride After Party last year.

Opinion on RuPaul’s Drag Race: It’s certainly opened the floodgates to the world of drag in all its splendour. We’re lucky to live in a more tolerant world, and I think Drag Race has helped break down the barriers to bring drag into the mainstream consciousness.

Tell us a joke: Two nuns in a bath. One nun says “Where's the soap?” The other nun says “Yes, yes it does!”

Give us a wise quote: If at first you don’t succeed… cheat!

MADAME TESS TICKLES

Occupation: Professional Flange.

Your colour: Bruise.

Favourite miming song: He Taught Me to Yodel by Margo Smith because I can flick my tongue wherever possible.

Favourite Notts drag queen: Marilyn Sane because she’s a weird bitch.

Favourite international drag queen: Jackie Beat; the mother of all parodies.

Monthly makeup spend: I get a five-finger discount, so f**k all.

Get-ready time: As long as it takes the cement mixer to warm up.

Your most memorable drag experience: Singing Don’t Cry for Me Argentina in front of about a thousand people back when Nottingham Pride was in its heyday.

Opinion on RuPaul’s Drag Race: I’ve watched a few seasons and think some of the queens are basic or up their own arses. That’s probably because I prefer old-school drag. And what is all of this nose contour business?!

Give us a wise quote: If you ain’t wearing lashes, you ain’t doing drag.

Throw some shade:
What would Free Willy look like in drag? Selma Clitz.
What’s Marilyn Sane’s makeup inspiration? Kung Fu Panda.
What do you call a giraffe in heels? Claire-Leigh Knott.
What do you call Voldemort in face paint? Kitty Tray.

KITTY TRAY

Occupation: Drag artist, promoter and photographer.

Monthly makeup spend: £100 average, but I’m starting to get a lot of companies giving me free makeup if I say that I use their brand.

Get-ready time: Two and a half hours. Makeup takes the longest. I can do my own, but because I have a TV profile, I sometimes use makeup artists to give me the extra flawless look.

First drag memory: I was on a Caribbean cruise with forty of RuPaul’s drag queens and Michelle Visage. My first night in drag I was talking to Michelle Visage and was sweating all over her arm. She was covered.

Your most memorable drag experience: Performing a sell-out show at Kitty Tray presents Sharon Needles at Rescue Rooms. 500 people attended.

Opinion on RuPaul’s Drag Race: It has made drag culture more acceptable around the world and it’s now becoming embedded within mainstream pop culture. It shows how strong our community is.

Give us a wise quote: You’re never too old to live your dream.

Throw some shade: I don’t throw shade. I’m a nice queen...

You can find Kitty Tray on all social media like:
Twitter: KittyTray
Facebook: Kitty Tray
Instagram: Kitty_Tray
Grindr: Big Bucket Surprise

KITTEN T

Occupation: Drag artist and photographer.

Your colour: Green.

Favourite miming song: Alison Jiear – I Just Wanna F**king Dance

Favourite Notts drag queen: Tittania BonBon.

Favourite international drag queen: KATYA (Yakaterina Petrovna Zomolodchikova)

Get-ready time: It depends on what I’m getting ready for. Most of the time it takes up to four hours with full makeup, padding, costume and wig.

First drag memory: When I was working on my very first drag show with Laganja Estranja and Derrick Barry. I was amazed with everything about those queens. I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

Your most memorable drag experience: I still get shaky when I think about it. It was when I met my biggest inspiration and most loved queen, KATYA. I even got to work with her on one of the shows.

Opinion on RuPaul’s Drag Race: It’s an amazing TV show. I’m so excited about the fact we are able to watch it on Netflix in real time.

Tell us a joke: If your uncle looks weird, he is weird. Don’t sit next to him.

Give us a wise quote: Live everyday like it’s the last day. And do what you want to do, not what others want you to do.

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