Bio queens: Just as much a queen as the boys

Girls as drag queens, what‘s that about? Kristrún Hrafnsdóttir, alias Jenny Purr, and Ingunn Mía Blöndal, aka Ursula Vanity, will be on stage at the 10th show of Drag-Súgur this Friday and show you how it‘s done. To get to know them and their queens better, GayIceland summoned them to a café and put them through a third degree interrogation. The first question was: What is a female drag queen?

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Ingunn, a.k.a. Ursula Vanity.

“Some people call us bio queens, as in biological queens, but I define myself only as queen,“ says Kristrún Hrafnsdóttir, better known as the drag queen Jenny Purr when I ask her and Ingunn Mía Blöndal, alias Ursula Vanity, about their performances as drag queens. “Others refer to girl queens as faux queens but that‘s just stupid. We are every bit as much queens as the boys. Those definitions are just restricting. Gender does not come into this.“

“I think drag has reached the state where it is fluid,“ Ingunn adds. “You don‘t have to define yourself. I‘m just performing as queen, I can define myself as bio queen or gender fuck or whatever, that‘s not the point. We just have to be fluid and accept people as they are.“

“Totally,“ says Kristrún. “You no longer have to be clean-shaven to be a drag queen. There are three bearded queens on our group, that‘s no longer an issue.“

How would you describe Jenny Purr and Ursula Vanity? “I would say that Jenny Purr is super feminine,“ says Kristrún. “My boyfriend calls her a sex kitten which is the complete opposite of the everyday me.“

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Kristrún, or Jenny Purr.

“Ursula is an exaggerated version of what I would have liked to be when I was younger,“ says Ingunn. “Cocky, a bit bitchy with huge amount of self-confidence. She is very exaggerated, flaunting her breasts and legs and going all out.“

„Jenny is showing everything I would never dare to show in the street,“ Kristrún says. „Literally!“

Is that the point of drag, to be allowed to be someone other than oneself? “It differs from one person to the next,“ Ingunn explains. “But I enjoy showing that bigger girls can be quite sexy. In our show we don‘t have many plus size queens – yet, but of course everyone is welcome if they are interested in joining us. It‘s not about size. The best thing about drag is that you are accepted just as you are, even if you have a protruding belly or hairy legs. Everyone is just cheering for you like crazy!“

“Being this exaggerated version of a female is very empowering,“ Kristrún adds. “It‘s like Christmas!“

“Some people call us bio queens, as in biological queens … Others refer to girl queens as faux queens but that‘s just stupid. We are every bit as much queens as the boys.“

“Being on stage gives you a lot of freedom,“ Ingunn points out. “ You get to explore some character, which may be an extension of yourself or something completely different. Ursula follows me when I leave the stage, and sometimes I have to shake her off so she doesn‘t take over my daily life.“

Kristrún started her drag career as a drag king in 2010 but switched to Jenny Purr in 2013 and has been performing about once every month for the last year. Ingunn is newer to the stage, Ursula Vanity was born this year but has been growing rapidly. “I do a live performance,“ Ingunn explains. “I don‘t lipsync, cause I really love performing and this is a great experience for me.“

“You get to explore some character, which may be an extension of yourself or something completely different. Ursula follows me when I leave the stage, and sometimes I have to shake her off so she doesn‘t take over my daily life.“
“You get to explore some character, which may be an extension of yourself or something completely different,“ says Ingunn. Photo/Ásgeir Ásgeirsson photographer.is

“She is really sassy on stage,“ Kristrún says. “I‘m not blessed with a singing voice so my performance is more about dancing and expressing myself in a theatrical way. At Drag-Súgur this Friday I will venture a bit into burlesque and cabaret. That‘s really where I want to be heading in my performance.“

Ingunn and Kristrún are the only performing Icelandic bioqueens at the moment. How did the original drag queens accept them? “They just welcomed us with open arms. There was never any problem,“ they say in unison. “The only instance where bio queens were not accepted was at the Icelandic Drag Competition. There females had to be drag kings and males drag queens. Those are just the rules of the competition. Nothing to say against that,“ says Kristrún. “Drag-Súgur is quite another matter, everyone is welcome to perform; drag queens, drag kings, bio queens, everyone.“

"If Shirley Temple would have moved to Harajuku in Japan and become an exotic dancer - then you would get Jenny Purr," says Kristrún.
“If Shirley Temple would have moved to Harajuku in Japan and become an exotic dancer – then you would get Jenny Purr,” says Kristrún. Photo/Alfreð Jónsson.

