Jewish drag queens drop into the capital

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Jewish drag queens drop into the capital

The return of DragCon UK brought heel wearers of the faith to town

Dockland’s Excel was awash with feathers, heels and hair last weekend when thousands turned up for World of Wonder’s DragCon UK which  opened with a ribbon cutting by iconic drag queen RuPaul.

Having watched all 14 series of BBC’s RuPaul’s Drag Race (season 15 is on now) fan Madison Grant-Gold saw DragCon UK as an opportunity to chat to the Jewish participants from around the globe, notably drag queen,  Joey Jay, who describes his drag persona as the ‘Jewish princess’.

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Joey who starred in season 13 and was dressed in vivid blue with a red feather stole, was only too happy to talk about his faith to  Madison as he has a lot of Jewish fans among his 271K followers on insta.


Joey Jay with Madison and Utica (queenutica) who has 491K followers

“I grew up Jewish, went to Hebrew school and Hebrew camp, but we were really, really poor, so I couldn’t afford to get a barmitzvah,” said Joey who was reassured by his bubbe. “She was Orthodox and told me I could get a barmitzvah at any age, so until that happens I’d say I’m Jew-ish.”              Joey also had some advice for those who do drag, but are afraid to share it. “Do what makes you happy,” he said. “Just have an open mind. No one should tell you how to live your life.”

The convention, which celebrates the art of drag and self-expression, is a chance for those who do drag professionally or just for fun to rub padded shoulders, including drag artists with Down’s syndrome who call themselves Drag Syndrome.

Another face of the faith at DragCon UK was Michelle Visage (real name Michelle Lynn Shupack), a veteran judge on the show, who loves it when there’s a Jewish contestant. “It’s an automatic identity,” Michelle said. “I love it when their faith becomes part of their [drag] identity. It’s mishpocha.”

Before saying farewell to the dazzling drag queens,  Joey Jay had some crucial advice for  Madison to pass on to   drag novices. “Prepare to be ugly in the beginning. I took a picture of myself every time I painted my face for the first six months, and it was wild. But that’s how you learn. One day you’re going to think, ‘I’m fierce right now.’”

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