back to top

7 People In Real Life Vs. Their Drag Characters

The differences between performers in and out of drag is more than just skin-deep.

Posted on

Gathering seven drag queens for a photo shoot is every bit as fabulous as you might expect. Everything, from the hair and makeup to the clothes and accessories, is put together with exact precision. It's an art. But what are the differences between the performers in real life and their drag characters? BuzzFeed UK sat the queens down for some quickfire questions to find out.

James Cawson aka Maxi More

What are the three things you’d take with you if you were stranded on an island?

James: A lifetime supply of marijuana to keep me entertained, I’d take art supplies so that I could stay creative and maybe leave some amazing artwork for someone to discover after I’ve died, and my cat.

Maxi: I would be in survival mode, so that would be eyelash glue, safety pins, and hairspray. Then I could probably stay on the island for a fair time without my makeup getting too ratchet.

If you could freeze your life at any age, what age would it be?

James: I probably wouldn’t pick one. I’m up for the journey and I’ll always want something else and I’ll always be chasing that other thing. So I doubt I’d be content enough to be like, "Right, I’ll just sit here now."

Maxi: I feel like drag, you get given these very brief moments of intense glamour and intense spotlight and opulence, and they’re not real at all, they’re complete fantasy. But to get stuck at a Life Ball, for instance, would be pretty fun. With a lifetime supply of gowns.

If you could be famous for anything, what would it be?

James: If I could be famous for anything it would be as an artist of some kind. To be recognised as an artist.

Maxi: I would like to be most famous for being London’s tallest drag queen.

What is your favourite alcoholic drink?

James: Out of drag I don’t really drink that much at all. It would probably be marijuana-infused alcohol.

Maxi: In drag it would be a brandy and Coke. I drink a lot more gin and tonics, but I do like a brandy and Coke and if you want to get me trashed, that’s what I’ll be drinking.

If you could be an animal, what would you be?

James: I’m hoping to come back in my next life as a cat. I think sleeping 20 hours a day and then meowing for everything else would be pretty nice, and I’d look cute 100% of the time.

Maxi: I’d probably be some weird bird of paradise. Some overly flamboyant, very colourful, squawky bird that when the first time you saw it you’d be like "whoa", but then after a while you’d think it was actually quite annoying.

Maxi More can be found on Instagram and Facebook.


Jacob Mallinson Bird aka Dinah Lux

What's the first thing you’d buy with a million pounds?

Jacob: The whole Gucci collection. All Alessandro Michele Gucci. Like literally anything he’s ever touched.

Dinah: Duct tape. I’d also love those beautiful marabou-sleeved dressing gowns.

Where would your ideal holiday be?

Jacob: I’d pick somewhere really far away, like Madagascar. Somewhere I’ve never been before.

Dinah: Straight to New York. That’s where Dinah was born.

What is your ideal Friday night?

Jacob: Jacob would be with friends in a bar or at someone’s house chilling, with lots of people there and getting quite pissed. A house party or something.

Dinah: Dinah would be just glamour. Full-on, like, latex dress.

If you could be famous for anything, what would it be?

Jacob: As Jacob I’d like to be a famous musician or musicologist. Or some kind of speaker.

Dinah: My dream is to be invited to the Met Gala, so I need to be famous for that. Just being pretty. Just really fucking pretty. And like, best tuck in the world.

What's your favourite movie?

Jacob: The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – my first forays into the world of drag sitting behind my grainy VHS in Essex.

Dinah: Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. I think that movie is iconic and their outfits are inspired at the end. And the interpretive dance is possibly the best thing I’ve seen in my life.

Dinah Lux can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and TEDx Talks.


Andrew Burt aka Virgin Xtravaganzah

What is the first thing you’d buy with a million pounds?

Andrew: Property, if a million pounds is even enough to buy property in London these days.

