On Thursday, the 22nd of June, The Two Brewers in London hosted the Drag Idol 2023 Grand Final. The culmination of months of competing acts and venues. The Grand Final is always intense and full of high emotion and drama, and this year was no exception (c’mon….. what do you expect!).
Five wonderful acts performed with heart, gusto and passion, but there can only be one winner. The judges deliberated for some time to wrangle this difficult decision, but eventually, Fruit N Fibre representing Mary’s in Cardiff, was crowned this year’s Drag Idol champion. Gladys Duffy representing the Cockatoo Club in Manchester, came a very close second!
We caught up with Fruit N Fibre at the Clapham Street Party at The Two Brewers on Saturday, their first official winners’ gig, to see how the news is sinking in.
QX: Huge congratulations on becoming this year’s Drag Idol 2023 champion! How are you feeling?
FnF: Thank you so much. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I went back to my day job in Cardiff the next day with eyeliner clinging to my eyes for dear life. I really didn’t expect it, so I’m feeling really proud.
QX: Talk us through your look and act for the Drag Idol 2023 Grand Final.
FnF: I’ve really enjoyed coming up with different ideas and concepts for each heat. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of having to create something in a short space of time. I loved the idea of Crufts and competition and the campery of it; I thought it was so “draggy”, so I decided to do a “best in show” Maltese dog look. I absolutely loved it, I was sweating my balls off, but I loved the look! I’ve also enjoyed coming up with narratives as well, so it was a show dog that no longer wanted to compete and to just be a dog. I really had fun with it.
QX: So, for those that haven’t seen you yet in this contest and now you’re about to start your winners shows around the country… give us your best marketing pitch for Fruit N Fibre.
FnF: Just like the cereal, I’m constantly improving the recipe, but you’ll ways find me crunchy, tasty, delicious, and with different fruit in every mouthful.
QX: Tell us a bit about your background: Who is Elliot, and what brought him to the competition?
FnF: I’ve always been a theatrical person ever since I was little, and I went to study music and drama at university, but I realised that it wasn’t really the kind of performance that I wanted to do. I was more interested in devised and alternative stuff, so I went on to study design for performance. I went on to work backstage in theatre shows, but I’ve always missed performing. I recently turned 30, and I wrote a big list of things that I really wanted to try, things that would push me out of my comfort zone, and one of them was doing a drag performance. The only other time I’d really done drag, like a lot of people, was Halloween. So I applied for Drag Idol, and this has happened, which is amazing, but I feel like I’ve got a lot to learn, and I look forward to growing and finding out what my drag is. I feel like I’m still figuring that out, and that really excites me.
QX: You’ve proved that you’re an extremely creative and imaginative person. What’s in the pipeline for Fruit N Fibre now? What can we expect to see?
FnF: I’m looking forward to growing as an artist again and having the chance to express myself and meet other people that I’ve been admiring as Elliot for so long and working with amazing talent. I really love theatrics, and I’d love to collaborate with other acts and put on some nights. I don’t know what’s to come, but I’m enjoying riding this wave now.
I’m incredibly proud to bring the crown to Wales for the first time. The community I’ve found in Cardiff, the friends I’ve made, and the support I’ve had, has been the biggest win. For a long time, I’ve wanted queer friends, and I’ve struggled to get that, so I’m really proud of that, as the biggest win has been making these wonderful connections. There’s the biggest support network here, and I’m just so incredibly grateful and proud. I’m so looking forward to the future!
QX: The competition over the years has spawned some beautiful friendships and some entertaining rivalries (Fatt and Flick is one of our favourites)! Who’s been your biggest friend out of the contest, and which act has you as their biggest fan?
FnF: Going into it, I was initially anxious about being around other artistes. I was pretty nervous about being so new and being able to fit in. I had been quite quiet in all the heats because I was still trying to concentrate on my makeup, and the nerves were still getting to me. I haven’t had one bad experience, though, and everyone I’ve met has been so warm and accepting and made me feel so comfortable, from helping me out on my lashes and giving me tips and just hearing me and making me laugh and being very open about their experiences.
But there is one drag artist in particular from the competition that I’m enamoured with. The Tiny Gent! I was very quiet and nervous at my semi-finals at John The Unicorn. They were so warm, and I could just see they were talented before they’d even done anything. When I saw their performance, I was blown away. They’re a true artist and so clever with what they’ve done and the narrative and the character they’ve created. I honestly think they are a huge genius.
QX: You mentioned that you’ve found your chosen family in Wales, and drag artistes the world over talk about what their drag has done for them and their well-being. What would you like your drag to do for you, and what do you hope it brings to the world?
FnF: What drag has done for me has allowed me to express myself creatively and given me an outlet to create these characters that are like a persona but very much facets of Elliot as well, to talk about my life. I quite like autobiographical storytelling, and I like to use my experiences in the hope that other people can relate to them and we can laugh or cry about them together.
QX: Finally, for fun, if you were hosting a dinner party for five of your biggest inspirations, who would you like to see sitting at your table?
FnF: Well, if I was hosting, I’d be keeping them to a minimum, so I’d have Michaela Cole, Billie Piper and my sister! (Laughs)
Follow Fruit N Fibre on social media (insta: fruit_n_fibre) for details of upcoming shows!!! We wish them all the best for a bright future!