Interviews

Me, Myself and I: Ripley

The winner of Halfway II Heaven’s It’s a Knockout 2016 watches the Cartoon Network and longs to explore Russian, China and Japan.

Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Edinburgh, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. I lived there with my mum, stepdad, two sisters and brother until I was 22 years old, when I moved to Budapest with my partner.

And where do you live now?

The other half and I came to Sutton in 2011 and have stayed put ever since! Sutton is famous for two things: being one of the few London boroughs to vote leave during the EU referendum, and Wayne Shaw, the pie-eating goalkeeper. We should really move, shouldn’t we?

What do you love about London?

I love that despite the extortionate rent and overpriced everything, young creatives living in London are still able to be innovative and produce incredible works of art. I’m amazed every day by what people on the scene are doing right now!

Favourite club/bar/venue in London and why?

Halfway II Heaven. It’s where I found my stride as a performer, where I won Bette Rinse’s It’s A Knockout, and where I’ve done some of my best gigs alongside Rose Garden. I’ve been able to develop my act there and try out new ideas, so it’s full of good memories for me. The staff and resident queens there are like family; I love them to bits!

What is your guilty pleasure?

Watching Cartoon Network. I love animation and just escaping into nonsense for a while. But actually some Cartoon Network shows like Adventure Time are very artistic, so if anything I’m becoming more cultured by watching it.

Biggest extravagance?

I’m Scottish so I’m pretty cheap. A Pret lunch makes me feel like I’m pushing the boat out.

Best gift you’ve ever received? 

A ‘Happy 30th Birthday’ mug I received for my 27th birthday from my partner. I loved it because it was stupid and clearly bought in a rush, plus he never gives gifts so this one meant a lot to me. Which means I’ll never forgive the person who stole it in my office. There’s a special circle of hell for people who steal mugs.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Being asked to do my solo show, Like A Sturgeon, at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern this Friday. It’s amazing that I’ve been given this opportunity to go it alone in such a prestigious venue so early in my career.

If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?

I’d love to be able to go back and stop Nigel Farage from ever being born. But, I’d also really like to go back to the first time Donna Summer’s I Feel Love was played in a nightclub.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

I say this a lot, but the advice Boyz magazine’s own Dave Cross told me at Drag Idol last year: ‘Show us your true self.’ When you’re a mime act it can be difficult for people to connect with you and understand your point of view and sense of humour, but Dave’s critique really helped me put more of my personality into my act.

Who is your LGBT hero and why?

The author Armistead Maupin. His books are incredible and the way he has documented life within San Francisco’s LGBT community from the 70s through the AIDS crisis of the 80s to issues faced by trans people today is just amazing. I’d love to meet him for a coffee. I have so many questions!

Who are the most entertaining people you follow on Twitter?

Glasgow’s First Lady of Drag, Guillotina Munter – everything she says triggers someone and I live for it. And the YouTuber @icklenellierose who is just adorable and dorky and I want to stuff her in my pocket and talk about video games all day long with her.

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

I suppose I’d better visit all of the European Union in the next few years while I can, right? Other than that, I’d love to take the Trans-Siberian Express across Russia into China and then travel to Japan.

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

That those kids who were laughing at me pretending to be Posh Spice will end up paying to see me pretending to be Posh Spice when I’m older.

Ripley presents Like A Sturgeon this Friday (19 May) from 7.30pm until 8.30pm at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, London, SE11 5HY. Book tickets via vauxhalltavern.com

 

 

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