British Eleganza Part 3: Conversations with UK drag artists Dax and Vinegar Strokes
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Welcome to British Eleganza, a series of article showcasing the talents and stories of UK drag queens, kings, and artists. In our previous instalment, I discussed drag names, the role of social media and what’s on trend in the UK drag scene with Bruise, Cooke Monstar and LoUis CYfer. In Part 3, the conversation continues with drag king Dax and the vivacious Vinegar Strokes. Daxi s an up-and-coming drag king on the London scene who describes himself as ‘a massive idiot who doesn’t take himself too seriously’. Vinegar is a self-proclaimed working-class diva queen who, when she isn’t giving you stitches during her stand-up, is gracing the stage on the West End. We discussed personalities out of drag, the highs and lows of being a performer, and the political importance of drag: How long have you been doing drag and how did you start? Dax: I started doing drag after Dragworld last year, so around 8 months. I wanted to explore my gender and drag seemed like a great way to do so. Vinegar: I started pursuing drag properly in March 2015, but I am really a Halloween Queen. I started doing stand-up comedy as my boy self and I was asked to perform at a Halloween show but in drag as a witch. I refused at first but then the promoter offered me £75, so I instantly accepted the gig. That was the night Vinegar Strokes was born and I haven’t looked back since. Vinegar Strokes What are the differences between yourself and your persona in drag? Dax: My drag persona is confident and can be a bit wild, whereas out of drag I’m quite quiet and shy. Vinegar: We are very similar, but Vinegar is a lot more glam and confident. She is the life and soul of the party.
What is the most difficult or frustrating part about being a drag performer?Dax: As a drag king, I find it’s harder to get booked. A lot of people only want to book queens sadly. I’ve met many people who didn’t even know kings were a thing, I myself didn’t know they were until last year. Vinegar: Honestly, luggage! It can be a hassle dragging around lots of costumes over London to get to a gig.
Conversely, what is the most rewarding part?Dax: I get contacted by a lot of people asking for advice or saying I’ve helped them in some way. That’s more than I ever expected and I’m so grateful to everyone who’s supported me.
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