QX interviews international drag queen talent Violetta J’Adore.

Violetta J'Adore
Violetta J'Adore by Hannah Anthonysz for the Rotterdam Drag Show (Image supplied)

Violetta J’Adore is a London-based drag queen who was selected to be one of the ten drag artists from around Europe to compete in the Queen of the North Continental pageant, the European final for the Miss Continental pageant, considered the most prestigious international pageant of its kind. QX was lucky enough to connect with Violetta in this interesting in-depth interview.

It’s really lovely to meet you, Violetta. How old were you when you first did drag, and how long was it before you appeared in front of an audience?

Drag queens often get born during Halloween or Pride; for me, it was neither. Let me give you a little bit of back story. It was 2017, and I first moved to Madrid for Erasmus+. Like all university students, I was broke and desperately needed a job. And just like most university students, I started working as a barman, with free drinks and a lot of dancing; I did not need anything else. In Madrid, they have this tradition where drag artists work around Chueca (the name of the area), handing out flyers promoting the clubs. As it happened one night, the drag queen working at my club was out ill and had no one else available to cover and, as a joke, my manager asked me if I wanted them to put me in drag and pass out flyers. And thus, Violetta was born… 

However, it took a few months until I could be on a stage performing. I was back in Athens, Greece, that summer and remember desperately looking for a stage to perform at. I would literally message every venue on social media asking if I could do a guest spot in their show, even for free. Of course, as it usually happens, I had no answers apart from one. It was from a new queer venue in the scene of Athens called BEqueer, the manager of which just invited me to choose a song and perform it. I am so thankful to the queens there as they taught me so much and shared their stage with a young (and rough) drag queen; this is something that has shaped the queen I am today.

What creative process did you go through in developing your drag persona and looks?

Violetta, in the first days for me, was all about being on the stage; that was my one and only focus, which was probably the reason I would just not really look at the appearance part of the art. I was working with a very limited budget, so the cheaper I could put something together, the better. As time passed, drag stopped being just a way I could express emotions on stage, and I started noticing that I was getting increasingly passionate about it; my main concerns stopped being just the affordability and functionality of the look, but I wanted to start developing my image. At that point, I had moved back to the UK and started working in the Brighton scene. The fact that drag was much more popular gave me the drive to improve and develop my aesthetic, which was highly influenced by strong female characters from my favourite musicals. Keep in mind that I was still extremely broke. The ideas were there, but I simply lacked how to execute them. 

The real turning point, however, was after I married my husband, who, from the beginning of our relationship, encouraged me to keep improving my craft. The pandemic hit at that point, the world went crazy, and we were locked inside for months, which allowed me to focus on creating more complete looks and learning how to style wigs and sew garments. Following the end of the lockdowns, we moved to London, where the drag scene was different and more varied. Working here for the past two years has been an incredible experience providing a plethora of stimuli that I could not find anywhere else.

Violetta J'Adore
Violetta J’Adore by Hannah Anthonysz for the Rotterdam Drag Show (Image supplied)

How did you choose your drag name, and what does it mean to you?

At first, my drag name was just Violetta, which was chosen while in Madrid for two reasons, one, that I was a fan of the drag of Violet Chachki, and two, because violets were the favourite flowers of my late grandfather, a florist. So, this was a combination of my future career aspirations and, at the time, a reminder of my roots and past. A few years later, I felt my name was still incomplete and decided to add J’Adore as a last name, which reminds me of my mom. 

What is the most memorable performance you have ever done, and why?

Even though it was really hard to choose one, that would have to be when I was flown from London to my home country, Cyprus, to perform for Cyprus Pride 2022. Being in Cyprus, on a stage, in drag, celebrating Pride, felt surreal. I still, to this day, feel that it was all a dream. As an added bonus, doing this in front of friends and family made the experience extra special.

Violetta J'Adore
Violetta J’Adore by Hannah Anthonysz for the Rotterdam Drag Show (Image supplied)

As a drag queen, how do you use your platform to promote LGBTQ+ visibility and advocacy?

