Danny Beard is a queen of many talents. While they’re mainly known for their turn on series four of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, their journey to stardom began on Britain’s Got Talent, where the multi-faceted bearded one crooned all the way to the semi-finals.
Stunning the judges with their rendition of Rocky Horror’s ‘Sweet Transvestite’, Danny’s vocal prowess played second fiddle only to their unique drag aesthetic, showcasing the star’s namesake beard and trademark contouring.
Drag and singing form the basis of the Liverpool lovely’s new musical venture, Danny Beard and Their Band. The performer also tells us about the time one half of a famous pop duo left a nasty surprise on their dressing room floor. Cheeky, cheeky!
Attitude: What’s a fact about you that no one knows?
Danny Beard: I’m a big animal nerd. My dream would be to live on an isolated farm somewhere with rescue pigs and donkeys and parrots and not have to interact with any humans ever again.
Who would you invite to a dinner party: Cilla or Pete Burns?
Pete Burns, because we’d have so much to talk about and bitch about. I love Cilla and a lot of people love Cilla, but apparently she was a bit tricky to work with. I don’t think Pete would be as bothered if there weren’t freezing cold champagne, as long as we had a good laugh. I feel like I’d have to impress Cilla.
What’s your best memory of working with RuPaul?
In the Tic Tac chat at the end, she thanked me for my professionalism and said you come in and you know everyone’s name, you take extra time at the end of the day to thank all the crew and you say good morning to the crew. And she said little things like that mean that you’ll have a very long career in this industry.
I just felt floored when she said that. It was on camera but they didn’t bloody put it in!
What’s your favourite swear word?
C*nt. I say it multiple times every day, every minute – there’s not an hour that goes by that I’ve not c*nted. It says a lot about me as a person. If you say, “This is the worst word to use’ I’ll use it. If you say ‘Don’t look in that end cubicle,’ I’m straight in.
Which emojis best represent you?
The flame emoji, the angel emoji, the smiley horny devil, and the vape emoji (🔥😇😈😮💨) because I’m never five minutes away from me vape. I said on Twitter recently, it’s not a Danny Beard show unless the dress barely covers the minge and the vape is no less than five yards away.
What’s the craziest thing to happen in your career?
One of the Cheeky Girls pissed on the floor of the dressing room we were sharing! This is the truth! I’m ready to tell my truth. We were sharing a dressing room at a festival and they were on before me. It was like a tent with a grass floor. One of them was stood talking to me, and the other one caught the corner of my eye and she was squatting behind the mirror.
I moved my head to ask if she was OK and I just saw this stream of piss coming from between her legs and I didn’t know what do. I went bright red and I just went, ‘cheeky, cheeky!’ Every time someone came in the dressing room, I shouted, ‘Don’t go in the corner – there’s Cheeky Girl wee!’ It was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life.
Who’s the nicest person in the world of drag?
Cheddar Gorgeous. I’m so lucky that me and her got to where we got to. We’re sharing this experience together. She really is one of the nicest queens – and I’m not just saying that because I beat her arse at Drag Race.
And who’s the biggest bitch?
She’ll kill me, but it’s going to be Jonbers. I’m in it with Jonbers – me and Jonbers love to bitch, so if she’s the biggest bitch, I’m also the biggest bitch. We need each other to bitch, right?
Who’s your fashion inspiration?
I used to be obsessed with Vivienne Westwood, but I don’t really look like her now. Now, I love Adele and Amy Winehouse. I love singers who reference a bit of the 60s. I feel like I’m in a bit of a glam era at the minute. That said, one of my most liked pics recently was of me picking up a dog shit by the stage door, so that tells you how glamourous I am.
Danny Beard on their musical act, Danny Beard and Their Band
I love to sing and perform, and I love old-school drag cabaret where you seamlessly go between telling the audience they’re c*nts and singing songs to impress them, and I try to do that every night on tour.
I’ve done my job for over 10 years on my own on a stage with a backing track that cost £1.59 and now I get to stand on stage with the support of five other incredibly talented people.
We’re doing the Edinburgh Fringe together in August at Underbelly for a limited one-week run and we’ll be at Manchester Pride on the Sunday. It’s still very pinch-me —this is what I always envisioned my drag being like.
Danny Beard on the message ‘F**k Gender’ on their Drag Race punk look
I’m so glad that message went out when it did because I think it’s even more important now, a year down the line. And I think as we go through what we’re going through with our trans siblings, it’s going to become more important because gender is a construct, really.
If you look back throughout history, there’s people that have always defied gender and defined gender. And I think as drag queens, that’s what we do. We take the elements of gender and we play with it. If anything, it’s poking fun of the idea of what a man and woman should be and anything that goes in between.
Danny Beard for me has always been about that, as a bearded lady. I’ve got big hips, big tits, and a bushy chin – actually similar to my own mother!
Danny Beard on body image in the entertainment industry
I’m kind of sick, as a bigger queer, of seeing this trash about Sam Smith and having people on radio shows and crappy news channels that are full of Tory wankers debating whether Sam Smith should be able to perform with their top off at their own concert.
When Lady Gaga or Madonna or Matty Healy from The 1975 do weird shit, no-one says anything about kids. It’s always this weird rhetoric of ‘what about the children?’ Not all entertainment is for children. Not every film is made for children. We don’t say, ‘Let’s ban all films around the world because some of the films are pornographic.’ It’s not how it works.
Now, people are saying let’s ban drag. And it’s just ridiculous. I’m so pleased that Sam isn’t bowing down.
The Podium – Danny Beard ranks the drag of three queens from Drag Race UK series four
1 – Starlet
Starlet is the tippity-top starlet, isn’t she? She’s beautiful and classy and she was amazing on the series four tour. I think she really had a point to prove, and the point was proved — she’s beautiful and can perform.
2 – Sminty Drop
I love Sminty’s story of how she was bullied so horrendously for being thin — for me, that would’ve been a dream come true, as I was bullied for being fat! Now, her body is part of her aesthetic, and no one can do it like her.
3 – Cheddar Gorgeous
Jonbers is going to kill me because she’s a fashion editor, darling, but I think Cheddar is someone that does it their own way and doesn’t conform. It’s not always to my taste but I
appreciate what Cheddar’s style has done for drag and our community.
A version of this interview originally appeared in issue 354 of Attitude magazine. This issue and more is available on the new Attitude magazine app.