© Lilja Draumland

Drag queen to symbolize Iceland on National Day

Gógó Starr, the well-known drag queen, will be portraying the Lady of the Mountain, Iceland’s national symbol in the formal parade celebrating Iceland’s National Day June 17th. It’s the first time a drag queen takes on this role.

Gógó’s alter ego Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson, is ecstatic about the upcoming event.

“I will portray the Lady of the Mountain in the official parade in Reykjavík,” explains Gógó’s alter ego Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson, who is simply ecstatic about it. “I will not be on stage reciting poetry which is the role of the traditional Lady of the Mountain, there will be an actress in that role, but I will lead the parade with the mayor and other prominent figures. So for the first time ever there will be two Ladies of the Mountain and one of them in drag. I will wear the national costume, skautbúningur, which of course I don´t have so now I’m desperately looking for someone who could lend me one.”

Sigurður says that portraying th Lady of the Mountain has been a dream of his for many years. “Even since before I started doing drag. I’ve always loved the concept of this Lady of the Mountain and wanted to embody that woman, and I’ve desperately wanted that headdress for ages. So I got in touch with the right people at the city office and asked if I could do this and they were just like: “Sure, why not?”At first we were thinking about the traditional performance of the Lady, but then they asked if I didn’t want to lead the parade and get to shine rather than standing stiff on the stage reciting poetry. That sounded good to me, so here we are.”

“It’s a sign of how the main stream culture is embracing the drag scene and the queer culture more and more.”

Asked if this is not a breakthrough for the drag culture in Iceland, Sigurður says that it surely is. “It’s a sign of how the main stream culture is embracing the drag scene and the queer culture more and more,” he says. “It’s become a part of the Icelandic culture scene and I think that is great. Last year I was presenting awards at Gríman, the national theater awards ceremony, which I found to be a nod from the theater world and a confirmation of the status the drag scene has gotten here in Iceland. Last year a trans woman portrayed the Lady of the Mountain in Hafnarfjörður, which was a milestone for diversity. And now there will be a drag queen in that role in the capital. Which is wonderful.”

You will not be reading traditional poetry on stage so what will you be doing?
“I’m going to look fabulous!” Sigurður exclaims. “And proudly wear the national costume skautbúningur. Then I’ll see if I will be allowed to spread glitter and confetti around me for some added sparkle. It will be a pleasant surprise for the audience to see how we will construct this.”

Sigurður adds that he won’t be the only one in drag in the parade. “There will be a few of us from the performance group Drag-Súgur around, I suppose, I also know that there will be some cabaret artists from Reykjavík Kabarett taking part in the parade and our burlesque queen, Margrét Erla Maack will be presenting the event. So, yes, we will be prominent in this parade and hopefully show the audiences that we are by far the most fun artists around and that we belong everywhere.”

Are you nervous about this gig?
“No, I’m just incredibly excited as well as exceptionally proud. I’m so happy that my bid to be a part of this was so well received by the city authorities, because I thought this was an absolutely absurd idea when I presented it to them. And now it has become reality and everyone is so excited about it. It’s literally a dream come true.”

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