Chiffon Dior: Hi Prada! Thanks so much for getting up before the crack of noon to talk with me! How are you doing?
Prada Clutch: I’m Fabulous!!! A little tired still but even Sleeping Beauty has to wake up eventually!
CD: So for the typical uninformed American like me, tell us what the drag scene in Australia is like?
PC: The Australian drag scene is quite different from state to state. It’s is actually quite fabulous and diverse. some girls doing camp over the top drag, fishy, fierce, and alternative drag. I haven’t been to every state but I’ve been to most of them. It is always nice to see the girls doing their best and creating enhanced versions of themselves.
CD: So where does your story begin? Where did little Prada grow up?
PC: I grew up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney in a place called Bossley Park. Although I loved it out there and my family all lived there, it was a sixty minute drive to the nearest gay scene. Not knowing any homosexuals in the area, I definitely felt like the minority and needed to get out of the house and into the big smoke. I moved to the city and began to dabble in drag whilst studying full time at the ‘Australian Institute of Music’. This was both challenging and as well a necessity for me as it gave me a creative outlet for all the glitz and glamour I craved!
CD: What was your first exposure to drag?
PC: When I was nineteen, I officially ‘came out’ as a homosexual and a dear friend of mine took me straight to the Stonewall Hotel on Oxford Street. When we arrived there was a drag show in full swing and being a Music Theatre student, I was very curious to see what it was all about. I remember going up to the drag queens after their show and saying how much I appreciated what they do and that I would never be able to do it but it was interesting and fascinating from a theatrical perspective. They replied “yeah, yeah you will be in drag before you know it!”. Three months later I had purchased heels, a bad wig and borrowed a friend’s party dress. Yes three months later Prada took her first steps out as a very, very ugly showgirl!
CD: Well, thank heavens they’ve worked wonders with you in the plastic surgery department because you look great now! So were you bitten by the proverbial drag bug right away after that first night out?
PC: Secretly yes, but I denied it. “I’ll only do it a few more times. It’s just a bit of fun!”. I did it a few more times after that first time but then for my 20th birthday, the drag queen I met that first night (who I ended up becoming good friends with) offered to do my makeup and put me in the drag competition that just happened to be on the same night. I did it and I won! Right then and there I decided that I wanted to take drag further! I was bitten by the proverbial drag bug!
CD; When you moved to the city, what was your original plan? How did discovering drag change that?
PC: My original plan was to finish my Music Theatre degree (which I did) and then audition for musicals and plays with the idea of eventually making the move to Broadway or London’s West End. Drag has definitely postponed that for six years now but I don’t regret it one bit!
CD: How have you incorporated your schooling into your performance?
PC: Studying Music Theatre has helped me in all areas of my life. We were always put out of our comfort zone or put on the spot. More often then not when in drag, you are faced with similar situations and now I have the confidence, knowledge and quick wit to handle most situations. I am also able to weave a story in a song I’m singing, creating a journey for the audience which I love doing! Oh and I also sing live!
CD: So once you got rolling in the drag world, did you have a plan for what you wanted to do or did you just wing it?
PC: I honestly didn’t have a plan. I knew I wanted to perform and become the best queen that I could be. I hoped that doing this would lead me to working full time in drag and after a short six months. I was in a production show and co-hosting in two of Sydney’s top gay bars. I was working three nights a week so I was definitely on my way.
CD: So at what point in your drag career did your attention turn to getting into the wig business?
PC: About a year into it I decided to play with whirling and curling of wigs as I was a poor uni student and couldn’t afford to spend the $500 to buy a good wig every time I wanted a different style. Having ten hairdressers in the family definitely helped and gave me the confidence to tackle the wig world, clutching one curl at a time *laughs*. After a year of practicing and playing with hair, Clutching at Curls was born, with the help of my partner, Gavin Morris! We have evolved into Your One-Stop Online Wig Shop, with over four hundred products! There is something for everyone.
CD:You have TEN hairdressers in your family??
PC: Yes, in total there are like ten…cousins, Aunties, my sister and my mom!
CD: Holy crap, no wonder you wound up in a dress!
CD: So of late, it seems like an awful lot of Drag Race queens have been spotted in hair by Clutching at Curls, including Manila Luzon and my gal pal Pandora. How did your work come to their attention?