We have spent a lot of time talking about Jenny Purr and Ursula Vanity but who are Kristrún Hrafns and Ingunn Mía when they are not in drag? “Ough, that‘s a difficult question,“ says Ingunn. “I can tell you everything you want to know about Ursula but Ingunn is another matter. I guess she is just a regular human being. I‘m on leave from the Icelandic Film School this winter, have finished one year there studying acting and have one year to go. I have two cats, love music and films, am a complete movie nerd. Is that enough? I love being a bio queen. Love the glamour. For example I‘ve only recently discovered make up and think I‘m getting quite fancy!“

“Being this exaggerated version of a female is very empowering. It‘s like Christmas!“

“I am a make up artist,“ Kristrún says about her real self. “My boyfriend is a drag queen and I started out doing his and his friends make up. When I‘m doing my own make up for the stage I tend to exaggerate it, then I don‘t want to look like a woman in make up but a real queen. Kind of a super female. Apart from that I work as a café barista and people are often really surprised to find out that I‘m a bio queen as from day-to-day I look very ordinary and down to earth. It‘s really funny sometimes when people are adding me on Facebook and I have to explain that I don‘t really look anything like my profile picture, which is of Jenny. Before they see the picture people try to be very nice and diplomatic, ´we all have bad days, don‘t worry´but when they see it they tend to scream: ´What the fuck is that? Why do you look like this´?!“

“Ursula is an exaggerated version of what I would have liked to be when I was younger,“ Ingunn says. “Cocky, a bit bitchy with huge amount of self confidence. She is very exaggerated, flaunting her breasts and legs and going all out.“
“Ursula is an exaggerated version of what I would have liked to be when I was younger,“ says Ingunn. “Cocky, a bit bitchy with huge amount of self-confidence. She is very exaggerated, flaunting her breasts and legs and going all out.“ Photo/Alfreð Jónsson.

But why did you want to become bio queens in the first place? “I started out helping my boyfriend with his drag,“ Kristrún says. “I buy his lingerie, I buy lots of glitter and eventually some part of me wanted to take part in this world for real. I actually started as a stand up comedian in the January show of Drag-Súgur and that gave me the confidence to believe that I could be a bio queen walking around in her underwear and provoking people. A part of my humour routine goes into my performance in drag, I‘m allowed to say bad things and make fun of other people and myself when I‘m on stage. It‘s liberating.“

“Whoa,“ says Ingunn. “Kristrún‘s answer to that question is so perfect, but my answer is very simple; I wanted to do it. I wanted to be a part of this world so I just asked if I could join. I was very well accepted, everyone was super nice and I have never looked back!“

The group around Drag-Súgur counts about thirty people and Kristrún and Ingunn agree on that it‘s a very tight-knit group, kind of like family, and they count themselves very lucky to be a part of it. They emphasize the fact that everyone who is interested should contact the group and ask to perform at Drag-Súgur, which is held at Gaukurinn once every month. “We rotate a lot at the shows,“ says Kristrún. “It‘s kind of like open mic; there is this amount of spots available, who wants to perform? So please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to perform at Drag-Súgur. It‘s a great experience and you won‘t regret it. I promise!“

“Ursula follows me when I leave the stage, and sometimes I have to shake her off so she doesn‘t take over my daily life …“

This Friday the Drag-Súgur artists performing will be Aurora Borealis, Drama Tík, Miss Gloria Hole – Queen of Iceland, Gogo Starr, Jenny Purr, Pixy Strike, Ragna Rök, Russel Brund, Turner Strait, Ursula Vanity and Wonda Starr.
The venue is Gaukurinn, as usual and the ticket booth will open at 20.30. The host for this marvelous evening will be Jonathan Duffy.

“I‘m not blessed with a singing voice so my performance is more about dancing and expressing myself in a theatrical way. At Dragsúgur this Friday I will venture a bit into burlesque and cabaret. That‘s really where I want to be heading in my performance.“
“My performance is more about dancing and expressing myself in a theatrical way. At Drag-Súgur this Friday I will venture a bit into burlesque and cabaret. That‘s really where I want to be heading in my performance.“ Photos of Kristrún i.e. this one and the top one to the left/Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson

Main photo: Davíð Terrazas.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

          Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

          Núðluskálin
          - noodle bar

          Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

          All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
          We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
          Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

          Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

          Seatours
          - adventure cruise

          Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
          and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

          The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

          600x400-seatours-tasting

          This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

          600x400-seatours

          The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

          Birds, possible to spot:
          -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
          -eider ducks
          -shags
          -kittiwakes
          -fulmars
          -white-tailed eagle

          The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
          Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

          Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

          Contact Us


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          Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.