Lights, camera, drag
Welcome to a series on Proudly.blog where we will be given the chance to speak to the biggest and the best artists that the UK drag scene has to offer. Our drag culture thrives on being unique, uncensored and unexpected. When you go to a drag show in the UK you will never know what you are in for.
As a country we posses a certain ‘charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent‘ unlike any other making us quintessentially British. We promise you that what you saw on the first series of RuPauls Drag Race UK was just a little snippet of what the true drag community of Britain is like.
Across the country there are phenomenal trans and non-binary drag queens, DragPunk queens, monster queens, bearded queens and genderf*ck mavericks from all sorts of backgrounds that will challenge your ideologies of what a drag queen should look like.
It is an honour to showcase these phenomenal performers and share their incredible stories here on Proudly.blog. Drag for me is a huge part of the LGBTQ+ community and it is time to give them the platform they deserve. So sit back, relax and let us show you the stories about the fiercest queens in British herstory.
Our aim is to share these incredible stories from these amazing queens to hopefully inspire the next generation of drag queens. We have already shared the story of Birmingham’s own Yshee Black who was the first black Drag Queen to obtain a regular residency in the city. Today Proudly interviewed a drag queen Yshee Black regards as her drag mother, Jenna Davinci.
Hi Babs it’s Jenna Davinci!
Jenna Davinci is a drag queen and show producer from Birmingham, resident at The Nightingale Club (Birminghams biggest LGBTQ+ venue) and their pronouns are they/them.
For anybody who is a fan of drag culture, Jenna Davinci is one of the first names that will come to mind on reccommended acts you need to see whilst exploring Birmingham’s gay village. If you ever get the chance to watch a Jenna Davinci show we urge you to attend as we promise you it will be a show-stopping performance like no other. Although doing drag is not the only talent Jenna processes, Jenna also works a full-time job as a hair stylist whilst juggling producing events and doing drag
“Firstly, thank you so much for having me be apart of this interview, Proudly is a fantastic blog and it’s a pleasure to be apart of it.”Jenna Davinci thanking Proudly for writing this article.
It is an honour to share Jenna’s story on Proudly.blog, this interview is something we have been wanting to arrange for a long time as we are huge fans of their looks, performances and overall drag persona. We would highly reccomend following Jenna’s Instagram to see some of their iconic looks. Jenna even morphed into this Mamma Mia fantasy that we had to share with you.
How it all began
“I first learnt about the world of drag from first coming onto the scene many years ago and seeing the local residents of Birmingham’s gay scene, the likes of Miss Marty, Gavina and Twiggy. After seeing them I started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, starting finding online videos of lipsync artists like the legendary Lypsinka and something just sparked.”Jenna on what inspired them to get into the world of drag.
Jenna used to play around and experiment with makeup in their teens and it all just clicked as something they are passionate about and knew they could flourish in.
“When I first started doing drag my style was very spooky, over time I started experimenting more with styles, makeup and celebrity impersonation. And now 5 years later, I’m pretty happy with where I am in terms of my aesthetic now – still a little spooky but a good mix of glam/fashion/camp.”Jenna Davinci on their evolution of their drag over time
Spooky drag is a unique style within the drag community that gains a special amount of interest. Such as the iconic spooky queen Yvie Oddly who found success on RuPauls Drag Race by winning season 11. Alongside this Dragula winners Vander Von Odd, Biqtch Puddin and Landon Cider. Something we felt was missing on last years highly anticipated RuPauls Drag Race UK. With an incredible array of spooky and imaginative queens such as Charity Kase, Cheddar Gorgeous and Sister Fibrosis we feel season two of the popular competition will hopefully showcase this imgainative aspect of drag and provide viewers with something they have never seen before.
When Jenna first started doing drag in Birmingham they were shocked that there was no performance spaces for new aspiring entertainers, in Birmingham it took a couple of years for performance nights like “Second Self” (an underground performance night) to crop up.
“So myself and my closest friends and fellow performers Dahliah Rivers, Nora Virus, Elliott Barnicle and my partner Jay Andre produce a show called “Mother’s Meeting”. We’ve been doing shows together now for 2 years and it’s something I’m immensely proud of, recently we’ve had a lot of success and recognition with our digital shows.”
