entertainment

Lockdown advice with Michelle Visage: 'Now is not the time to come out if you don’t feel safe'

The 'Drag Race' star's new series 'How's Your Head, Hun?' arrives on BBC Three today.

2020-05-26

Things definitely aren’t what they used to be, and even as lockdown eases it’s going to be a while before things get back to normal.

To help you tackle life’s challenges head on, performance artist Jonny Woo zoomed with Michelle Visage - one of life’s most glamorous gurus, RuPaul’s Drag Race judge and Strictly Come Dancing star – to ask advice on how to deal with the new normal, new drag and noisy nympho neighbours as her new series How's Your Head, Hun? arrives on BBC Three...

Being the pro you are at judging drag babies, what advice can we give to drag newbies who can’t contour, put their pads in the wrong place and can’t event master the ‘watermelon’ technique?

Ok, so you need the ‘watermelon’ or ‘elephant’ technique for sure if you can’t lip-sync. I say to every baby drag queen that asks me how they start to find someone they admire and ask them for help. I’m lucky enough to count Patti Lupone to be a friend and I’ll send videos of me singing and say, ‘Can you give me a critique.’ Now more than ever people are looking for ways to entertain themselves, so send them a picture and ask for feedback. As a judge I want to give them the best critique that I can so I’m not just saying that looks like rubbish, as that doesn’t get anything done, and I’m never mean to be mean. If I push a queen to do something different, to be the best that they can be, it’s to extend their 15 minutes of fame that they are wanting and make it 15 years.

Clubs won’t be opening for a while yet: how do I recreate legendary NYC club The Pyramid in my one bedroom flat?

Oh my goodness, well dress up as crazy as you can, turn the lights off, get some glow sticks, any kind of fairy lights or Christmas lights, put them all up, have a drink and just go crazy! Some of my favourite clubs back in the day were The Underground, The World and Save The Robots down in Alphabet City. I literally used to be in a club every night of the week.

I’m going to reinvent myself post-lockdown. How do I become the ultimate Jersey Girl?

So you got the rollers in the hair and when the rollers come out, you tease it all out, as big as you can. Eyeliner almost out to your hairline, a frosty lip with a darker lip liner, pink blush, long nails, short dresses and fake tan, so I’m basically just describing what Essex and Liverpool would look like if they had a baby.

London drag artist Jonny Woo spoke to Michelle Visage as her new lockdown series 'How's Your Head, Hun?' launches on BBC Three

If I had to listen to one Madonna album, which would it be?

Oh my god, this is such a polarizing question. I’d say Madonna by Madonna as it’s the one that broke through, although Bedtime Stories is a good one and it doesn’t get enough credit. Immaculate Collection takes care of a lot, too.

How do I deal with my neighbours having loud sex?

That’s easy. Masturbate, really loudly!

You were in Everyone’s Talking about Jamie in the West End and Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC. How did you deal with nerves?

Everyone has their own way. Ru looks into the audience and imagines he’s performing in his mother’s living room. I just imagine no one is there because at the end of the day, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I forgot the lines on stage on the West End, I’ve had panic attacks onstage before, and you just carry on because the only person you need to entertain is yourself. Jamie was much more nerve wracking than Strictly. I only had to remember a minute and a half dance for that and I loved every bloody second.

So, which is the best dance to learn in lockdown?

The cha-cha. You can do that with a partner or on your own.

Binge viewing recommendations?

I’m watching Desperate House Wives, The Sopranos, Normal People and Unorthodox.

What advice do you have for young LGBTQ kids now living back with, say, prejudiced parents?

I worry about all the LGBTQ kids and I don’t mean to be serious, but this is a serious thing. Now is not the time to come out if you don’t feel safe and your parents are homophobic, leave it as is. When the doors open and lock down lifts, then you can shit skittles and let the flag fly and be free, but right now, worry about your self first.

We’re all putting on weight. Do we ditch the skimpy summer togs in favour of slouchy Onesies?

No, absolutely wear what you like, with your bulge popping out. Now is the time to be kind to ourselves, I’m not dancing eight hours a day, its ok, because when we get out we’ll all look like marshmallow men. Be who you are! I go for a three-mile walk with my husband and I have a treadmill in the house but it looks like the devil to me.

So once and for all, can women do drag?

Well I do drag! Everybody should be able to do drag in this current climate. I’ve always been called drag queen by drag queens when ‘bio queens’ weren’t even a thing.

Finally, Michelle, how do we end the never ending zoom chats to go watch Whatcha Packin?

You say 'My house is on fire' and then go and watch Whatcha Packin!

BBC Three's 'How's Your Head, Hun?' is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.