The art form of drag is something which has been very much in vogue for the last few years. With shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race lifting the lid on the world of female illusion, people are now clamouring to see and learn more about the medium than ever before. At the heart of drag is a desire to entertain and amuse, and one top queen that has always been able to do this is London’s own Jodie Harsh!
Harsh has been and continues to be one of the UK’s most recognisable drag queens and has become a mainstay of London’s Soho while spreading her wings over both sides of the Atlantic. However, she managed to find a little time in her busy schedule to talk to Vada and tell us more about herself, her work and what she has in store for the future.
Vada: What was it that first made you want to try out drag?
Jodie Harsh: Boredom I think. I’ve said before I have too much of a low boredom threshold to just play one gender role. I liked the creativity of it…and the free drinks tickets! I only meant to do it once for a night out at Heaven…I ended up doing it for 11 years. Isn’t that crazy?! I’ve totally forgotten to stop.
Was it a nerve wracking experience going on stage for the first time?
Anyone who says they don’t get nervous before performing for people in some shape or form is lying… It’s more of an excited tingle and the thought that I really hope it all goes without a hitch.
How did the people in your life react to your new profession?
My friends kind of thought it was fun. My mum and sister took a little while to get used to it, but they love it now. My mother comes to nightclubs with me! We do an annual trip and she’s top of the VIP list.
Recently you have been doing a show with World of Wonder. How did that come about?
Jonathan Ross, who’s a friend and a bit of a mentor to me, hooked me up with them and they suggested I do some stuff for their YouTube. We filmed over a couple of my LA trips – it was so much fun. The WoW office is the coolest place to work and the whole team is awesome.
Your advice has sometimes been a bit comedic in nature. I recall one occasion where a queen asked you for advice on setting her makeup and you cut away to spraying your face with hairspray for a good minute. Do you ever give out more practical advice that we don’t see on the show?
If it was serious advice only it’d be a bit boring I think… there are many other YouTube channels that offer real makeup and life-coaching advice. It was all just a bit of fun. But the hairspray thing – I do that. Like, half a can on my face before I leave my house. Have you even seen my face sweaty? No!!
With news circulating that RuPaul Drag Race may be coming to the UK would you like to be part of it somehow?
Who can say if it is…? These things take a long time to sort and happen. RuPaul has said she’s keen for it to happen here some day though, and rightly so. Would I like to be involved? Totally.
Away from drag, what are your interests?
This is going to sound so generic. I’m music obsessed… I ride my bike all around London. I read a bit. I look at Buzzfeed. That’s about it!
What do you do to unwind after a performance?
If I told you… you’d think I was a pervert.
You have accumulated a large fan base from your performances. Do you love meeting new fans?
Absolutely – the kids that come to my DJ sets rock! I’m always down to hang out and Instagram each other. I love a bit of feedback too. I don’t have a gigantic ego in reality, so I’m always keen to hear what they think about a remix I did or whatever.
Do you have anything you want to say to your fans and supporters now?
Be yourself. That’s the best advice anyone ever gave me. You think you’re gay? Explore that. You want to do drag? Try it – you only live once. Feeling blue? Go and buy some blue body paint and rock it! Just be who you want to be and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.
So what do you have coming up – anything you can hint at?
An EP soon, actually. Definitely before the end of the year. Then next year an album. We’re working on vocals with people now, some of my favorite popstars. It’s all about making music and doing some TV stuff moving forward. Fun stuff! If it’s not fun I can’t really bring myself to do it… I have the low boredom problem.
Jodie Harsh is also DJing at Manchester Pride this weekend. Jodie will be spinning the decks at the Manchester Pride Big Weekend’s Gaydio Dance Arena from 7.30pm this Saturday.