Icelandic drag is a phenomenon that continues to go from strength to strength. From just one annual competition at Reykjavík Pride, drag has snowballed into a wildly popular form of entertainment, with packed out events every week. It’s a diverse, experimental, colourful scene with an inclusive mindset that’s created a new space for queer culture in Iceland.
Now, some of the Starrs of the local scene have set their sights on waving the flag for Icelandic drag at RuPaul’s DragCon in Los Angeles. This huge event brings together some of the biggest names in the global drag scene. We spoke to Iceland’s reigning drag queen Gogo Starr about what it means to take part in DragCon, and how you can help them get there.
It’s been a while since we talked last summer, but it seems like there are more drag events than ever before in Reykjavík. What have you been up to, and how has the scene been going?
Yes, so much has happened in such as short amount of time. Drag really has exploded onto the entertainment scene, and now we have more drag shows than ever! We at Drag-Súgur now always at least two large-scale drag shows at Gaukurinn; the extraordinary Drag-Súgur, and the experimental Drag-Lab, which is now free entry. Kiki queer bar also has weekly drag nights, Loft hostel pops up with drag shows featuring international drag stars, and the new drag troupe ‘House of Strike’ has been taking over Húrra.
Aside from the shows, we’re also popping up in music videos and mainstream media, as well as being hired as hosts for parties and events and entertaining the masses.
What I love about the Icelandic ‘drag renaissance’ is the variety of the performing artists and the inclusivity of the scene as a whole. We are a small community that is constantly growing, and I am excited to see what we’ll grow to become.
You’ve been out to DragCon once before, right? How was the experience, and what were some memorable moments?
I got ‘tooted’ by Raja! That made my entire week! Me and Jenny Purr went to DragCon New York last September, and it was very interesting, educational and quite overwhelming. It was heart-warming to see so many drag performers, drag enthusiasts and fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, all together in one place, celebrating the art of drag and its queerness.
A standout monent for me was when I suddenly got an invitation to hop on the line to go meet RuPaul himself. A friend of a friend got two of these very limited ‘Meet RuPaul’ tickets, and offered to take me with her. So I got to meet RuPaul, chat for a moment and take a picture which I thought was absolutely amazing!
What’s the importance of connecting the Icelandic drag scene to the wider international scene? Do people have any interesting impressions of Iceland? Do opportunities present themselves as a result?
Being Icelandic gives you a bit of an exotic and unique edge, since you’re coming from an interesting place known for arts, music and nature, but at the same time, there’s no existing bar of expectation when it comes to Icelandic drag, so they have no idea what to expect. So I believe that show producers are intrigued by our ‘exotic Icleandic cards.’
I think we have a lot of unique and interesting things happening here in iceland, mostly regarding the diversity and inclusivity of our drag scene. I think it’s important to note that Drag is subjective, and definately not defined by RuPaul alone. So I’m expecting to blow a few minds and turn a few heads with our diverse Icelandic drag ensemble.
You, Jenny and Deff have distinctly different takes on drag. The Icelandic scene is known for being inclusive and experimental, whereas RuPaul’s preferred style of drag seems like a more traditional “female illusion” version. Is Deff gonna blow all their minds?
Haha! She’s gonna blow something! I’m excited to see how people will take in this taste-test of the Icelandic drag scene. And I do hope that our message of diversity and inclusivity will help other drag scenes grow more in that direction. Drag is an amazing artform that is constantly growing and evolving and we’re excited to be bringing something new to the table.
Do you have any early favourites in Drag Race Season 10?
I am loving this season of Drag Race, the setup is amazing, the cast is phenomenal, and it seems to be a return to earlier seasons drama-wise.
There are so many exciting queens this season but the ones who are catching my eye are Aquaria, with her stunning genderfucking fashion looks, Miz Cracker with her wit and humor, and Monét X Change with her off the charts charisma and lovability.
What are your hopes and dreams from this trip to the US?
I want to make more people aware of the amazing things that are happening in the icelandic drag scene, and hopefully get some more performers to want to stop by and be a part of the magic. So it’s business and pleasure, and everything in between!
We couldn’t be going on this trip if it wasn’t for all the love and support we’ve been getting. Our ever-growing group of fans have been amazing, and Wow air is helping us literally fly out there, Pink Iceland has got our backs, Omnom chocolate makes sure we’re fabulous and well fed.. and the list just goes on! So thank you to every one of our supporters!
It’s been a dream to be included in the midst of this drag-storm that is taking over the world, and we hope to shed a light on all this beauty happening right here in Icleand.
How can people get involved and support you?
If you want to go to a killer Drag show, and support your local queens with their big city dreams, then head down to Gaukurinn on Saturday the 7th of April to catch our fundraising show. It’s going to be the three of us queens that are going to LA, along with special guests, hosted by the fabulous Crystal Lubrikunt! It’s 2000 ISK at the door, for hours of fabulous entertaintment.
Join the Facebook event here.