In her five years teaching so far, Miss Take has caused a stir: rejecting syllabuses in favour of lessons about herself, claiming she is the best head without ever reaching a senior position in school and winning Ofsted’s ‘Sexiest Teacher Alive’ every year she has competed (and some she hasn’t). Her scholarly powers are unrivalled and she is about to embark on her biggest project yet: studying drag at Oxford University.
My name is Alfie Dry and my Mum and I created the drag persona of Miss Take five years ago. I told Mum I wanted to perform in drag at my catholic school talent show and being the incredible woman she is, her only concern was which of her dresses would be best for me to wear.
I saved up money for a wig which would be better placed at the end of a stick mopping floors. I also bought ambitiously high heels which threatened to break my ankles with every step and a pot of glitter which I intended to use as eyeshadow, foundation, and lipstick. (Is Dior hiring?!) On the day of the show, I was ready to go. My friends were excited. All the teachers I had told were beyond supportive. My Mum’s dress had been stretched to fit my 6’1 frame. Just a couple of hours before the show, however, a very ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ storyline occurred which resulted in me not being able to perform in drag.
I cannot reveal the full story, but the words of ‘drag is disrespectful’ still ring in my ears. In an act of defiance, I got up on stage in my normal clothes and heels, laid my dress, wig and makeup on the stage, and did the act anyway.
“As a state school student, I cannot afford the course fees. As a drag queen, however, I have come up with a solution” – Alfie Dry
I cannot stress enough how supportive the majority of the school and its staff were, and I felt so much love in the room as I performed in my drag persona (but not in her outrageously large hair) for the first time.
This mixed debut experience of drag fuelled my desire for queer expression. I not only wanted to perform in drag, but I also wanted to study its theory, its history, and its power in modern society. With these goals in mind, I applied to Oxford University to study a master’s in Social Anthropology. In my personal statement I made it clear that my principal focus, and the topic of my thesis, was going to be drag.
Specifically, I am keen to work with artists both local and well-known to understand how their own political and cultural ideologies influence their performances, and how these are received by audiences. Studying artists who perform for students interests me greatly. If drag holds the power to influence the makers of tomorrow, then we need the research in place to ensure we are harnessing this ability for progress and equality.
“If drag holds the power to influence the makers of tomorrow, then we need the research in place”
Thankfully, Oxford University have offered me a place on the course. I should be beginning in October. I say ‘should’, however, because the course is £22,000 + living costs. And the government only loan £12,000. As a state school student, I cannot afford the course fees. As a drag queen, however, I have come up with a solution. I’ll let Miss Take explain:
Good morning class! My name is Miss Take (yes, that’s Miss) and I am excited to announce that I am moving my classroom to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern on the 6 September 2023 for a fundraiser like no other. Full of comedy, music, and life lessons from yours truly, this is a show that you do not want to miss. It’s also a show that you’re not allowed to miss, or you’ll end up in after school detention – 10pm my place? Doors open at 7pm sharp. And anyone arriving late can expect a big red mark. To keep up to date, be sure to follow me on Instagram (@misstakeoffical) and TikTok (@officialmisstake). I look forward to seeing you all there. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my most important lesson. Love who you are. But love me more.