Come meet the tranny with a fanny

Bestival 2

    It is a foolish man who thinks he has seen everything the world of drag has to offer. There is always a new gender bending, perception altering, game changing act just around the corner or in the bar next door. The latest one on #Drag’s radar is Holestar the “tranny with a fanny”.

   This drag queen is not like the others, because underneath all the make up, the bright costumes and attitude  Holestar is a biological woman. In a bid to reclaim the over the top femininity monopolised by traditional men who dress as women Holestar is a woman, dressing up as a man who dresses up as a woman. And you thought you’d heard it all.

   Holestar came to drag through studying photography and fine art after she left the army over ten years ago. Her studies concentrated on sex, sexuality, and gender, and through that she discovered the drag culture. She says she was also inspired by the film Victor/Victoria, which she knows word for word, and seeing “lots of ropey drag performances”. “I thought ‘well I can do that’, ” she says. “I wanted to reclaim over the top femininity that drag queens celebrated for the bio female body.”
   “It was intended to be a one off performance art piece about perceived gender codes but grew fishnet legs. ” Now Holestar has been performing for ten years  and “is still here”. Some of her highlights include appearing in a George Michael video, recording her own music (take a listen to her latest song below),   performing in Amsterdam, Germany, the Vienna Life Ball, and many more countries and events.
   Like many normal-if that’s the right word-drag acts this tranny with a fanny has a quick wit and a sharp tongue. This is what has meant she’s been asked to go on Britain’s Got Talent. “I was asked two years ago and got another phone call from them recently,” she says. “I said thanks but no.” Holestar didn’t refuse over any high brow disdain for popular culture television, in fact she would happily go on if she could just be herself. However, she is aware of how the Simon Cowl reality tv machine works and doesn’t want to be put in the “lets laugh at the freak section”, she’d rather do that it on her own terms. Despite her talents likely to take her out of that section quickly she would rather play if safe-at least for now.
   Doing her own thing has not always been well received. When she first tried to get into drag she was told she would need to be a drag king, a woman who dresses up as a man. “I was told ‘you’ve got to be a drag king’, but that’s too simple. Besides, I’ve got big knockers and don’t enjoy strapping them down.” She has also received some aggression from male drag artists. This came as a surprise considering how accepting the culture is meant to be. But she doesn’t let it pull  her down and can give as good as she gets. Of those artists who don’t accept her she says: “It’s usually one the ones with busted looks, low self esteem and a narrow view of gender performativity. I’m not sure why they feel a need to dismiss me, there’s room for everyone.”
   Right now she is happy where she, on a Thai beach 10m from the sea having just eaten a “marvellous coconut curry.” The cabaret star will soon be heading to Phnom Phen, the capital of Cambodia to run an alternative drag workshop that will end in a drag pageant. She is quite excited about it, ” I’ve done it in the UK and thought to would be interesting to introduce alternative drag and performance to this part of the world.”
   When all her travels are over Holestar will be back in the UK for her ten year anniversary show in Vogue Fabric, London. The show will be a mix of experimentation, storytelling, and songs, with a retrospective look at her career. “I’ve got a unique personal history and a belting voice so it’s about time to put it all together for a full show,” she says. To add an extra twist she will be getting ready in Vogue Fabric’s window so passers by can see her, making her act “part street performance, part cabaret theatre”.
  Having been in the drag scene for so long Holestar has some advice for those wanting to drag up. “Like anything in the arts, drag can be a tricky business but if you really want to do it, just do it,” she advises.  “Watch and learn from those who have gone before you and those around you. Practise and play with your look and talent. Don’t be shady, be nice to people. Don’t try and emulate someone, be the best you can be.”
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