My drag-mother DouKissa, one of the most celebrated drag artists of Greece, has taught me to act with kindness and give others what I would want to be given. She provides a platform to up-and-coming drag artists through a pageant she has created and organises every year, the Miss Hellas Drag Pageant, where I was one of the first contestants. So, in turn, I make it a point to give opportunities whenever I can to artists looking for a show to showcase their art while always promoting the amazing local talent the UK has. From the beginning of my career, there have been multiple occasions where I have had to relocate and start again. This meant that I would have to count on others and their willingness to give me an opportunity to be on stage, so it is only right for me to try and do the same and reciprocate the kindness that I was given. 

What is the most challenging aspect of being a drag queen, and how do you overcome it?

Drag as an art and a profession is quite challenging and requires time, effort, resources, high pain tolerance, and many other things (charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent). These usually do not allow a lot of personal and family time, and to be honest, this has been an aspect that I try to work on to this day. That would be the bigger challenge for me.

How do you see the future of drag evolving, and what role do you hope to play in that evolution?

I believe that drag will become even more popular and mainstream in the future, which will lead to negatives and positives. On the one hand, I see two possible threats from inside and outside the community. For starters, the increasing competitiveness between artists could lead to toxicity, especially towards marginalised groups, and mainstreamness may trigger bigoted behaviour against our community. On the other hand, I hope that the popularity will create more spaces for all artists to shine, with opportunities being more inclusive of all kinds of artists from this incredible art form. As for my role in that evolution, I plan to continue providing a platform and a stage to every artist I can while at the same time keep evolving my craft and constantly reaching new highs.

Violetta J'Adore
Violetta J’Adore by Hannah Anthonysz for the Rotterdam Drag Show (Image supplied)

What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing a career in drag?

My one true piece of advice is that practice makes perfect. Do as many things as you can and then do some more; grab every opportunity that comes your way, small or big, because you will learn something from every one of them. Never get discouraged by one bad show or one mistake. Try to learn from your mistakes and turn them into strengths. Don’t stop evolving; always try to find exciting new ways to make more art. Finally, ask other drag queens for advice; they will often be happy to help you, as we have all been in your shoes (or heels). 

Violetta J’Adore by Hannah Anthonysz for the Rotterdam Drag Show (Image supplied)

What has your experience at the Queen of the North Continental competition been like? 

A few days ago, I had the great opportunity and honour to represent the UK and Greece at the first-ever European preliminary of the Miss Continental, the Queen of the North Continental that took place in Rotterdam. Firstly, I am so thankful to Vanessa van Cartier, the organiser of the pageant and the lead judge, for being an incredible, warm, kind-hearted person who was always there for all of us, ready to motivate us and share her advice anytime it was needed. 

It was a crazy journey that took weeks of planning and preparing. I could not have made it without my beautiful husband, my talent designer (Narcissism), and my drag sisters, Tom Kassidy and Tania LeCoq, who were more than supportive by flying to Rotterdam to be there for me. I can honestly say that I have returned from Rotterdam with a renewed love for drag.

Violetta J’Adore Upcoming Appearances

Every Friday at The Bridge Clapham:

Violetta J’Adore is on stage at 8 pm for a weekly Friday show, Viva Camp, at Bridge Wine Bar, 8 Voltaire Road, Clapham, London SW4 6DH, United Kingdom.

July 1st, London Pride Day:

Violetta will be hosting from 2 pm to 6 pm at MAC Cosmetics in Selfridges, Oxford Street.

Violetta will be hosting and performing from 6 pm to 10 pm, alongside other iconic local drag artists, Tania LeCoq, Anna Toni, Ella Gant, and Tom Kassidy at The City of Quebec, 12 Old Quebec Street, Marble Arch, London W1H 7AF, United Kingdom.

Instagram: www.instagram.com/Violetta_Jadore.

Website: www.violettajadore.co.uk




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