Ahead of her return to the #gayleeds scene at The Loft (above Queens Court) on Fridays, we caught up with #DivaStarlet and Wakefield Battle of the Drag champion Mystique.
GY- We’re excited to see you back in #gayleeds at Loft (above Queens Court) on Fridays, but tell us exactly where have you been and what have you been up to?
Mystique- Hi, well as I’m sure most of you know I work as a drag queen, a freelance makeup artist and for Benefit Cosmetics in John Lewis. I’ve been concentrating on perfecting the art of female makeup (which is a lot harder than it seems). I work with Timmy’s wife, Natalie (I suppose she needs a mention since she’s like my mentor and spirit animal, oh and my manager) and she been really supportive in trying to get me to progress within the company, focusing on the more creative side of Benefit. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 3 months!
GY- You’re an old pro when it comes to drag now, there seems to be a new generation of Drag Kings and Queens. Are there any you think we should watch out for in the future?
Mystique- Up and coming? I think this generation have got to work so much harder because there’s so many of them! It’s all about the looks these days, who can be most creative and inventive? #gaybradford has a pretty formidable set of queens, Ellis, Indie, Ronan, Bobbi etc they’re gonna go far with their makeup talents, but I’m more old school. I prefer someone who can stand there and make me LAUGH! There’s not been one of those in a while, but I have to say Riley Vyrus.
Riley is everywhere and tries her hardest in everything, even with knock backs, she doesn’t give in! Oh and Elliot Broadfoot. He’s not a drag queen but he’s definitely a queen, his voice is phenomenal and he’s one of the funniest people I know! I’d definitely watch out for him, he’s a star in the making!
GY- Do you class yourself as LGBT? Or do you think these labels are pretty old fashioned?
Mystique- Isn’t it LGBTQ or something now? I do identify as gay so I’d have to yes, I do. But I don’t run around screaming it, mainly because you can just tell I’m gay. I don’t think the label is old fashioned, I think some people’s perceptions and attitudes towards it can be!
GY- The Freedom Bridge is finally painted on Lower Briggate, what do you think of this? Is it a waste of money or an expression of sexuality and a signpost highlighting #gayleeds as a safe space?
Mystique- Obviously it highlights that it’s an LGBT community, but I wouldn’t say a waste of money. At the end of the day the bridge needed some TLC, so why not give it a makeover worthy of the place it is in It’s definitely eye-catching!
GY- You performed at many Pride events as part of the Starlets. Can you tell us about your most memorable Pride moment (keep it clean)?
Mystique- It would probably have to be Newcastle Pride. The starlets and I had to drive from Leeds in two separate cars, I was with Uma and our driver and OBVIOUSLY, because I was with Uma things had to go wrong (she does these things on purpose I swear). We got dropped off at the opposite end of this field to where the pride was, and we had to HIKE over mud, grass, and hills to get to the performance area, plus walk around this large pond, all the while with our choreographer and manager Rachel (owner of the ‘Dance Planner’ company) ringing us asking where we were, how long we will be, whilst carrying costumes, heels, and wigs! Safe to say we needed a bevy or 5 when we got there! I think I also threw up in my mouth at one point…all in days work!
GY- You’re home city of Wakefield has seen a dramatic change over the years with many pubs and clubs struggling, why do you think this is?
Mystique- I think the main reason is because larger cities are more accessible. It’s just as cheap to get a train to #gayleeds for a night out then go to #gaywakefield. Plus transport runs later or sharing a taxi back is just as cheap. There’s more to do in Leeds, Manchester etc so why would you want to go somewhere small and local when you could spend an extra few pounds and go somewhere bigger, busier and better? Shame really because I used to love going to #gaywakefield when I was younger and it was always so busy!
GY- Tell us about your first time in an ‘LGBT’ venue?
Mystique- My first time…was in Queens Court actually! I was 18 and out shopping in Leeds with my friend. We called in mid afternoon for a drink and I didn’t get home until 4 am the next day, that’s all I remember of it! Haha
GY- Your new night at Loft (#gayleeds) on Fridays is pretty exciting, tell us a little about it?
Mystique- One it’s going to be amazing! The Leeds Scene was always known for the Loft, but it was in dire need of some TLC which has finally been done (Thanks to Simon) so it looks fresh and new, plus it’s still got its iconic podiums and poles! #FratFridays is more aimed towards the younger generation (or anyone that loves cheap drinks and current music) so you have the fabulous me playing anything from cheese to chart, drinks from just £2 (on a Friday in Leeds! Mental!), the gorgeous QC bar staff may dress up for the occasion I’m sure, plus we’re open till late! It’s just going to be one big party with high energy, good music, good atmosphere and of course good drinks!
GY- Your old Starlet pal Timmy J Wright will be taking on Saturday nights at The Loft, is this a rivalry or is it great to be working again under the same roof?
Mystique- Nah we’re in on different days I don’t need to see him (just kidding). It’s Timmy I have to thank for suggesting me in the first place! I’ve always got along with Timmy and always classed him as a best friend, he’ll do anything for anyone and he knows what he’s doing within the nightlife scene! He’s the one who helped me become the drag queen I am today plus taught me how to DJ, so I suppose I look up to him, especially his energy and charisma, that’s one of a kind! Our nights are different from each other’s so don’t see it as a rivalry. Our nights are the polar opposite to each other’s and also different to what’s downstairs in QC! So there’s something for everyone!
GY- We know you love your make up, can you give the girls (boys and gender neutral) individuals out there one makeup tip?
Mystique- One makeup tip? Jesus this is difficult…erm…I’d say my one makeup time would be to start any makeup look with a good base, whether it be your eyes, face, lips, a good base. The more flawless it is the more polished the look will be! If you need any more advice, follow me on Instagram and Facebook. Haha, shameless plug there! (@mystqiue_official & Mystique MBM).