Me, Myself and I: Lady Bunny

Where are you from originally?

Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga is in the Bible Belt, but gay marriage IS legal there, as long as it’s between two first cousins.

And where do you live now?

In NYC, for around 30 years. I’m a confirmed bachelorette – in other words, no one wants me! I travel too much to have pets, but I do have roaches and mice. They’ll cuddle with you in bed if there are enough crumbs. And the roaches eat the mouse poo, so my ‘pets’ pretty much feed and clean up after themselves.

Where do you stay in London?

I often darken the doorway of me mates MC Kinky, aka Feral, in Kilburn, or Bodymap designer Stevie Stewart in Tufnell Park. While in Tufty Park, the Black Cap was me local and I miss it! I got to see everyone from Regina Fong to Adrella to Sandra perform there.

Apart from your shows, what do you hope to do when you visit this time round?

A historian friend has arranged for me to go on a walking tour of London’s sex clubs and prostitution hotspots – only for educational purposes, mind you. I certainly don’t plan on returning to those areas after the tour to try and pick up extra cash.

What do you love about London?

The men are all tops and great lovers. I’ve also developed many close friendships there. Affordable theatre, great music, exquisite architecture – there’s so much to choose from. And while England is not known for its tasty food, I do love Branston pickle, coronation chicken and elderflower cordial.

First gay venue you visited?

After the airport men’s room? Baby, I went to Bang and Adam’s when I was 16. You had to be a member to get in, so kids lurked outside hoping a member would bring them along. I met some guy and we wound up in Hampstead Heath. The ‘seed’ of English culture was deposited deep within me. This was in 1978, before safe sex…

Favourite club in London?

Whichever one lets me in looking like this! Actually, it’s Horse Meat Disco at the Eagle – and not just because I DJ there. I went when I wasn’t working in February and was blown away by the crowd, the visuals and, of course, the music. They specialise in rare disco, so it’s fascinating to see younger people react to music they’ve never heard. Too often gay clubs play only Top 40 and, to me, it can be overkill.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Spending time with my wife and four kids in New Jersey. Honestly, I would like to stop eating meat. Everyone in my immediate family is veggie, so maybe I’m still rebelling – at age 54. But the production of meat is responsible for a huge portion of greenhouse gas emissions. I can’t complain about global warming and eat meat without being a hypocrite. And I feel a personal connection with halting climate change since all the hairspray I use has single-handedly eradicated the ozone layer.

Biggest extravagance?

Magnum condoms and the men who need them. No, really it’s wigs. Aside from a few tricks, I don’t actually style my own wigs, and my hairdresser recently moved back to Milan. And I don’t just wear one wig. My smallest coiffures are three to five wigs and I’ve been known to wear one made from 20 wigs or more. I look my best with a fringe that swoops down and covers my whole face.

Highlight of your career so far?

I think I’m still waiting for it. No, it would be organising Wigstock, the NYC drag festival, which ran for 20 years. It brought joy and a sense of community to so many people for so long.

Best party you’ve ever been to?

Tough to narrow that down, but I DJed in Paris for the 40th anniversary of Van Cleef & Arpels. The entertainment was by The Folies Bergere and I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The combination of lucite visors, rhinestones and boobies was magnificent.

Who is your LGBT hero and why?

AIDS activist Larry Kramer. He delivered a speech called The Tragedy Of Today’s Gays which blew my mind. In it, he called for HIV positive tops to be aware that if they infect someone with HIV, then they are possibly killing them. I know that AIDS is no longer necessarily a death sentence and that Truvada has changed things, but what Larry said about our responsibility to not just treat each other as pieces of meat took immense courage.

Who are the most entertaining people you follow on Twitter?

Prince, George Michael and Pete Burns are a scream, but they’ve gone very quiet lately…

Best gift you’ve ever received?

A torn rectum.

Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?

I’d love to visit Egypt. Of course I’d enjoy seeing the tourist attractions, which includes those dazzlingly handsome Omar Sharif lookalikes. And I am very passable as a woman while wearing a burqa.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

Wear all the tight costumes while you still can. There is nothing more unsightly than that telltale bulge of adult diapers in a catsuit. And high-kicks should be avoided by the incontinent.

Lady Bunny: Trans-Jester! runs from Monday 12 June until Saturday 1 July at the Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 3NE. Book tickets via

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