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After 97 heats and heat finals taking place across 24 venues in England, Scotland, and Wales (and a very challenging Wild Card Semi Final last Saturday), we have our five finalists.

Representing The Two Brewers in London, The WhiteHart in Wolverhampton, Central Station in London, FunnyBoyz in Liverpool and The Charles Street Tap in Brighton, our Martha D’Arthur sat down with all of the finalists to find out a little bit more about them!

 Martha: Welcome, and congratulations to you all for making it to The Grand Final. The standard has been so high in the competition this year, you should all feel very proud! But I’m sure people would like to know more about you. So why don’t you all tell me the inspiration behind your name?

Monroe (The Two Brewers, London): When I first started doing drag, I was inspired by Old Hollywood, so I took my name from

the one and only Marilyn Monroe! Even though my style of drag has changed, I still really enjoy my name.

Mama Tasty (The WhiteHart, Wolverhampton): Tasty came  from a play on words with my surname: Minchella became Mingella, Tasty prefaced that, and then Mama came from the first venue, which gave me a platform to showcase – becoming Mama Tasty.

Shar Cooterie (Central Station, London): Shar Cooterie is the phonetic spelling of charcuterie, the meaty variety platter! It comes from the French for f***ing huge Lunchable.

Carmen Sutra (FunnyBoyz, Liverpool): My drag name was inspired by the Kama Sutra because you initially think it’s just about saucy stuff, but when you read into it, there is much more that the book has to offer – I thought that was very fitting for a Scouse cabaret slapper like me.

Glenda & Rita (Charles St Tap, Brighton): You may not know this, but many Hollywood actresses have pseudonyms. The studios back then were very particular about perfecting the image of the all-American starlet, and our names have to reflect that.

Drag Idol
Carmen Sutra

Martha: How long have you been performing in drag?

Monroe: It’ll be 8 years this October – no surprise that my first gig was for Hallowe’en.

Mama Tasty: Since February 2022, so just over two years.

Shar Cooterie: I’ve been performing in drag since lockdown. I did wear a couple of frocks for the theatre in my youth, though.

Carmen Sutra: This September will mark six years of me doing drag as a hobby, with myself doing it as my full-time job just as the Covid restrictions were lifted in 2021.

Glenda: Rita dragged me out of the house in 2017, and we’ve been entertaining cabaret stages since then. We also recently celebrated our 90th anniversary as working actresses. Although my face may say otherwise, I am truly blessed to have Rita in my long, long, long life.

Martha: Why did you enter this year?

Monroe: I started doing drag as my full-time job just over 1 year ago, and now that I do a style of drag that feels more authentically me, it just felt like the perfect time to enter.

Mama Tasty: I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone while shouting from the rooftops that my gender doesn’t define my Drag validity!

Drag Idol semi-finalist
Shar Cooterie

Shar Cooterie: I’ve entered the last couple of years and, through illness or calendar clashes, never actually made it to the semi-finals, even when I’ve qualified, so I told myself to make it happen this year and then I could say I’d given it my best.

Carmen Sutra: Drag Idol UK is a competition I’ve always wanted to do, but I put it off out of fear. A few of my fellow Liverpool Queens have done the competition and made it all the way to the Grand Final, so I knew I had big shoes to fill, but I wanted to take my drag to the next level to become the cabaret star that this competition requires you to be.

Rita: It’s been real hard getting by over the years, looking the way we do. Work just wasn’t there in cinema for black and white actresses like us when technicolour came in. We are so happy to be welcomed into the wonderful world of cabaret and to find a way to showcase ourselves and re-take the world by storm!

Martha: Who is your biggest inspiration?

Monroe: I’m very inspired by iconic rock chicks like Joan Jett, Amy Lee, Hayley Williams and Debbie Harry.

Mama Tasty: Joint first position next to my Mum would be Tina Turner! Both icons!

Shar Cooterie: I have a huge list of inspirations, including French & Saunders, Ada Vox, Stephen Fry, and Ma Cooterie.

Carmen Sutra: My biggest drag inspiration is definitely The Vivienne. She’s shown that you can make a run from a TV show (my favourite one behind Game Of Thrones, may I add) into a worldwide phenomenon, and the city of Liverpool couldn’t be more proud of her. Outside of drag, I’m influenced by the female British comedians I loved when I was growing up.

Glenda: I would have to say my Poppa. I would not have had the rise to stardom if it weren’t for him working protection jobs for studios at the time. That’s how I got my first screen test for “Shopping For My Gal” in 1932!

Martha: If you were a breakfast cereal, describe yourself.

Monroe: Something with a strong, bold flavour and a sweet aftertaste – like a Crunchy Nut Cluster.

Mama Tasty: Rice Crispies because I’ve got the snap, cackle, and I pop that pussy.

Glenda & Rita

Shar Cooterie: I’d have been banned for having too high a sugar content, I’m sure! I feel like I’m a guilty pleasure – but one that’s good for you. Like Lucky Charms but the marshmallows are shaped like fruit and veg!

Carmen Sutra: Oooh, I’d be Lucky Charms too! Sweet fruit (cos gay) and with a little bit of zest to them.

Rita: You know, back in 1928, WK Kellog Co released a wonderful timeless cereal – Rice Krispies! They promised the cereal would keep floating even after two hours of being in milk, and we can sure relate to staying afloat against all the odds! Rice Krispies ain’t changed since the good old days – and that’s just how we like it!

Martha: What would it say on your tombstone?

Monroe: “HELP! I’m still alive!”

Mama Tasty: “Strong and Wrong”

Shar Cooterie: “At least she’s shut up now!”

Monroe

Carmen Sutra: “Sorry I can’t come out this weekend, I’m grounded.”

Glenda: “Finally”

Martha: Finally, what are you bringing to the Grand Final to show the UK?

Monroe: I’m going to bring the edge, something new that they’ve not seen on the cabaret scene yet, alongside killer vocals and, hopefully, lots of fun!

Mama Tasty: A mix of Mama Tasty with my alter ego Chad – expect raw, expect rock and expect the unexpected.

Shar Cooterie: My good self! I want to bring a party where everyone feels welcome! A big voice, big heart and big bones – all wrapped up in some Honey Roast Glam! Have a taste!

Mama Tasty

Carmen Sutra: I’ll bring elements of stand-up between my songs, camp classics with a twist and a bag of [redacted] to celebrate or commiserate after the competition.

Rita: We are bringing our unique blend of classic Hollywood glamour with the new and exciting technicolour world, singing our own re-arrangements of your favourite songs throughout cinema history! Most of all, it is a celebration of our decades-old friendship. We’ll see you at the Final!

The GRAND FINAL of Drag Idol UK 2024 will take place at The Two Brewers in Clapham on Thursday, June 20th. Doors open at 8 pm, and the competition starts at 8:30 pm.

Hosted by Son Of A Tutu, with a panel of extra special industry expert judges, Michael Twaits, Nicole Faraday, Adam All, Dosa Cat and Richard Byrne (Titti La Camp).

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