Hamburger Queen 2013 at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Hamburger Queen
Gabriel Duckels


Hamburger Queen (AKA Burger Queen, pre-lawsuit) has become something of a cult London institution. If you’ve yet to discover it, here are the basics. It’s a beauty pageant for fat people spread over four weeks at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, created and hosted by Scottee, and featuring resident judge Amy Lamé. Expect surprising performances, tongue-in-cheek counselling sessions and celebrity sightings (Hamburger Queen 2012 saw the one and only Nancy Dell’Olio). Then chuck in some ad hoc sing-a-longs, in-house performance art, and a general vibe of happy delirium. Here’s a dos and don’ts guide for the uninitiated:



prepare yourself. During the Talent Round each contestant puts on a show to vie for the judges’ favour. Last year the contestants’ talents contained belly-dancing, fat activism, gimp masks and sing-songs.


forget to wear deodorant. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern can get as sweaty as I was the night before I got circumcised. It’s also much more exciting.



bring your appetite with you. During the Taste Round, the contestants cook, bake or buy a selection of treats for judging. The judges get the (sometimes questionable) pleasure of the first bite, but there’s likely to be some sort of bizarre cake or neon pastry leftover for the audience to sample.

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be fashionably late. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern fills up like the only kebab shop in town after a night on the tiles, so you’ll want to arrive early. Arrive at 7pm and secure yourself a vantage point.



dress for the occasion. Scottee, who hosts Hamburger Queen, will undoubtedly steal the show with a variety of fabulous get-ups. Last year’s Dennis the Menace duvet dress put the Cara Delevingne in the carbohydrate, so to speak. Put away the plaid shirts and straight-leg jeans and really get into the spirit of things.


be a dick. Hamburger Queen might seem hilarious, grotesque, confusing, beautiful – often all at the same time. Whatever impression it leaves you with, Hamburger Queen is about plus-size liberation and a celebration of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re as big as a whale or as thin as a starving pony, the competition rejuvenates body confidence.


If this has whet your appetite, Hamburger Queen 2013 kicks off at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (Vauxhall tube) on Thursday the 7th of March. More info at:  Photos courtosy of Holly Revell @hollyrevellart 

About Gabriel Duckels

Gabriel Duckels is a writer who lives in South East London. Follow Gabriel on Twitter: @iamgabriel

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