Richard is the man behind both cabaret star Cookie Monstar and Aussie sensation and Britain’s Got Talent star Sheila Simmonds and he stars in Pink Feathers, a behind the curtain look at his life as a drag queen.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Leicester and grew up in a small village called Warmington. It was a great place to be a kid, but as soon as I became a teenager I wanted to get out. I can’t tell you how much I looked forward to Smash Hits coming through my letterbox each week.
And where do you live now?
Live in London with my flatmates Darron and Marc who are married. It’s a fun household–never a dull moment!
What do you love about London and why?
London is such a diverse place, a melting pot of people from all over the world which is important. I love the architecture, the parks, the theatre, the culture, the scene, even the smell of the tube… I just love it!
How would you describe the film Pink Feathers?
First and foremost it’s a film about not giving up. Having a dream and doing whatever it takes to achieve it. All the trials and tribulations that come along with that, the highs and the lows. Hopefully people will watch it and find out more about me as a person than what they currently know about me as Cookie or Sheila. It’s brutally honest and confessional–there’s no filter! I also wrote and performed the title track with Steve Anderson and Terry Ronald which i’m really proud of.
How did it come about?
I met director Joseph Dewey after he came to see a show of mine. We got talking and he mentioned the idea so I went away and thought about it. At the time it was my 21st year of performing so I called him back and said “If we’re going to do it , lets do it now” So we did! It was a lot of fun to make, tiring at times but he’s such a joy to work with and managed to pull things out of me even if didn’t want them pulled out.
Where and how can people see it?
It’s now available to buy or rent on Amazon Prime with a choice of either regular or HD (agh!!!!)
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
I don’t think i have one–i’m that type of person that if i want to do something i’ll just do it.
Flying out to L.A for the night to go to the Cine Fashion film awards. Pink Feathers was nominated for Best Film and Best director so we flew out–attended the ceremony, we won Best director…and then hopped on a plane back to London. Very showbiz.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
Oh that would have to be from my dear friend Fanny. She turned up at one of my shows on my birthday and gave me an envelope with a flight to Australia inside!
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
There’s been so many. Performing at the legendary Wigstock in NYC, singing Especially For You with Jason Donovan, my time with The Supreme Fabulettes and of course making Pink Feathers are among some of my favourites
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
Definitely the 80s–it was the decade where i really discovered music and started writing and my dreams began.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
i don’t think you’d be able to print that!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Once in NYC I wanted to perform this particular song and wasn’t sure if it would read well. My sister Corvette said “Just go out and do it. If you believe in yourself so will the audience” She was right….
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
Ooh that’s a tough one. There are a lot of people i admire right now such as Munroe Bergdorf, Courtney Act–both doing amazing work and raising awareness. Stephen Fry, Sir Ian Mackellen… the list could go on.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why?
It has to be Wigs by Vanity on Instagram without a doubt. I live for his stories everyday–totally entertaining.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
The Maldives. I keep seeing adverts for it at the moment and it looks beautiful. I do love a good beach and sunshine.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
That life is about the journey you take and that wherever that takes you it’s all part of a plan bigger than you.