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The Drag Idol UK Grand Final took place at The Two Brewers on 20th June and featured 5 phenomenal finalists from this years crop.

It was an exciting evening with a new format that saw venue representatives and critiquing judges submit secret ballots to determine a top two who then performed an extra 5 minute “bid to win”. Mama Tasty was an extremely worthy runner up but the judges (Nicole Farady, Michael Twaits, Adam All, Yshee Black and Titti La Camp) voted 3 to 2 in favour of this years champion Shar Cooterie.

Martha caught up with the winner, Shar Cooterie, last week for a chat!

Well, hello there, Drag Idol Champion of 2024, Shar Cooterie! It’s been a week since you were crowned this year’s winner. Has it sunk in yet?

It really hasn’t – I’m not sure it ever will properly. I’ll check again in a couple more weeks! It’s only the trophy on my bookshelf that keeps reminding me it happened! 

Hello, Drag Idol Champion of 2024, Shar Cooterie

You’ve entered a few competitions over the years. Did it feel like the right time this year?

Goodness me, I really have. And I’ve been runner-up in almost everything I’ve ever entered. I’m not sure if there’s ever a right time as such but I did feel like I was in a different headspace this year. I felt ready. Ready, determined, and excited. And I guess it paid off! 

You’re not shy about being political in your act; is that important to you?

As queer people, we are inherently politicised – I think it’s really important, especially when you spend a lot of time with an audience, to be politically informed and engaged. I try not to tell people what to believe, but I am passionate that people engage with the system. It affects all of us!

You’ve a very unique look and identity. Can you talk us through your inspirations?

Thank you! I used to worry about not looking ‘right’ to do drag until I discoverd Dragula and realised that there wasn’t just one ‘goal’ in drag – since then I’ve realised that pleasing yourself is the best way to thrive. Amongst my early inspirations are Sasha Velour, Suzy Izzard and, of course, Lily Savage. As I continued to explore queer culture, I’ve fallen in love with Divine, Leigh Bowery, Cheddar Gorgeous and Juno Birch.

You’ve also got a powerful vocal. What inspires your song choices?

Generally, I just sing things I like. I should probably be more consistent. Whatever song I sing, I just want to make someone feel something – be that a wave of nostalgia, a tender moment or even a giggle at a slightly unexpected take on a classic. 

What are you hoping to do with your win, what is your next mountain to climb?

I guess, first and foremost, I just want to keep meeting folks and entertaining. I should probably take a break from competitions for a while, too – ooh, maybe I’ll judge some instead! I’d love to raise the platform of Essex drag (there’s a whooooole scene out here, babes) and beyond that? Who knows? Next stop – the world?! Hahaha.

It was an incredibly tight final this year? How was your experience of the evening?

It was a glorious evening. I so enjoyed all of the other finalists. It was weird – after meeting them all, a calm just sort of fell over me and I realised that I felt totally fine with whatever happened. Obviously, I’m thrilled to have won but I think everyone gave an incredible show that night! 

Drag Idol Champion of 2024, Shar Cooterie

What advice would you have for any future contestants?

The phrase ‘Just be yourself’ might be a cliché but it’s because it works. Make sure people can see the ‘you’ in what you’re doing. There are a lot of drags out there nowadays so when an audience can see why what you’re doing is special to or uniquely you, they remember it. 

The competition is known for sparking some friendships that really endure (and also some fun frenemies). Who has the competition exposed you to that you’d like to mention?

Obviously working with all of the acts I performed with in the final and semi-final was a joy  – they were all wonderful but, if I may, I’d like to flag up a couple of people who were equally great that I encountered earlier on in the competition. Kylie M’Hoe could probably not be more different but what she does, she does incredibly! One of the best in our region! Lonnie Bangsford is an absolute scream – delightful character comedy, especially for those with a love of the theatre! And finally, a big thank you and lots of love to Moira Less, who has been an absolute delight for all the time I’ve known her! 

And finally, where can we catch you in the next month or so?

You can catch me anywhere – I won’t run! If I’m not in the freezer aisle of my local supermarket, I’ll be here, there and everywhere, but you can definitely catch me at Colchester Pride (my hometown!!) on 17th August or by checking my socials for when I’m next near you! See you out there.

Sing at Little Ku

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