A film by local “bio-queen” (biologically female drag queen) Ingunn Mía Blöndal was recently chosen as the short of the week by RÚV (the national broadcasting comany) and has been selected to screen at the upcoming Stockfish Film Festival.
Ingunn, who performs as Ursula Vanity with Drag Súgur, created the film “Ursula Undone” as a final project for an acting class at the Icelandic Film School. In the film, viewers watch as Ursula removes a full face of makeup in three minutes, metamorphosing from a confident performer at the beginning of the film to a distraught, broken person at the end.
“I’ve always considered my drag to be somewhat of an alter ego,” Ingunn explains. “It’s a sort of a mask, and I was trying to see what hides behind the mask. It’s also because makeup is such a huge deal in our society, and some of us feel that we’re only pretty when we have makeup on. When the makeup comes off, the real me comes out.”
Why did you choose to create this film for your final project in this class?
“We all did our separate projects, and this was kind of all I wanted to do. I wanted to use my face and my hands, and I wanted to see how much I can convey on such a small surface, how much I could get out of a limited frame.”
“… it’s a story about spousal abuse in a same-sex relationship … because I’m tired of people treating abuse as a gendered thing. I hate that they’re always blaming men. Women abuse too. And men are also abused.”
What does it mean for you to be a “bio-queen”?
“It is a freedom to be a little bit more myself. As Ursula comes out, I become more body positive. I’m overweight, and in August, Drag-Sugur had our extravaganza, and I had a performance where I ended up in my underwear. And I remember thinking: ‘Oh my God, I can’t do it, everyone’s going to see my wobbly bits, and they’re going to laugh at me and they’re going to boo at me,’ and things like that. But when I come on stage as Ursula, it was no problem! I was like, yeah, I’m queer, I’m fat, I’m proud!”
What’s the story behind the name Ursula Vanity?
“I was thinking about how I kind of look like Ursula from the Little Mermaid. I like her sass, and I know she’s kind of based on the drag queen Divine, and I just really like how she’s big and powerful. She’s big and luscious and she owns it, and she loves it. My drag personality is also inspired by a spoken word poem called Ten Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy. That poem made me cry so hard, and I showed it to my now fiancé, and he held me, and I said: ‘That’s what it is! That’s what I am!’ That poem and my drag personality inspire me to be a positive plus-sized person.”
What does it mean for you to be getting this kind of recognition for your film?
“It’s very surreal. It’s a good feeling, because I feel, I don’t know. I feel like my education is now kind of culminating. It’s coming to a point where my hard work is paying off. And this short, is sort of like a way of putting my name on my final film at the Icelandic Film School, which I’m recording in November.”
Can you tell me a bit about the idea behind your next film?
“The film’s name is Forgive Me, or Fyrirgefðu in Icelandic, and it’s a story about spousal abuse in a same-sex relationship. The reason I wanted to do that is because I’m tired of people treating abuse as a gendered thing. I hate that they’re always blaming men. Women abuse too. And men are also abused. And we cannot work on this problem if we don’t accept it as a whole.”
“I had a performance where I ended up in my underwear. And I remember thinking: ‘Oh my God, I can’t do it, everyone’s going to see my wobbly bits, and they’re going to laugh at me …”
The inspiration for Forgive Me comes from personal experience, according to Ingunn. “As a child, I was molested by a female,” she says. “And when people hear about it tend to go: ‘Well, how could she molest you?’ And that’s something that makes me very angry.”
Forgive Me is being developed with fellow Drag-Súgur performer Lovísa Lára Halldórsdóttir, who performs as the drag king Kurt Russellson. The two worked on the idea together, but Lovísa is doing the writing and directing while Ingunn acts as the lead in the film. They expect the film to be screened at Bíó Paradís in mid-December.
Ingunn says she hopes to continue making films about queer people’s experiences in the future. “I would love to make queer voices heard,” she says. “I’m so tired of queer people being a punchline.”
To help fund Ingunn’s next project, Forgive Me, you can donate money directly via Paypal.