Ella Vaday

Photography: Owen James Vincent

Nick's Styling: Laura Moss

Ella styled herself

Words: Kieran Galpinz 

Logo: Emily Curtis

Have you ever had one of those days, the type of day that has you begging for the cosy embrace of your bed? Well, coincidentally, Ella Vaday is our pride cover star, and of course, they look fabulous. 

Drag Queens have been a massive part of pop culture for decades, but recently, they seem to be everywhere! But, that might have something to do with the numerous Drag Race instalments we get each year.

Ella Vaday’s name says it all; she is a vibrant and electric queen who is guaranteed to brighten your day. We caught up with her during her premiere here at ReVamp. She gossiped about her workout techniques, style icons, relationship navigation, and so much more. 

If you have had one Ella Vaday, then these photos will surely lift your mood. Flamboyant outfits, gorgeous makeup, and not one but two beautiful faces. And no, we are not implying she is two-faced.

Catsuit - Bang London

What was your coming out story like?

Well, it was an odd one because I went to musical theatre college from age sixteen to nineteen, where you’d think it would be the easiest place to come out as gay but I didn't want to be gay and suppressed the feelings for so many years. So I didn't come out until I was like twenty or twenty one, I didn't really tell anyone when I was at college that I was confused about my sexuality, it wasn't until I left that I was able to live my own life and not feel the pressure of everyone else watching me, you know what it's like when you're at college. When people say "Oh my gosh! You slept with that person..." until I could live it for myself I couldn't feel comfortable in my own skin. The first person I told was my brother because we're only fifteen months apart, we're really close, he went to drama school and he took the words out my mouth by saying, "Is this the part you tell me you're gay?" and I was like "yes!" and he was fine with it. To tell my Mum I had to drink a whole bottle of red wine and I was sat on the couch and I said to my brother, "Scott can you tell her?", so he started speaking and said "Mum, Nick..." and I just cut in and said "I'm gay!" I needed that pressure to get me to say it and it was fine, my Mum was a bit shocked, I don't think she was expecting it. 

The weirdest one was with my Dad because we didn't speak for a few years and we met up after a while and I said "I passed my driving test" and he responded "Oh I know I saw it on your Twitter" and so I said, "Oh you probably know I'm gay then?" and he said "Yeah" laughs. The stories complex and every which way I did it differently, I told my Nan face to face and she said "That's great, I've got loads of gay friends" and my Grandad I wrote him a letter and he rang me back and told me he still loved me! You just never know, when you come out how people are going to take it, especially older people who are set in their ways. It took me a while but I couldn't be happier as it feels so normal now, I can't believe that for most of my life I wasn't gay and battled with it so hard and now look, I'm a drag queen whats gayer than being a drag queen!

Jacket - ASOS Design / T-Shirt - Vans 

What originally drew you to the art of drag?

I think drag as an art form is so fun, it's camp and as a performer or audience member you’re always guaranteed a laugh, it’s another form of art and expression. For me like, as a male actor, you always stride to be the most masculine, to have the muscles, to look like a leading man. At College they would say, "Don't dance like a girly boy, you’re a man, be a man!", so I spent my whole life being that man, being everything to help me work more and not allowing any sort of feminine traits in to my performance. So drag for me is just the complete opposite to what I've done my whole life. It's a release to all those emotions, just campness that I felt like I wasn't allowed to express.

Describe your style?

My style changes I think. I like to be bright and colourful, I think drag should always be fun and not too serious; so like I don't want you to ever think I am a woman because I'm not. I want you to always be aware that I'm a drag queen and my style is hyper feminine like Jessica Rabbit's style, big hair, big hips, slim waist, big boobs and it's so ridiculous that you know it can't be real. So I would say my style is like the woman next door that dresses up just to go to the shops, even though she might not have all the money in the world, she always looks glam and likes putting on a show for the neighbours. So bright, garish and slightly sexy!

Shirt - Zara / Shoes - Walk London

Who would you consider a style icon?

