One of the scene’s best-loved drag acts, Tanya Hyde, enjoys watching British comedies on her days off and would love to visit Las Vegas.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and bred in southeast London on a notoriously rough estate called the Ferrier in Kidbrooke. They’ve pulled it down now but I remember it fondly.
And where do you live now?
I’m still in southeast London; now I live in Lee, the posh part of Lewisham. I recently moved back home with my dad and sister after a string of horrible experiences living with other scene people; too many egos in a small flat does not work.
What do you love about London?
I love the culture and history of London, and how you can always find something to do no matter what your interests. I love how fast paced it is and how stunning it looks at night when all her lights are on. I’m a proud Londoner.
What was the first gay venue you visited?
When I was training at Trinity School of Music I was in Greenwich a lot, so I used to go to the Rose and Crown and subsequently the customers introduced me to the George and Dragon and the Duchess. The Duchess has known me longer then most people and she’s seen me change from a shy little teenager into the mouthy diva I am today.
Favourite club/bar/venue in London and why?
I’m gonna be a cop out on this one as I know I’ll upset venue owners if I don’t say their venues. I’ll tell you a venue I did love and miss terribly: Popstarz when it was at Sin. I’d be there every single weekend I was always the last to leave!
How has 2017 been for you?
This has been my year; it feels like everything has just clicked for me. I’d worked out that I’d picked up a bad reputation for burning the candle at both ends, and I needed to shake that off and show people what I can actually do, and finally people are starting to see that.
Can you pick a highlight?
I think it has to be Mary Mac’s Roast. It’s the proudest moment of my career as Tanya, to prove to people I can hold my own against the legends. I can be funny and do comedy, and yes, to clear up the gossip I wrote every single word of it myself!
What was the last theatre show you saw, and what did you think of it?
Christ, it’s been a while, I think the last thing I saw was Judy at the Arts Theatre. I had seen the show before when it was at the Southwark Playhouse as my sister is friends with Belinda Wollaston who played Palace Judy and I loved it. The three actresses who play different stages of Judy Garland’s life were so on point it was truly a stunning piece of theatre.
What is your guilty pleasure?
On my days off I love nothing more then sitting in my onesie watching old comedies on DVD like Are You Being Served?, Keeping Up Appearances and The Golden Girls whilst eating my body weight in pâté on toast. It’s the simple things…
Best gift you’ve ever received?
It’s not really a gift, but my dad built me a walk-in wardrobe. I’ve SO much stuff that my bedroom started looking like Aladdin’s cave, so one day my dad built me this walk-in wardrobe at the end of the landing to store all my show stuff in. It’s fabulous; it has lights in it, a star on the door and even has my Boyz Awards up on the wall.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
Two stand out for me and they have to be performing on stage at Hyde Park during the 2012 Olympics to 50,000 people, and West End Live in Trafalgar Square. That one was special as my family were in the crowd for that one.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
I’d love to go back to 1950s America; I love the fashion, the music and I’d live out my Grease fantasy.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to?
I wouldn’t call it a party and I’d be killed for calling it that, BUT my best friend Angel & his husband Simon’s wedding in Amsterdam was off the scale as social gatherings go. To be in a room filled with that much love and genuine friendship it beats any “party” I could ever attend.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Actually it was given to me by Julie Andrews when I worked with her as a child on my last night. It was “Close your eyes and take a picture, remember this moment.” Also, “Why only aim for the stars? Aim for the heavens and the stars are thrown in.”
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
Every LGBT+ person that marched the streets to fight for the right for me to be who I am and to live the way I choose are my heroes in my eyes. It would be unjust for me to single out just one person.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on Twitter?
It’s all the girls for me, Bette Middler, Cher and Whoopi Goldberg. Strong women who take on the world with class and a lot of wit. Miss Piggy also gives me daily inspiration with her matter of fact tone.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
I wanna see it all. I’ve never been to America so that would be my first stop. I imagine I’d love New York and Vegas. I also would like to go to Australia to see friends I’ve not seen in years.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok. Stop worrying about pleasing everyone or trying to change their opinion of you, it will save you a lot of tears.