Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Provided/BBC1
Ella Vaday has paid tribute to her "rock" of a boyfriend as she faces down this week's Drag Race UK series three final - and poses topless as part of a new fund-raising photography exhibit, PRINTS FOR QUEERS.
"My boyfriend has been my absolute rock throughout 2020," says the star of her partner of 10 years, who cameoed on last week's episode.
Continued Ella: "When I suddenly had no job or career when theatres closed down because of the pandemic, right through until now... It’s a stressful time preparing for Drag Race and all the various things that come along with it. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without his support, and the fact he can deal with my overthinking should earn him a medal quite honestly!"
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Speaking of last week's comedy roast episode, the 32-year-old said: "It was so wild watching it back, it all happened so long ago and I just couldn’t wait to watch it. At the time I was so in the moment.
"Some of it was improvised, so I couldn’t even remember what I had said! It’s also so good to showcase the me that my family and friends know.
"I’ve always worked best under pressure, so this challenge really brought the best out of me and to be honest I never thought I would enjoy doing it so much!"
The star's image is one of several LGBTQs on display at photographer Matt Ford's PRINTS FOR QUEERS show in London's Dalston Superstore.
"I wanted to be involved as the message [behind] the project is so important, not only celebrating the freedoms we have as queer people to live our lives as we choose in the UK but also to help people in countries with homophobic governments, so I wanted to help in any small way I could. Plus, Matt's photography is so, so stunning."
"Since the multiple lockdowns, I’ve not felt the most confident about my body"
The print of Ella comes in paper size A3 or A2, with A3 set in an 8.5mm white border and A2 a 17mm border. Ella appears in three prints in total; Ford's exhibit also features London Trans+ Pride founder Lucia Blayke and performer Miss Terri Boxx.
All profits go to Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian charitable organization that helps lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals escape violence and persecution in their home countries.
"The photoshoot was so chilled," says Ella. "I was put totally at ease, since the multiple lockdowns I’ve not felt the most confident about my body, so it was a push for me to do this quite honestly, but I think it’s always good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and I absolutely love the shots that Matt took, they’re so timeless like they could be from any era!"
Said Ford in a statement: "Our bodies, our minds, our gender, and sexuality is ours to define and decide how to express. Nothing should be able to stop that."
For more information, visit mattfordstudio.com.
The Attitude December issue is out now.