It's tricky because I don't really idolise people, I don't really have any icons as such but if I have to pick one I would say The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills are up there, glamorous, rich but don't really have much taste. Also, Kim Karashians arse! 

As an artist yourself, which musician are you obsessed with right now?

Dua Lipa! I will always be obsessed with her. I'm obsessed with Kylie's 'Disco' album, anything disco in it I'm just obsessed with. I just think Dua has just got it in the bag for me. Whenever I get in to make up I always say, "Alexa play Dua Lipa" and then that's it I will let it play on.

People compliment your appearance a lot on Insta, both in and out of drag, but when do you feel the most confident and why?

I feel confident in both disguises to be honest, it's really strange, whenever people say "You're handsome, you’re this..."  I don’t think that I ever got those comments before. It's only since I've been doing drag that people can see one side and the other that compliments come in which has been really surprising. So if anything, doing drag and getting complimented on my appearance has been a massive confidence boost for me as a guy. As Ella I know I look stunning so I don't need anymore confidence but it's been really crazy for the amount of love I've had for my boy self and I've never felt like that before. I've lived myself as Nick for the longest time and I'm too old not to know myself by now.

Dungarees - ASOS Design / Shoes - Converse / T-Shirt - Zara

You have been with your partner for nearly a decade, how has your relationship changed over the years, and how much of a culture shock was lockdown?

Lots has changed in the almost ten years we've been together, it's impossible for it not to really, when you buy a house and get a dog together. We've got a great relationship because if I say "I'm going to build a wall" he would be like "yeah go on then", we back each other up and support each other no matter what, which is great. Our relationship has got stronger and stronger as the years go on because we understand each other so well. I know when he needs space, he knows when I need space, or when I'm about to start screaming he will sort it out before I do scream, like in my drag room, it's such a mess at the minute, he knows to help me find things before I start going off!. 
When lockdown happened, I was in the musical theatre world still, I was used to being out the house working six days a week and very much doing my own thing. He'd normally be at the office, so I could lay in and do whatever with my day, then suddenly we are in each others pockets, twenty four hours, seven days a week. Initially it was really tricky, emotionally for me because I was like how am I going to have a career now, there's nothing for me to do and he just carried on as normal working from home, in fact even changed jobs at the start of lockdown and I got a job at Morrisons, it was quite intense to start with but then it became very normal with being locked in for a year and a half almost, and that just shows you you're relationship is right if you can get through that.

Gloves - Jan Eneskey

For the fans looking to get a snatched body like yours, what’s your workout routine like?

I thought you meant my snatched body in a corset? Just shove a corset on laugh. It's really finding a form of exercise you enjoy, I like to go to the gym, you could go running, get in to yoga or if you can workout at home, do that (I can't personally). I'm normally the sort of person that likes to go somewhere to exercise, so when the gyms closed I was screwed! Just watch your diet, don't snack all the time, don't treat yourself all the time, do some work and then treat yourself and it's tricky sometimes not to drink all the time especially during a pandemic or lockdown. Everything in moderation!

Drag and playing with gender has become inherently political, do you consider yourself political? If so, what do you think are some of the biggest things to threaten the queer community currently?

I never think of myself being political maybe others might think I am? I think one of the biggest things threatening the queer community, is the amount of LGBTQ+ venues shutting down, there is not enough support from the Government for the queer community and keeping venues open, that's why the fights not done and we need keep celebrating Pride. There's still so much hate crime going on too which blows my mind in 2021, especially after everything that happened in 2020. I also think certain big business corporations using the rainbow flag at this time of year to make a profit from the LGBTQ+ community is totally wrong, pretending that they're really supportive of gay rights whilst not filtering any profit into real support, with employees that don't agree with it, and politicians that vote against us in parliament , I think the community should be supported all year and not just the month of June because it suits them.

What’s next for Ella Vaday?

I just want to carry on and have a good time, spread the fun vibes that drag is. You need some relief and I think drag is a perfect thing for that, you can go to a gig unhappy and then leave bursting with happiness, just have a good laugh. But what's next for me?  You'll just have to wait and see! 

You can see more of Ella's journey here.

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