The new British drag docu-series ‘Drag Queens of London’ features some of London’s most well-known drag queens. In part four of our exclusive interview series with the queens of the show, we sat down with Vanity von Glow in a one-on-one interview to get to know her better. Vanity will be featured in episode three, which premiers on Tuesday, May 6th.
Meet Vanity von Glow – ‘Drag Queens of London’
About ‘Vanity von Glow’:
Drag name: Vanity von Glow
Current Location: London
Birthday: 5 May 1991
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Dragaholic: Why did you decide to use the name “Vanity von Glow”?
Vanity von Glow: I wanted to create a character whose most tangible quality was her extreme self-interest. I felt that the type of energy certain glamorous and femininely powerful women had came from their commitment to image and beauty. I was drawn to the charisma of divas who emanated self-admiration and I was fascinated by the line between that self-love, and self-loathing. I don’t think any word represents that better than ‘Vanity’. ‘Glow’ was my last name and had a certain ‘showbizzy’ feel to it, and I added the ‘von’ (always a small ‘v’) to give it the European flavour which the character had in her earlier years.
D: How many years have you been doing drag?
V: This will be my sixth anniversary in October. I’m getting ooold. One day I’ll be in my sixties like Silver Summers.
D: Who inspired you to do drag?
V: The greatest drag queen of them all: Celine Dion. Pahaha! Well actually I grew up feeling that my identity as a non-masculine male was harder to take ownership of than my identity as a gay person. Because of this I always had a fascination with the ways in which femaleness could be compelling, or entertaining and I don’t really feel it matters whether or not that comes from a man or a woman. When I went to university at seventeen I moved from a small village to a city and expected to see drag queens embody the kind of irreverent and provocative energy I felt I possessed. Everything felt too safe, too ‘drag for your mother’ for my tastes. Unfortunately there were so few drag queens working in Glasgow, and those who were around were an homage to the older styles of the 60s and there was nothing of the 21st century around so I decided it was my responsibility to take mic and do it myself.
D: How competitive are you?
V: I’m competitive with myself. Years of piano tuition when I was a kid taught me that to be better you have to focus on your own goals, and not what’s going on around you. I can be quite blinkered when it comes to that.
D: What are you strongest at in drag: makeup, hair, costume, performance or all of the above?
V: I consider makeup, hair and costume to be the tools we use to accent a good performance, but it is the performance itself I am most committed to. I have never been the type to get wet between the legs for the new Mac range, or the latest collection from McQueen. I find all that stuff pretty boring, I most enjoy being at the piano on stage and projecting the character of Vanity for an audience.
D: What is your personality like out of drag?
V: I’m pretty private as a person, which is why doing ‘Drag Queens of London’ has been a strange experience. I don’t talk about my personal life, relationships or family etc. – I prefer to talk about the personal life, relationships and family of other people! I suppose I’m a bit of a gossip; I like to make people laugh and I like to have a laugh. I think during this show I may have garnered a reputation for being a little frosty or direct.
D: How long does it take you to get in drag… from start to finish?
D: Which celebrity/entertainer inspires you?
V: Barry Humphries for his character-work, Bette Midler for the way she transitions between the whimsical to the tragic (something I’ve always tried to do), and Celine Dion for her innate understanding of drama and how to project it on-stage. Also as a pianist I love Delta Goodrem, Elton John, even Gaga for their musicianship and the way they write and play.
D: What special talents do you have? (i.e. backflips, splits, firebreathing, etc.)
V: I play piano and sing live. Also can circumcise a man with my tongue.
D: Who is your favorite queen from RuPaul‘s Drag Race?
V: I don’t watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s never been my thing, though I do enjoy Willam Belli’s wit – I’ve always felt drag should have a real cerebral agility. I have no time for stupid people, least of all stupid drag queens.
D: If you had to choose three adjectives to describe your drag persona, what would they be?
V: Aloof, cutting, isolated.
D: Do you design and produce your own outfits and costumes?
V: Noooo I have absolutely no seamstress powers. It would be wonderful to have that type of skill, or vision, but instead I spend my time watching porn and eating doritos. Sad times.
D: What can people expect to see from you on the ‘Drag Queens of London’?
V: Well hopefully I don’t come across like an entirely venemous cunt! But people will get to see more of me, Thom, as a boy than they have before in relation to my drag work.
D: Which queen did you enjoy working with the most on the ‘Drag Queens of London’?
V: I’m honestly so lucky to be able to call almost all of the queens friends. I always have a great time with Silver, Cairo, Meth, Dusty, Rosie, Baga – the whole gang! Great fun. It can be difficult when there are drag saboteurs such as Lady Lloyd around to push you off your piano in the middle of a show, but at least afterwords we all go out and get so drunk we forget it happened.
D: Thank you so much for your time today. Is there anything you’d like to add before we go?
V: A sprinkle of Mandy? That too much to ask for?
The first episode of ‘Drag Queens of London’ debuted on Tuesday on London Live! (Freeview 8, Sky 117, Virgin 159 and YouView 8).