Hateful messages feed the delusion of fame

Wanda Starr is a horrible, selfish, sometimes evil drag queen who has made quite a stir with venomous blog posts on the travel site Guide to Iceland.

Wanda is Richard Chapman’s alter ego and he has received hateful messages aimed at Wanda. Still he can’t imagine his life without her.

Wanda Starr is the alter ego of Richard Chapman, who has been living in Iceland since 2014 and says that in reality he loves the country, the people, the culture and Reykjavík City. Unlike ms. Starr.

“Oh, she’s just horrible. A really nasty piece of work. I always try to temper the hate with a somewhat intelligent point, or to use it to make some sort of political commentary, as politics is one of my passions and what my degree is in. Sometimes, though, she just enjoys being evil,” says Guide To Iceland writer Richard Chapman about his alter ego, drag queen extraordinaire Wanda Starr.

Richard has been writing blog posts on Guide To Iceland’s website as Wanda Starr the last few weeks and they have made quite a stir. Wanda is outspoken and doesn’t seem to like Iceland very much. In fact, she wants to exploit the nature, thinks most of the main tourist attractions are overrated and basically hates Iceland – and Guide to Iceland. So, why on earth was Wanda asked to become a writer at one of the biggest travel websites in Iceland?

“My bosses asked me to, and I was very happy to accept. A few people from Guide to Iceland came to one of the Drag-Súgur shows I was doing stand-up at, and saw potential for a new direction and a way to appeal to queer people. What I’m writing is, in a way, clickbait, and designed to increase traffic on our site, but the company is very forward-thinking and definitely has a wider view of what the blogs can do,” says Richard, who hails from the UK and moved to Iceland in 2014, almost accidentally.

“Oh, she’s just horrible … I always try to temper the hate with a somewhat intelligent point, or to use it to make some sort of political commentary … Sometimes, though, she just enjoys being evil.”

“I had just qualified as a scuba instructor so was thinking I would be working in Australia or the Caribbean. When I saw the advert to work in Silfra, I literally laughed about who would be desperate enough to want to be a diving instructor in Iceland. Two weeks later, with no responses from anywhere sunny, I became the butt of my own joke and sent my application. Three years and four jobs later, and I’m still here,” says Richard with a laugh. He’s shared his life with Wanda since last year, having experimented with drag since he was eighteen.

Wanda Starr has made a name for herself as a writer on Guide to Iceland and as a member of the performing arts group Drag-Súgur.

“I’ve always found vile, selfish, evil women hilarious, like Jill from Nighty Night, Debbie from the Addams Family, and Sarah Silverman, so Wanda sort of formed naturally as an exaggerated form of them. I also wanted her to celebrate traits that most consider to be abhorrent, and for her rancid, unredeemable personality to contrast what society expects of women.”

Those who know Richard, also know that he is far from the persona of Wanda Starr. He says it’s a nice way to blow off some steam to put on Wanda’s clothes.

“Sometimes she just enjoys being evil. I try to be quite nice day-to-day, so it’s wonderful to have an outlet to let all that malevolence out. Besides, I don’t think anyone expects or really wants drag queens to be sweet,” says Richard.

But does he share Wanda’s views on Iceland?

“Not even a little. I have lived in Iceland for over three years now, and have had so many incredible things happen here. I love the country, the people, the culture and the city of Reykjavík. Can’t say I like the winters, but in summer there’s nowhere I’d rather be,” he says and adds that he 100 percent does not agree with Wanda when it comes to Guide to Iceland.

“It’s the best place I’ve ever worked. I would never have thought it possible to combine my passions for writing and drag, and get paid to do it, at least at this point in my career. I think it’s very telling of the company and its ethos that they are providing a platform for a drag queen; too many places use queer liberation and pride as a selling point to hook people in without paying dues, and it’s refreshing to receive such genuine, tangible support.”

Richard admits that Wanda is a lot of work, still he doesn’t want to part with her any time soon.

“She gets me into quite a lot of trouble quite regularly. I often wake up the morning after wishing she was a sweet maiden who would never even think of doing whatever she did the night before, but she isn’t, so I have to live with it.

Its safe to say that Richard is a man of many talents. He will be hosting Drag-Súgur’s new show Drag Lab on June 29th at Gaukurinn and is also working on the next Reykjavík Pride and Fringe Festival.

I can’t ever see myself getting rid of her, but I’m constantly trying to shape and improve her character, at very least to save me from the hangovers.”

On the subject of trouble, we turn our eyes back to the infamous blog posts of Wanda Starr, who have been quite ill received by some.

“It’s been really quite hysterical, some people take it incredibly seriously. You would think that the picture of a rather ropey crossdresser would let the audience know to take the blogs with a pinch of salt, but some people are determined to be offended. I have received a couple of hateful messages, but Wanda loves them as they feed into her delusions of fame,” says Richard and adds that not everybody is offended by the drag queen’s rants.

“Most people seem to understand the satire and really enjoy it. Icelanders in particular tend to be able to see through the sarcasm and just have a laugh.”

“Most people seem to understand the satire and really enjoy it … but some people are determined to be offended. I have received a couple of hateful messages, but Wanda loves them as they feed into her delusions of fame.”

Richard is a busy man, hosting Drag-Súgur’s new show Drag Lab on June 29th at bar Gaukurinn and involved in projects for the next Reykjavík Pride and Fringe Festival. He also has a show around Wanda in the making, an online video series and a novel. He will continue to write blogs for Guide to Iceland as well, but is that platform big enough for Wanda Starr?

“Wanda is planning on international stardom and world domination, so she absolutely will take any platform that she is offered. I know what side my bread is buttered, however, so will be sticking with Guide to Iceland for as long as they’ll have me! I love what Wanda is doing with the company, and we are looking at furthering her role; hopefully, there will be more than just the blogs in the near future. In any regard, however, I am sure she will continue to find new ways to spread her vitriol and hate to a larger audience.”

“She gets me into quite a lot of trouble quite regularly. I often wake up the morning after wishing she was a sweet maiden who would never even think of doing whatever she did the night before, but she isn’t, so I have to live with it,” says Richard about his alter ego.

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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