INTERVIEW: PlastiQ on pretending to be Lady Gaga, going “totally off the rails” and gracing the stage at the O2 Academy

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Newcastle DJ and cabaret performer PlastiQ is on the bill of what promises to be one of the most exciting shows of the year for drag fans. Stars from mega hit US TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race, as well as home grown talent and the odd living legend, will be taking to the stage at the O2 Academy Newcastle next month for the Klub Kids Comedy Christmas Extravaganza.

And looking at the now polished performer who is quickly becoming one of the best-known faces in North East drag, she’s certainly come a long way from once being described by Boulevard’s Miss Rory as “a little bit sloppy and a little bit messy.”

“I first got into drag for a talent competition back when I was a member of the youth Parliament (really) in 2010,” she tells me. “It wasn’t really drag – I was pretty much a boy in a lace jumpsuit and blonde wig dancing around the stage pretending to be Lady Gaga.”

Donning wigs and commanding an audience would become more prominent in her life when she entered Drag Idol, an X Factor-style contest for amateur drag queens, last year, which she describes as her “first true attempt” at drag. 

“My make-up was shocking but my outfit was cute.”

Each week in the competition, much like The X Factor, the performers take on a theme as they are eliminated one by one before taking to the grand stage at Boulevard in the final. Although there was no backstabbing or Showgirls-style sabotage in the race for the crown. “Drag Idol never felt like a competition. I feel we had a really strong year and it gave birth to a lot of the new drag queens that have become regular faces on the Newcastle scene,” she says, with a flip of Marilyn-esque blonde hair. “But everyone was really good friends and we all wanted to see each other succeed.

I was happy with my experience and owe my entire career to it.”

She came third in the contest and went out on a high, with praise from the judges and local press, although the good times didn’t last for long. “After Drag Idol, if I’m 100 per cent honest I totally went off the rails. The popularity of the competition opened me up to a lot of people who were poisonous to my life without me realising. I fell into the wrong crowds and doing things I really shouldn’t have been and it wasn’t until months afterwards I started getting my life together. I have no regrets when it comes to the decisions I made following the competition, I’m just glad I learnt from them.”

Weeding out said ‘poisonous’ influences allowed PlastiQ to kick start her career properly. “When I finally sorted myself out I started working for Project:Homo in Sunderland. Then around Newcastle and I think I’ve worked everywhere now!

In January, I had the pleasure of performing in an interim show at Funny Girls in Blackpool and hosted the main stage at Newcastle Pride with the fabulous Gloria Hole.”

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Above: Hosting the main stage at Newcastle Pride with Gloria Hole

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The Christmas Comedy Extravaganza, which will play host to Drag Race alum like Alaska and Willam, as well as legendary drag queen Lady Bunny and Newcastle’s own Miss Rory, is being produced by Klub Kids. The alternative club promoters, headed up by DJ and businessman Andrew Hoyle and inspired by the cult film Party Monster, has become one of the most popular outlets for more left-of-field performers. What do you expect from a company whose newest club night is called Hooker Knees?

“Klub Kids has opened a lot of opportunities for me, including the Christmas Comedy show. It was a really exciting opportunity for me and obviously I jumped at the chance,” she says, adding that she is most excited to see ‘legendary’ drag queen Lady Bunny perform. “I’m looking forward to it as it’ll give people an opportunity to see me in a different light as most people aren’t aware that I do stand-up as they’re so used to seeing me in a DJ box.”

And after the show is over?

“I’ve loads of things in the pipeline. I’m going to continue working with Gloria and Anna (Morphic, another Newcastle queen) on our shows. I’m also working on producing a solo show that I hope to debut next year at some point. It’ll be a good mix of cabaret and stand-up. Well that’s the hope!

I have a lot of TV stuff that I wish I could say more about but I’m sworn to secrecy. But it’s all very exciting!”

She may have lost the Drag Idol competition but she won a host of fans, and in bagging high profile gigs, she’s proving all that glitters isn’t always gold…sometimes it’s PlastiQ.

Klub Kids Newcastle presents…Comedy Christmas Extravaganza is at the O2 Academy on December 11. For tickets, call the box office on 0844 477 2000 or online here

Photos: LAH Photography, Louise Crosby and Junkyard Studios

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