Cabaret star and Drag Idol runner up Topsie loves a night out at Sink The Pink, a trip to the theatre and has even performed in the West End.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Stoke-On-Trent. My Nan used to hand-paint the Royal Doulton figurines, her house was populated by glamorous porcelain ladies in gorgeous gowns. But I was raised in Yorkshire, when my parents moved there after they stopped working as cabaret singers – they did all they could to put me off a career in the Arts but I inherited the need to sing and show-off! I consider myself a Yorkshireman. Eee-by-gum. Strokes whippet. Munches Hovis. Although I drink green tea these days and not Yorkshire Gold – that’s what London does to you.
And where do you live now?
I live in Dalston in an ex-crack den with a one of my best friends, Will, a crazy Brazilian who this morning emerged from his bedroom wearing a tutu. And a Swedish ex-national swimmer who now works as a cocktail barman and makes a mean Old Fashioned.
What do you love about London?
I love London because you can be quite strange and eccentric and feel as though you fit right in. When I go home to Yorkshire I am always slightly aware of myself and on guard. I love how beautiful London is, the patchwork of old and new. And I love the adventure and opportunities of the city, even if I’m at home I’m in my PJs, I love just knowing there is excitement going on somewhere if I wish to join in.
What was the first gay venue you visited?
It was a bar in Harrogate, my hometown, called Betty Lupton’s. It used to be owned by my aunty and I just remember being overwhelmed that other homosexuals actually existed. In real life! Previously I had only seen pixilated-gays on EastEnders and Queer as Folk.
Favourite club/bar/venue in London and why?
My favourite night out has to be Sink The Pink – I so rarely get to go as I’m usually gigging but I just love it. It appeals to my theatrical soul. I became an actor because I love costume, dressing up and being someone else for a while. Sink The Pink is just a carnivalesque explosion of colour and queer creativity gone hedonistically wild all set to a soundtrack of great music.
What do you think the real Kellyanne Conway would make of you in the RVT panto?
I think she would find it all quite amusing. I know she watches and enjoys American TV satire of herself. Essentially she is just doing a job and she has done it well! Admittedly it’s slightly like choosing to work for the Nazis, however; she was employed to get Trump elected and give him good PR. Respect to her, job done! Defending the words and actions of that awful man can’t be an easy task!
What was the last theatre show you saw, and what did you think of it?
I went to see The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth at The Gielgud. It has had rave reviews and deservedly so! I think it is one of the most amazing plays I have seen in ages. Everyone must go and see it. There is even a real goose onstage; on the night I went it was totally upstaging the actors – hilarious!
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
The TV series Nashville. American musical drama starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. I am such a country music geek and I sit sobbing at every episode. I cry at everything these days. Also, Grand Designs – it’s like TV porn to me.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
My voice. From God. So I could share my gift with the world. Jokes, obvs. I didn’t get it from God, it was from my mum, who is a beautiful singer, plus lots of scales and a few singing lessons thrown in. My Sega Mega Drive was pretty ace….
There wasn’t much to do in a small market town in Yorkshire aside from being a hooligan, which didn’t much suit me.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
It was my dream as a kid to be in a West End show, so playing Mary Sunshine in Chicago in the West End was a real thrill. Aside from that there have been many. I just feel so lucky that I get to make a living as a performer – it is a thrill for me every time someone in the audience comes and says what a great night they have had, or that they had a really shit day and they have left happy and full of joy.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
It would be 18th Century Japan. I would love to be a geisha; they really fascinate me. It would combine all the things I love – dressing up, performing, tea and men!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Do not compare yourself to anyone else! It’s easy to look at other people’s newsfeeds and feel inferior. However, there is only one you. Celebrate yourself and make your own life as happy as you can.
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
I don’t have one LGBT hero. I think we all have to be heroes for each other. We can all choose to raise our head above the parapet and challenge and change people’s perceptions in our own way. We all have the power to support and inspire. If we are all mini-heroes then the world will change much more quickly.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on Twitter?
I don’t look at social-media aside from Topsie connected stuff. It goes back to the best advice I got. I would rather get on with my own life than worry about what everyone else is up to!
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die?
Well, I’ve been to paradise, but I don’t think I’ve been to me… Actually I visit myself far too often, several times a night in fact. I’ve sailed around the world, performing on a cruise ship and seen some amazing places but it doesn’t matter which wonder of the world you are looking at, it matters who you are looking at it with. Before I die I want to find someone wonderful then I will happily visit anywhere they want to go!
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
Don’t drink and crowd surf.