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?
“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.“
“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.“
“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.“
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´?!“
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.
Main photo: Davíð Terrazas.