YEAH, JACQUI! – We meet the doyenne of Soho, Jacqui Swallows

jacqui swallows
Photo by Adam Khadaroo

Drag artist and comedian Jacqui Swallows is still a relatively new face on the cabaret scene, however she’s been a busy queen and has achieved a fair bit since her debut three years ago, and in 2018 she plans to hit the road with a one woman show.

This week, Jacqui chose her favourite subjects from Jason’s random list and she took to the drag soap box…

Drag Etiquette

Drag is beautiful and individual, so understand and acknowledge the people who have fought hard to allow you to sissy your ass down the pavement in your cha-cha heels. Plus the queens working hard seven days a week, hauling sweaty tights and fake titties up and down the UK to entertain and possibly be the reason behind your drag inspiration. So come to your gay venues, support your queens, buy them drinks, get them drunk and if they’re cute, take them home and let them ride you like a stolen bike. It’s the nicest way to say thanks, right?

Reality TV

This year we’ve had Courtney Act winning CBB, which I thought was fab. It would have been better if she had kiki’d with Andrew on live telly, but that’s by the by. It was great to see new audiences digesting the topics she was articulating so well. And then we have RuPaul’s Drag Race, which I’m all for. But here’s the T, that’s all it is: TV. There is real life entertainment going on right under your nose (this is not a drugs-based pun, don’t do drugs. kids…unless they’re free) in your local gay bars and venues. Drag is wonderful in so many forms, whether it’s performative, expressive or just a means of you trying something new; it’s all valid and welcomed whether you’re male, female, trans, gay or straight, if it’s done with respect and love, it’s done well.

Makeup Tips


I think since Drag Race there’s been huge pressure to have an incredibly painted ‘mug’. There are billions of make up tutorials online nowadays. The first time I ever painted my face, I looked an absolute bastard. I’m pretty sure my painted on eyebrows were tucked away somewhere in my hairline, and my glued down brows resembled some sort of rice pudding mixture. Not cute. But now, I’ve at least reached a happy stage where I like my ridiculous face. I realise that I look like the estranged love child of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald McDonald, but I’m at peace with that. My tips? Well, practice. A gorgeous face doesn’t just happen. I guess it’s completely personal, it’s about you and who you are in drag. A lot of working queens will tell you that your face isn’t as important as your act if you’re performing, but I think it all merges into one. It’s about being your best wigged up self. Be confident, be you, and in the dressing rooms, be kind to each other.

Scene Faves

I love those as hateful and dry as me, so naturally I gravitate towards good old Myra DuBois and Sandra. I love me some Rose Garden, a dose of Miss Jason and some Lola Lasagne and of course there’s my sisters, of whom I’d be lost without, the gorgeous Sum Ting Wong, Lady Lloyd, Vicki Vivacious, and the one and only Cheryl Hole. I’ve decided that if I ever get married, I fully intend to have the longest wedding march, approximately eight minutes to be precise, all done with choreography to the Mary Mac medley. Can you imagine? The campery!

Jacqui is at KU Bar every Sunday night! Follow her on Twitter @JacquiSwallows

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