“My sexuality and even my gender is always evolving”

BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGES BY WILL IRELAND, PINPEP

Debuting on Season 3 of Drag Race UK last year, Victoria Scone made herstory as the first-ever cisgender female drag queen to compete on the franchise internationally. A famous name on the UK scene even before she stepped foot on the runway, she’s been establishing her dynasty ever since. We sat down to discuss Victoria’s exciting new collaboration with Santander UK – the Safe-Tea Campaign – being gender wobbly and finding love with her girlfriend. *fangirl squeals*

DIVA: Hi Victoria! Could you start off by telling me a little about your beginnings in drag? What started it all?

Victoria: I was originally a hopeful actress. I went to drama school and had hopes of being on the West End, but that didn’t really work out for me. I think I was a difficult casting type or I was always told I was too fat to be in the West End. I wanted to carve my own career and I didn’t want to give up. I was desperately trying to find ways myself that I could do it and self-produce things, and it just very organically happened.

I fell into the cabaret scene, and I went into pageants for a little while – I won a couple of plus-sized pageants. It all led me to drag, which I’m very grateful for. It’s what kickstarted my drag career, and then I started working residencies since I moved to Cardiff and it never really stopped. I kept getting booked, which was lovely for me.

DIVA: What inspires your drag?

I do have a love for old school British drag – we call it bastard drag. An old bloke in a wig in the corner of a bar screaming I will survive, that’s the kind of drag that I love. The entertaining drag where you can sit in a bar for hours on end and be thoroughly entertained. I’m very inspired by divas like Barbara Streisand and Shirley Bassey – big extravagant women.  

DIVA: You were the first cisgender female drag queen to compete in the entirety of the Drag Race franchise, which is amazing. What was this like for you?

Very surreal. When I started nearly a decade ago, I was a fan and we didn’t have the UK franchise. It seemed very distant, like it would never be achievable. We didn’t have a lot of gender diversity at that time when I started watching it. If I wasn’t applying myself as a drag queen, I couldn’t sort of say ‘why are there not any cis women on the show?’. So to shut myself up, I applied for it and somehow here we are.

Hopefully, it won’t just be me and we’ll have more lesbians on TV, more trans women, trans men. You’d have a lot of one thing, otherwise. It can get very boring. We have a fabulously diverse queer scene in the UK, so why wouldn’t we want to show that off?

DIVA: You had an early departure due to injury. What was that journey like for you?

It was devastating. I was the first of my kind, so I felt like I had even more to prove, and then for my body to physically betray me was very devastating. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that. I was very fortunate that I was very well received even in my whole two-and-a-half episodes that I was there for.

DIVA: In terms of coming out, what was that like for you?

I came out relatively late in my life. For me, my sexuality and even my gender is always evolving. It’s a journey. I like to describe it as gender wobbly, and I do own and adore being a lesbian. I understand that I represent a certain kind of person – I was the first cisgender woman to do Drag Race and the first lesbian – but people love putting labels on things a bit too much. I’m just a person in a lesbian relationship.

DIVA: And how did you and your girlfriend meet?

We met at work, in a very normal way. I was her supervisor so that was probably a bit naughty but I don’t work there now so it doesn’t matter anymore! When I first saw her, I said to myself, “Oh dear, I’m in trouble.” And I was very much right. It’s been very lovely, normal and natural ever since. We’ve been together for nearly three years now and it was my first serious lesbian relationship. I’m very fortunate.

DIVA: The Santander Safe-Tea campaign is an amazing partnership. What has this collaboration been like for you?

It’s so important. Over 50% of Brits have been targeted by an impersonation scam and it can happen to literally anyone – it’s something I’ve experienced. It’s such a potentially simple solution – to not act straight away, stop, have a think, have a cup of tea. Call the number on the back of your bank card and those four or five minutes could potentially save you thousands of pounds.

DIVA: Finally: if you could give a piece of advice to anyone looking to start drag, what would you say?

Absolutely do it. Drag is an art form – it’s about expression, whether expressing your masculinity, femininity or any way that you want to do that. Drag is not a box to be ticked. It’s whatever you want to make of it.

Want to hear more from Victoria? She’ll be performing in Death Drop: Back In The Habit from 27 October alongside the likes of Willam, Cheryl Hole, LoUis CYfer and River Medway. Catch her at RuPaul’s Drag Con UK in January 2023.

Santander has partnered with Drag Queen Victoria Scone to launch its Safe-Tea campaign. The herbal and caffeine-free brew, Safe-Tea, has been designed to bring about a sense of calm and encourage Brits to stop and think if they’re asked – by anyone – to transfer their money to another account. Visit Santander’s YouTube page to see more.

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