“Birmingham is full of amazing performers and personalities, I wanted to create a night that gave opportunities and a platform to all types of performers from our scene and really showcase what we have to offer, while also bringing well known talent from all around the U.K. to Birmingham.”Jenna Davinci on starting up Mothers Meeting
Hopefully once the pandemic has ended or calmed down, Mother’s Meeting can start again as they have some really brilliant ideas that they can’t wait to share with Birmingham audiences.
Jenna is currently performing at a socially-distant-outdoor-show in the works called Desperate Dragthings at The Fox in Birmingham. With the long-awaited return of The Nightingale Club last week, we know it won’t be long until Jenna returns to the main stage at the famous Kent Street LGBTQ+ venue.
Aspirations and ambitions
Jenna’s aspirations in drag is just to make people laugh and to give everyone a safe space to express themselves and to enjoy queer entertainment.
Jenna is somebody who would go out of their way just to make sure any upcoming performer feels comfortable and supported. This is a common trend amongst Drag Queens in Birmingham who have created an incredible community of supporting new and exciting performers. Supporting new performers on the scene is important and if you want to try and break into a scene, the only advice Jenna would give is that it’s a two-way street.
“You need to respect the people that were there before and realise that you don’t get handed opportunities just because you’ve put on some drags – you need support the scene, the events, enter competitions or open mic spaces.”
“You could be the best performer that the world has ever seen, but if you don’t support those around you and you’re not supported back… then you won’t really get anywhere.”Jenna Davinci on the importance of supporting the next generation of performers
A great example of this is a break out star from Birmingham called Black Peppa, they’ve only been on the scene and doing drag for a short amount of time but has achieved so much and gained notoriety in the U.K. because they’re not only incredibly talented, but they’re supportive of their scene and local events and has always worked hard.
When Proudly interviewed Yshee Black she also told us that Jenna played a huge part in helping her evolve as a drag Queen and even regards Jenna as her “drag mother.”
“Yshee refers to me as her drag mother because I helped a lot in the start, we did a lot of gigs together, I even did her makeup throughout the start of her drag career… but I don’t like using the term “drag mother” with her because it would insinuate that I have more experience or that I have stuff to teach her or guide her, Yshee is such an incredible talent that she’s doing more than great off her own back, I was just there to support her.”
“Seeing her over the years grow and grow to the point that she’s on billboards is such a special thing and I have no doubt she’ll only get bigger.”Jenna Davinci on her relationship in drag with Yshee Black
The importance of pride
Sadly this year’s Birmingham Pride live event was postponed until May 2021. Although Birmingham Pride still made a huge impact this year by putting on their first ever digital pride event in history. Birmingham have always been renowened for being inclusive and creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ community members and allies. This was shown last week when Birmingham introduced two ‘Walk With Pride‘ rainbow crossings inside the cities gay village on the Southside district.
As an importnat figure within the LGBTQ+ community in Birmingham Jenna was asked to perform at this years first ever Birmingham digital pride. This is what Jenna had to say about what it was like to be lucky enough to have been involved in this years historic event.
“The theme this year for Birmingham Pride was Stronger Together, I think with the issues we’ve experienced/experiencing in the world at the moment from the isolation from COVID-19, the rolling back on trans rights, the calling out of abuse, systematic racism… we needed to hear a reminder from the queer community that we are still here and we are stronger together.”
“We should never forget the true meaning of Pride, it’s not about the concert, the pop stars or a piss up – it’s about coming together as a community, celebrating that we’re still here and fighting for our rights, especially the rights of our trans family and POC.”Jenna Davinci on the bigger meaning and message of pride
This year was political, reflective and was probably one of the closest to the meaning of pride that we’ve had in years.
Advice for the future generations of drag
“If I had any advice for my younger self, it’s to not take anything too serious and know there’s a family out there for you. The LGBTQIA+ community is so beautiful and I felt adopted when I didn’t have any blood family to rely on after being made homeless from being gay in my teens.”
“If I had any advice to give to anyone introducing themselves into the scene, or is anxious about it, it would be to just jump right in – go to drag shows, go to community events. There is a sober day-time event here in Birmingham that’s called Circle, which is an LGBTQIA+ mental health and well-being community event, if you want to dip your toe into the queer scene I would recommend to pop over to it if you’re in the area. It’s just a fab day that has no alcohol involved, just everyone gets together to play board games/video games, watch films and just socialise so it’s great to make friends.”Jenna Davinci’s advice to their younger self and any inspiring Drag Queens for the future.