Virgin: I think Virgin has everything, she’s the mother of God. But I think she’d just want to spend it. She’d just want to get rid of it. So she’d go on a really epic shopping spree and then probably go on holiday.

Which member of the Spice Girls would you be?

Andrew: I think I’d be Scary because I tend to be a bit of a freak. I can be a weirdo and proud of it.

Virgin: Virgin would be Posh. All those stoic, icy stares – she’d totally be Posh.

If you could freeze your life at any age, what age would it be?

Andrew: I’d freeze myself at the age of 4 or 6. I feel like I had my shit together when I was 4. I was confident and I didn’t give a shit. Then high school happens and bullying happens, and I became really scared to be myself. So I feel like now my life is about regaining what I lost in that really pure time.

Virgin: I think for Virgin, the time she would freeze would also be childhood.

What is your favourite colour?

Andrew: I like black. It’s like everything altogether, and there’s so many different shades of it. There’s so much you can do with it. It says a lot.

Virgin: Black. It’s powerful.

What is your favourite possession?

Andrew: My wedding ring. I’ve been married for eight years and I’m very happy. My life got much better when I met my husband.

Virgin: It’d be easy to say her headpieces because they are fabulous. But I think for her, it would be her sacred heart.

Virgin Xtravaganzah can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Gordon Warburton aka The Notorious V.A.G.

If you could be best friends with any celebrity, who would it be?

Gordon: Gale Weathers, from the Scream movies, because she’s a boss and hair goals.

VAG: I don’t think there’s anybody that would be comparable. I think VAG is very much her own person and she doesn’t need anybody else or validation. She would be the person that celebrities come to to be her friend.

What word would your best friend use to describe you?

Gordon: Probably honest. I’m very black and white, there’s no grey area. I’m very honest and there’s a directness.

VAG: VAG would probably be described more as an enigma. She’s something that can’t quite be explained.

On a scale of 1–5, how confident are you?

Gordon: Gordon is very much a 1. As Gordon I can be very shy, head down, and have very awkward conversations with people.

VAG: VAG would be a 5 because she’s not asking for validation. And that’s why I did this [drag], because it gave me more confidence. If I’m in drag, I can speak to anybody and show my body off. It’s a very weird transition.

Which member of the Spice Girls would you be?

Gordon: I always liked Victoria.

VAG: All five of them represent different aspects of being a woman and I think VAG as a creation embodies that. I don’t think VAG could choose; she’d have to be all five.

If you could freeze your life at any age, what would it be?

Gordon: At the moment I’d freeze now and I wouldn’t change, because I’m in a very good place for the first time in a very long time. I’m very happy as I am.

VAG: VAG is timeless. She’s constant development, so I don’t think you could freeze her. She’ll keep on going forever.

The Notorious V.A.G can be found on Twitter and Instagram.



Thom Glow aka Vanity Von Glow

If you could freeze your life at any age, what age would it be?

Thom: It’s funny because as Thom my age isn’t frozen, but I feel like Vanity’s is and will be for at least another decade. I think she’s, like, 31 but I think she’ll stay 31 even when I’m 41.

Vanity: I think she’d refuse to accept the premise of the question. She’d probably say something like, “Don’t be so ridiculous, why would we freeze time? Surely if we had the ability to do so we’d wind it back."

If you could be best friends with any celebrity, who would it be?

Thom: I love Paloma Faith. I actually think we get on really well. She and I were both at a party that Paris Hilton threw a couple of years ago and she ran over to me while I was in drag. I had huge flowers in my hair, so I looked Paloma-esque and she was like, “You look amazing!”

Vanity: Vanity doesn’t really have much use for friends. She finds them to be an inconvenience, too full of opinion.

On a scale of 1–5, how confident are you?

Thom: If 5 is the highest level of confidence and that means you can go up to anybody and ask them any question, then I’m 5. I think confidence is a trick you tell yourself. Confidence doesn’t mean you’re comfortable with things, it just means you’re able to do it anyway.