PC: Don’t forget Alyssa Edwards and Shangela! The list is, well not endless, but getting there! *Laughs*. Gavin and I went to America in 2013 and went to see the girls perform at Micky’s in West Hollywood. We got to meet a few of the RPDR girls and one of them was Miss Boxx! We stayed in contact and Pandora now has four of our wigs, all custom styled to her liking. It was most fitting that Manila had one of our wigs as its actually named after her famous words “Mabuhay!”. Alyssa and Shangela were in Sydney earlier this year and it was interesting because while we did meet them in America, but we might have had a bit too much to drink and didn’t stay in touch. However when they came to Sydney, their tour managers/Sydney promoters, Stephen Craddock and Nelson De Sousa called me and said that Alyssa and Shangela wanted to come and play in our wigs! The rest is hur-story! *laughs*
CD: So how did you go from working and hosting two or three nights a week to seemingly almost every night like you’re doing now?PC: In this line of work, you really need to take the jobs as they come. I generally always say yes. If working seven nights a week is what they offer, then that’s what I’ll do. However I’m not quite doing seven nights a week. Some weeks I do but other weeks it’s only two or three nights. It really just depends on whats going on. Also, Gavin and I started our agency, Sydney Drag Queen which gives us more avenues to perform and be able to employ drag queens for work they wouldn’t normally have.
CD: How did that all come about?PC: Basically I was getting a lot of work through my website, too much for me to cover by myself, so we decided to create an agency to help get other drag queens work. We are currently managing five queens which is plenty at the moment however we are looking to expand in the near future. We do a range of jobs such as corporate functions, gala events, private parties, hens and bucks parties, team building events, bingo, trivia and karaoke nights.
I have recently been booked to do International Gay Ski Week New Zealand. And I cannot wait to get a bite out of the Big Apple. Although we’re a Sydney-based company, we do book our queens all over the country and the world!
CD: Now that the RuPaul’s Drag Race door is seemingly open to queens from outside America, is that something you would have any interest in? Also there have been rumblings of international spin-offs of the show as well. Do you think an Australian Drag Race could be in your future?
PC: Absolutely! RuPaul’s Drag Race is such a great opportunity to get yourself out there exposed to the world. It is the only show of its kind therefore making it the go-to place to watch drag on TV. I would love to do the show! It looks like it would be challenging but a lot of fun!
If they ever decide to do a spin-off of the show, I would hope that it is still hosted by RuPaul, as I think it would lose its relevance if it were a queen from Australia. Perhaps having an elite Australian drag queen on the judging panel could be good but it really does need to keep mama Ru if it travels.
CD: So who would you do for Snatch Game? What other challenges do you think you would be good at?
PC: I’ve thought about Snatch Game and it’s a difficult decision. I do a good Cher but I think everyone would be compared Chad Michaels as he has been the best Cher ever on the show. I look a lot like Conchita Wurst but making her funny would be a challenge.
I also think I would be good at any singing challenges obviously and the acting challenge would play into my Music Theatre background so I’d be good there as well. I can sew and style hair so I think I would be ready for almost anything they could throw at me! The rap challenge scared me a little but it would be a good experience. Also I LOVE the talk show scenario. I have always wanted to have my own talk show so that would be a great way to show I deserve one! *laughs*
CD: As if your plate wasn’t full enough, your metaphorical plate. I’ve seen your waist and know you haven’t seen a plate of food in year, with CaC and SDQ, you also have your new show “Drag to Bitches” as well. Tell us what this show is about.
PC: *Laughs* Thanks! Yes I am a busy bee! I am currently starring in DRAGS TO BITCHES which is poised to be the most extravagant production show Australian drag has to offer. It is a two-hour production that celebrates the drag world, incorporating songs from “Hairspray“, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show“, “Romeo and Juliet“, “La Cage Aux Folles” and of course “Priscilla Queen of the Desert“, as well as a homage to some of the “Bitches” who inspire them, including Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Madonna, Dolly Parton and many more!
The all-star cast features some of Sydney’s most in demand drag queens including the singing sensations LayDee KinMee and myself (of course) along with Conchita Grande, Ophelia Shaft, Marilyn Mootrub and Ménage A’trois. This extravaganza features over $30,000 worth of elaborate costumes featuring over sixty dresses, forty wigs, numerous intricate head pieces as well as dazzling jewels and feathered fans. It is so much fun and so far we’ve only had sell out shows!
CD: So with all that going on, where do you find time for anything else? How do unwind outside of drag?
PC: It is a crazy, full on life style and finding time to unwind is always hard! I like to keep Sundays free because that is when I go to my family’s house for a big Italian family dinner. This keeps me some what grounded and helps me unwind. I also love recording and creating music so when time permits I am often on my studio recording and singing.
CD: Is that where you watch your family eat?
PC: Yes! Well of course I wouldn’t be eating! *laughs*
CD: So we’ve established that you’re uber-busy but what else is out there that you would like to accomplish?
PC: I really want to become a mega-star recording artist! That is my ultimate dream! It doesn’t have to be in drag however it might be easier to crack into that way. That is definitely a MUST and hopefully it will happen soon! I would also like to work on Broadway in a musical at some point. Oh, and I would love to have lunch with Oprah at some stage!
CD: Do you have any final words of wisdom for our readers?
PC: If you want something in life, only you can make it happen! Don’t let your fears or insecurities stand in your way. Just stand up and be the best that you can be!