Edition speaks to drag royalty Kitty Scott-Claus and Ella Vaday ahead of their fabulously festive live performance at Cambridge Junction on 12 December. Category is… Christmas!
Interview by Alex Fice
Kitty Scott-Claus and Ella Vaday rose to fame in 2021 after sashaying their way to the finals of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 3. Despite just missing out on the crown, which went to fellow contestant Krystal Versace, Kitty and Ella are now both considered icons on the drag scene in the UK and around the world.
Having found lasting friendship on the show, the two stars have joined forces for a seasonal extravaganza that will be touring the UK throughout December. We caught up with Kitty and Ella ahead of their Christmas tour, which comes to Cambridge Junction on 12 December.
How did you first get into drag?
Ella: I started doing drag in 2017, when I was asked if I wanted to take part in a charity drag night. I was performing in The Book of Mormon at the time, but when that finished I had no job, so started applying to drag DJ jobs even though I couldn’t DJ – and I could barely do drag! It wasn’t until 2020 when the whole world stopped that I started doing drag more… I started doing gigs in and out of lockdowns, built up a bit of a following, then ended up going on Drag Race – so it’s been a whirlwind couple of years to be honest!
Kitty: I started doing drag purely for attention! My best friend was a drag queen, and I saw that she was getting free drinks, free entry to clubs, attention from boys… and I thought ‘do you know what? I could do that!’ Then I started doing Girls Aloud tribute nights as Kimberley Walsh, and it all snowballed from there!
How would you describe your style of drag?
Ella: I would describe myself as a very glamorous, voluptuous, wonderful, incredible, funny, gorgeous MILF!
Kitty: As for me, I’d say I’m a fashion robot from out of space in the year 6000, brought down to Earth from the planet Zorgon!
What does drag mean to you on a personal level?
Ella: Having been an actor my whole life, I’ve been used to having to hold myself a certain way – being really masculine so I could play the lead roles. But drag gives access to a completely different side of me that I thought I could never access, or that I thought was wrong. I used to ask my agent to put me forward for things, but she’d often say ‘no, you’re too gay for that’, which can really play on your mind. Drag really gives you the independence to be the artist you want to be – and hopefully spread joy and happiness and make people laugh while doing it, because that’s what the world needs.
Kitty: Absolutely. I think it’s that artistic freedom isn’t it. It’s spontaneity of self-expression and allowing yourself to be silly – allowing yourself freedom.
What can you tell us about the drag scene in the UK?
Kitty: The drag scene in the UK is so special because it’s completely different from other countries. British culture has such a deep-rooted relationship with drag – from going to the theatre and seeing a pantomime dame, to watching Lily Savage on the television – and that’s what makes it so special… And it’s fantastic that people like RuPaul have brought it into the mainstream. I think we’re incredibly lucky.
Ella: It’s like when you compare the US to the UK – in the UK, you drive a couple of miles and people have a different accent – it’s a bit like that with drag. In London, especially, it’s so diverse. You can be down Old Compton Street in Soho and see an older queen singing classic cabaret songs… Or you go down the road a bit and you’ve got people lip-syncing or dancing. I just love that wherever you go in the UK you’ll see something different.
How has drag evolved in the time you’ve been performing?
Ella: I think since Drag Race came to the UK three years ago, people have really upped their game. The standard has improved a lot and you get new people doing it each year. Thousands of people started doing drag in lockdown as well – so there’s a lot more of it. It’s also more normal to say you do drag, whereas in the past it would have been looked down on. Now, I think drag is looked on as more of an artistry; it’s a lot more accepted as a career choice as well.
What impact did appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race have on you as a drag artist?
Kitty: Do you know what, I think it gives you the biggest platform that you could ever wish to achieve. As a queer person, there aren’t many opportunities where you get catapulted to being on a global stage and having millions of people watch you. It gives you a voice and it gives you opportunities beyond your wildest dreams.
Ella: Like Kitty says, the opportunities have just been amazing – I would never have thought I would be headlining a tour in Australia, or auditioning for Eastenders or celebrity shows on TV. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that all this would come off the back of being a drag queen, but here we are!
Has performing alongside each other influenced your drag at all?
Kitty: Absolutely. I think our drag styles and senses of humour complement each other really well. We’re very different, yet also very similar – which works well for comedy and when hosting together. I also love having banter with the audience and having a co-host to connect with during the show – that’s what I do it for.
Ella: My sense of humour is very dry and sarcastic, whereas Kitty is very loud and out there – so when you put us together, we complement each other really well. There aren’t many people that can co-host and go on tours together and have such a great time – that’s something unique to mine and Kitty’s relationship.
What can we expect from the Christmas Cracker show at the Junction?
Ella: It’s going to be one of the only times that Kitty and I have had the chance to have our own show – so you can expect it to be camp, it’s going to be a bit naughty, we’re going to sing some gorgeous songs like Hey Sis, It’s Christmas, we’re going to play some games… And every single night will be different, because we love interacting with the audience – so whatever vibe we get from the lovely audience in Cambridge, we’re just going to run with it!
Kitty: I’m just excited to be let loose with Ella! I think it’s going to be one to remember.
Kitty & Ella’s Christmas Cracker tour kicks off on the 11th December. For more information and best availability on tickets go to kittyandella.com