Vanity: Vanity would also answer 5. Or perhaps even 7.

What is your favourite pizza topping?

Thom: I really like jalapeño, spicy thangs. But also I’m one of those annoying gluten-free people so it has to be gluten-free and very, very thin.

Vanity: Vanity only eats for sustenance. The pleasures of fine dining are strictly social for her.

If you could be famous for anything, what would it be?

Thom: I want to make people laugh. I want to also move them. That’s why I do the types of shows that I do: reminding people that there’s stuff to laugh about, but also not to laugh at the expense of experiencing your melancholy too.

Vanity: Well, Vanity already is internationally renowned. She’s an icon. A global diva. She’d probably like even greater fame and notoriety for killing Mariah Carey.

Vanity Von Glow can be found on Twitter, YouTube, and her website.


Shane Konno aka ShayShay

If you could freeze your life at any age, what age would it be?

Shane: I would probably freeze my last year of university, because I had too much fun.

Shay: As ShayShay I wouldn’t want to freeze because I feel like coming up, there’s going to be even bigger things. I’m doing bigger things every week, achieving new goals that I didn’t think I’d be doing for years. I can’t freeze because I’m on the move.

What is your favourite possession?

Shane: The most valuable possession I have is my two passports, because I have an American passport and an Irish passport. The world is a little less closed for me.

Shay: I’m always moving, so objects have less meaning to me. But both in and out of drag, my favourite possession is my great grandparents’ kimonos, which nobody knew existed until after my grandparents had died.

What is your favourite movie?

Shane: Eyes Wide Shut. Stanley Kubrick freaks me the fuck out but I love it. I’m a sucker for cinematography.

Shay: Probably Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It was one of the first times I saw drag queens beyond just “drag queens”. You get to see them behind the scenes and their real struggles. It was the first time I’d seen a story about someone who was trans. That blew my mind.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Shane: I’m a Californian hippie at heart. I’m such a chilled bro sometimes that I would want to live back in California, on the cliffs of Marin where there’s the beach and the woodlands. And then I’d never have to deal with society.

Shay: As ShayShay I have to be in a big city, and right now London is where I’m meant to be.

What is the first thing you’d buy with a million pounds?

Shane: I would buy my mum a house in Ireland so she could move back there. She lives in California but she wants to retire to Ireland.

Shay: I would hire the most amazing seamstress and I would have them make me all the costumes I’ve ever wanted. What I’ve realised is I don’t have the money for it and in the end people are going to remember my performance and not what I’m wearing. If I’m not memorable, clothes aren’t going to help the situation.

ShayShay can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Dominic Falquero aka Cola Phalquero

Which member of the Spice Girls would you be?

Dom: Geri, because I’m gobby and feminist and a lot dumber than I think I am.

Cola: Cola would be Geri too but I think she has Posh Spice tendencies. She likes a bit of fashion.

If you could freeze your life at any age, what age would it be?

Dom: Just any age before I die is good. I’m terrified of death.

Cola: Cola is not terrified of death because she doesn’t exist on the physical plain permanently. She doesn’t really have to worry about that sort of thing. She’s allowed to live forever.

If you could be best friends with any celebrity, who would it be?

Dom: I’d like to be best friends with Rufus Wainwright, because we could both talk about having deep, laconic voices that a lot of people get sick of. We’d bond over that.

Cola: I think Michelle Pfeiffer, but she has to remain in character as Catwoman the whole time.

What is your favourite swear word?

Dom: I know it’s really bad, but cunt. I fucking love a good c-bomb.

Cola: Cola is already a c-bomb. She’s like “Hi, my name’s Cola, my jizz will rot your teeth.”

What is your favourite possession?

Dom: My Kindle. I love the Kindle because I fucking love reading. It’s so much fun.

Cola: Absolutely the phone. How else is she going to take selfies?

Cola Phalquero can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and in this video.

All photographs taken at the Smashbox Studio Store, London


Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss