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, spooky 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 and Jenna Davinci. Today we cover the story of legendary London Drag Queen and Twitter icon Coral DeVille.
My drag evolution
Despite being born and raised in Glasgow, Coral DeVille is a name mostly notably known within the London LGBTQ+ scene. This is because over the last nine years Coral has been living in the capital, seven of them have been spent slaying the countries best stages performing in drag.
This was a career path Coral always knew she one day wanted to pursue stating that it was her destiny to always perform.
“From doing musicals at senior school (I once played the Pirate King in the Pirates of Penzance!) to just generally being an annoying queen in a bar, drag allows me to be an extroverted version of myself.”
“In drag, I feel utterly invincible and definitely much more confident. It’s honestly like being a superstar when you walk into a venue. People want to know who you are, to talk to you and (perhaps most importantly) they want to buy you drinks!”Coral DeVille on becoming a drag queen and the amazing benefits of it.
Coral has came a long way over the last seven years and has grown immensely with her style and overall look since her first public appearance in drag.
Coral kindly sent Proudly a photo of the first time she did drag to show readers that the first step you take doing drag will one day help you reflect and show you how far you have come along your journey. We all have to start somewhere. Just always remember to give your look time and keep trying different options because only when you start putting the time and effort in is when you will finally learn and grow as an artist.
This is shown as Coral now follows a certain drag aesthetic that helps to ‘create this creature of class and sophistication.’ Coral states that she is now very particular about make-up, hair and her outfits she chooses. When you are in drag you suddenly become a brand and you must never forget to always represent that within the way you look and perform.
“I’ve always been a fashion addict. I view (good) fashion as art, and (good) drag is art. I think thats why I’m so particular about make-up, hair and my outfits. I want to look good of course, but I want there to be flair and fashion going on. Some art, some interest and something different. That’s what Coral brings.”Coral discussing her evolution in drag
The truth behind the make-up
At night audiences are treated to some show stopping performances from Coral DeVille such as the ones at the iconic London landmark, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) which is the best LGBTQ+ cabaret venue in the U.K. Although in the daytime, Coral is a complete different person.
Alongside performing Coral works full-time in the luxury fashion industry. Coral said it is a job she loves and have waited years to get. It’s part of the reason she moved to London.
Although during everyday life, she has stated that her persona completely vanishes and her personality traits out of drag couldn’t be anymore separate.
“Out of drag I really couldnt be more different. I am quite shy and reserved until I get to know someone. I think people assume I’m quite cold and stand-offish out of drag but it’s really just my shyness.”
“The thing is, out of drag there is nothing to hide behind, no bravado, no shield – and people respond to me very differently when I’m not in drag.”Coral Deville on perception outside of drag
No matter how people perceive Coral inside and out of drag Coral stated that ‘she will always treat people the same way they would like to be treated.’ Not usually an outspoken person, Coral flourishes on being kind and non-confrontational as she aren’t comfortable with the ‘effin and jeffin’ or being horrible to people. Despite that, Coral did share with Proudly that she would not shy away from throwing the occasional shade (in a fun way of course).
We feel that drag brings out a side of your personality that people didn’t even know they had before. Often described as becoming an exaggerated version of yourself whilst in drag you start to feel larger than life usually regarded as a drag force field, This feeling can empower you to feel a way you have never felt before and act in a way you wouldn’t imagine being possible in your normal day to day life.
Taking my first strut into drag
It was only when Coral moved to London that the drag scene became of interest. Although it was only when she went to Funny Girls in Blackpool for the first time that changed everything.
“This whole world I hadnt ever known about before was just so new and exciting.”
“One of the girls who worked there had moved to London a year or so after I did. We connected via Facebook and she got me into drag. My first few months experiencing drag; the make-up, wigs, dresses, heels was so fun and exciting.”Coral on how she got into drag
Sadly after playing a very important part in Coral’s decision to start doing drag, the two sadly drifted apart. This was the first big challenge for Coral who had to now adapt and join this new community all alone in which she had no experience in. This was actually the first time Coral even started doing her own make-up.
Despite receiving no help, Coral started to evolve into the iconic look queen she is today from the countless hours of practice and watching YouTube tutorials.
“I had quite a solid idea of the look I wanted. I wanted high glamour, proper w-o-m-a-n vibes. I guess thats why I was so hard on myself when I first did my own make-up. There were a few occasions where after I painted my face, I hated it so much I just didnt go out!”Coral on how hard it is at first to find your style even when you know your brand
The side of drag not everybody thinks about is the cost. Expenditure on maintaining your signature look, Drag Queens are always expected to have that wow factor every-time you enter the room. The outfits, shoes and wigs. will come at a cost alognside all the beauty products such as make-up then travel to the venue just for one night could really set you back.
Most Drag Queens fear of travelling on public services when alone due to fears of homphobia, abuse and discrimination all being to regular towards the LGBTQ+ community. Thankfully none of this has happened Coral who takes the tube a couple of times in drag but did clarify that she never feels fully safe becuase if an incident were to happen you are stuck within a box and have no way to escape.
What the UK drag scene means to me
‘The UK drag scene is just amazing. I think people expect everyone to be a drag race clone, but the UK queens are different, talented, bonkers and amazing. We need to celebrate that more. Not homogenise.’
“I was lucky enough to work with some amazing London queens when I was part of the Drama Queens working out of the Two Brewers. We did Rocky Horror together. Competition among queens is there but working as part of a group I think you all just want everyone do to well as a collective.”
“Although, for solo gigs competition is fierce. It can be bitchy. The thing is a talented, good queen is a talented good queen you know? You dont have to be vicious and bitchy all the time. Its utterly boring and immature to behave that way anyway. The energy involved to behave like that? Nah. But, I’ve been lucky, most of the queens I’ve met have been so lovely and encouraging. Like queens I view as proper legends all just genuinely lovely people. They know who they are, they know their talent so you dont get viciousness from them.”Coral Deville on what the UK drag scene means to her
What the future holds for Coral Deville
“With a death in my family early this year, and then Corona hitting hard its definitely given me time to reflect. I think all I want from my drag now is to have fun – to be glamorous and have fun.”Coral Deville on past tragic experiences that has impacted her
Sadly in 2019 Coral started developing crippling anxiety and began to cancel or not take small gigs around the UK. Coral just couldnt stomach what the nerves did to her. During the time it made Coral so desperately sad that she couldnt push herself through it. But, what happend this year changed Coral’s entire life so it’s time to set that aside for now.
After Corona? Who knows. I would like to deal with that anxiety and maybe get back on to some stages. But even if I dont, I’m still a painted glam bitch and that is enough. I’ve also performed on the iconic RVT stage so, honey, no one can take that away from me!Coral on plans after the Coronavirus pandemic finishes
A global pandemic will not silence our pride
Sadly due to coronavirus all global festivals including pride has been postponed until 2021. London was no exception to this, although they instead decided to go ahead in a way they have never done before. This concept became the first ever digital London Pride ceremony.
Alison Camps, Co-Chair of Pride in London stated the importance of still going ahead with the event virtually on the Pride in London site.
“We know how tough this year has been for our communities, which is why it’s so important that Pride celebrations and protests continue to take place this weekend – albeit in a slightly different way. By taking over some of the capital’s most recognisable landmarks with our virtual parade and messages of hope and solidarity, we’re hoping to be a light in the darkness and act as a beacon to bring our communities together again.Alison Camps Co-Chair of Pride in London source
Coral Deville also highlighted the importance of London Pride this year going ahead in a virtual format.
“It’s important now more than ever that we as part LGBTQ+ community continue to make our mark and take-up the space we rightfully deserve to have.”
“We need to be visible either together in person or together digitally. We must always push for that even during a global pandemic we need to stand-up to claim our spot and to show those who demonstrate against us that no matter what we go through that we are united and we arent going anywhere.”Coral Deville on the importance of London Pride going ahead this year
Advice for the future generations of drag
This is the last question we ask all drag queen who participate in the ‘Drag is my destiny’ series. We feel it is very important that we have now read their stories, we would want to hear what advice they would share aswell. Not only to the future generations of drag but any advice they wish they could of told their younger self too.
“My god, to my younger self I would say – dont be afraid of being different. You are enough just the way you are…. and your skin will get better!”Coral Deville on advice she would give her younger self
“To anyone thinking of experimenting with drag I would say – experiment away! Take this weird corona time and use it. Playing with make-up is a form of self-expression and art.”
“Put yourself into it, dont compare or copy, just paint what you want. Initially, dont spend loads of money either. There are some great own brands in Superdrug or Boots you can pick-up, or even Primark for quick and cheap stuff to start your baby drag pack.”
“But, most importantly, the release of self-expression and doing something thats exclusively creative will take you out of yourself and a break away from all that you are dealing with. Drag is my escape, and its immeasurable how its helped me.”Coral Deville’s advice to the future generations of drag
Coral Deville socials
We highly recommend following Coral’s social media accounts, you will be blessed with iconic looks, incredible humour and spectacular style. You will not regret it. Click on the logo’s below to check it out for yourself.