Lady Galore is one of the most famous drag queens in the Netherlands. She loves treating herself to a cocktail, a fabulous outfit, and a good time. However, she also sees that – even if the Netherlands are very liberal when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community – still many things need to be achieved. With her new book ‚Glitter maakt alles better – glitter makes everything better‘ she wants to help people that are struggling with their identities. For Couple of Men, feminist and women’s rights activist Sarah talks with Lady Galore about prejudices, being a showstopper, and marching in heels in an interview about her new book.
Interview by Sarah Tekath
How would you describe Lady Galore?
Lady Galore is a drag queen from Amsterdam, and her ego is probably bigger than her wigs are. She likes to travel. She is basically a staple within the Dutch drag scene, and she has been doing drag for over 14 years now.
What inspired you to become Lady Galore?
I think I’ve always loved drag, and I have always loved the way women dress up and make themselves pretty. When I saw my first drag queen, I was so mesmerized. And then my friends told me: „You have a weird face. You should try to put make-up on and see what happens.“ They meant it in a loving way, though. At this point, there were only a few drag queens in the city, and they all had quite distinctive faces as a man, so when they transformed into this drag queen persona, they became gorgeous women. So, I was thinking, I will give it a try and I thought I looked really pretty. Now, looking back at the photos, that was not necessarily the case. But I felt amazing.
How long does it take to get ready?
I take a long time. I must say, I don’t know how some queens can do it in an hour. Furthermore, I need about three hours to do make-up and hair. And then I require another half an hour or 45 minutes to get dressed and to leave the house.
Wow! 100 beautiful Drag Queens from the Netherlands and all over Europe are lip-synching for their life and your perfect Pre-Christmas mood, some of the most famous Christmas songs together. Watch the hilarious 12 minutes music video of Lady Galore’s popular Drag Queens United Lipdub – Christmas Edition. Happy Holidays!
How would you describe what happens to you when you become Lady Galore?
That would be a really long story. I do not really sure what happened, I just know that it happens automatically. To be honest, I hate doing the transformation. It is not my favorite part at all. I do not like the three hours of make-up. But during the transformation, something magical happens. It is the attitude or a feeling, I change so much visually, that I’d also have to act a bit different and talk a bit different. Because it would feel really weird to move like a dude while you look like a beautiful woman.
How did your friends and family react when you started doing drag?
They didn’t realize or see it when I started doing drag because they were not on my social media. I didn’t allow them to my Facebook, which was just for friends. The first time they saw me was probably on the news. I don’t know I fit was a shock, but they also knew that they couldn’t tell me anything. This was my world and my life and if they wanted a relationship with me, they’d just have to accept it.
What does drag mean to you?
Drag means for me that I am able to be and live the fantasy that I want to live at that moment. And for me, that is the female fantasy, looking glamorous, going into a bar, and having all the eyes on you. I always thought, if I was a woman, I’d be a showstopper. I’d be one of these women that walks into a bar and six guys would offer her a drink. Of course, it is just a fantasy, but that’s kind of how I feel when I am in drag. I am gorgeous and nobody is going to tell me anything.
To be honest, for me, drag is entertainment. I am an entertainer and I love it when people look at me and find it amazing. I always want to make everyone happy, and I want them to feel loved and welcome. And that is what drag can do for people.
You have recently published your first book. What is it about?
There is so much in the book. To be honest, I made this book because I felt that I could tell a story. So, it is a biography, it is about my life which has not been easy. But is also “gay for dummies”, as it explains all the important terms of LGBTQIA+ or where the rainbow flag comes from, why are their new colors added and what do they mean. So, it is also an explanation of the queer culture plus a lot of information about drag and also mental health. Because in the past I was struggling with depression and bullying. With this book, I wanted to tell people my story and I wanted them to learn what to do and what not to do. I also wanted to inform them where they could go if they needed help. So, it is not a self-help book, but that’s kind of what I wanted it to be a little bit.
You are currently receiving a lot of attention because of your book, and you are also all over Dutch media. Does this sometimes get too much for you?
Oh, yes. Because I love the attention in drag, but as myself, I like that I can go to the supermarket and by toilet paper without people talking about that Lady Galore needs to poop. I love being anonymous. So, it does get a little too much for me, but I am not going to complain about having too much work at the moment. Because I have not been working for a year and a half and now that things are picking back up, I am super busy. But I am not going to complain about being too busy. Because I am living my dream, and I am so happy that I get to tell the story about drag and the wonders of the drag world.
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Of course, we already got our copy, signed! The book is full of important info about the LGBTQ+ community, recipes, and plenty of glitter. Now available on Amazon for the Netherlands and the whole world!
Tip: The perfect Christmas present!
What does it take to become a successful drag queen?
I think personality and drive are the most important parts. Creativity would also definitely help. If you have the drive, you can learn anything. You can learn how to do make-up and hair or how to perform. But the drive and the personality need to be there. If you walk into a bar and just sit there as a very shy person – and of course, you can also overcome shyness – at least the personality needs to be there. It takes something that makes you unique.
What are the biggest challenges of being a drag queen?
I think prejudice is a really big challenge because people sometimes believe that you have to explain yourself a lot. And I often don’t want to do that. That’s why I love going to a gay bar or any place with a rainbow flag because then I don’t have to explain myself.
Safety is another struggle. And that’s the weird part for me. As a man, I can dress up like a dog, a monster, or a witch for Halloween, but when I dress up as a woman, some people seem to have a problem with that. That is definitely a challenge for me because I need to be safe. I should be able to walk to a location in drag without being harassed or attacked. But unfortunately, in Amsterdam, that’s not possible in most places. Of course, there are places where it is fine, but there are also places where I get spit at or people call me names.
Do you have to face hate comments and hate speech online?
I get a lot of hate messages and death threats occasionally. But I don’t let it get to me that much. I am just a deleted and block type of person. And of course, people can have different opinions, that’s fine, but there need to be respected.
Do you consider drag a form of activism?
I have always used my drag as a visual art form, and I am using the attention that I get as a drag queen, I can do something positive. So for me, it was always clear that if there was a protest, I’d be there in drag. Because then I’d get noticed and with getting noticed, it might end up in the news, and then we get attention for our message. Every so often, I also go to protests as myself – especially when it is not about LGBT – because then I know it doesn’t evolve around me. But I fit affects me, then I will definitely try to get as much attention as possible.
And unfortunately, wearing flat shoes is still something that is very much looked down upon in the drag scene. But just because it is uncomfortable to walk and join a march in heels, doesn’t mean you don’t have to be there.
From your standpoint, is the Netherlands tolerant towards LGBT?
If you compared it with other countries, I think we are doing really good. It used to be way more tolerant in the 90s and 2000s. It has really changed in the last decade. Amsterdam, which I knew from 15 years ago, is no longer the Amsterdam I experience today. We really need to keep working on it, and this is why Pride is so important. Because people need to see diversity and different people. It is a celebration of being able to be who you want to be.
What are the changes that you’d like to see in Dutch society, and how can we achieve that?
There is this Dutch saying ‚Doe maar normaal dandoe je al gek genoeg‘ – “Act normal, that’s already crazy enough”. And I think we really need to get rid of this stupid saying. Why do we have to act normal? And who decides what’s normal? I think people should be freer to be who they want to be and to be who they are. Because many people are trying to fit the norm of what society thinks they should be. But in the end, if people were just themselves, that would be the best. And I think Amsterdam and the Netherlands have this potential.
Lady Galore, thank you very much for the interview.
Sarah & Karl & Daan.
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