It’s time for another Meow Mixx, and this time it’s from an exciting new location (kind of), West 5 Bar! I say kind of due to being a frequenter to the venue, which is tucked away in London’s Ealing! If you’re after a wide variety of drag performers, cheap drinks and a fun filled night, West 5 is the place for you! From incredible local drag, Drag Race girls and singers that’ll give you a blast from the past, the venue always brings exciting acts to the table. One of their most recent nights, and I must say it was one of my favourite EVER shows, was the stunningly gorgeous, effortlessly talented, supermodel with legs for DAYS, Naomi Smalls. Hosted by Silver Summers and an appearance from SPICE!, the night was one to remember. Before the show, I got to sit down and speak to Naomi for WERRRK, where we talked fashion, hot bearded boys and bestie Kim Chi..
Emily Meow: Hey Naomi! How are you finding the UK so far?
Naomi Smalls: Everyone is so polite here! I know I probably sound like a broken record, but compared to American fans, you guys really seem to appreciate drag. You guys aren’t grabbing me and sticking my leg up on your shoulders or anything like that. You guys are so polite, I love it here. And the potatoes are really good.
Emily: We have great chips!
Naomi: CHIPS! Chips and crisps! And really good Kit Kat bars.
Emily: Do you find UK queens differ in style from the queens you see back home?
Naomi: You guys seem like you have a little bit more grunge and more of an edge to your drag, for sure. Back home, well at least in California, it’s more like “pretty drag” which is kind of where I come from. But in Chicago, it’s more edgy so I’m getting more used to seeing more alternative queens.
Emily: I love the Chicago drag scene!
Naomi: Oh yeah, such good drag there. Probably like the best drag scene in America to be honest. It’s changing drag for sure!
Emily: What’s been your favourite thing in the UK so far?
Naomi: The bearded white boys. For sure.
Emily: Ha! All the hipster boys.
Naomi: YEAH! The hipster boys! But seriously you guys have such hot men here. Literally everyone is really attractive out here.
Emily: Do you have any UK influences to your drag at all?
Naomi: Well, Naomi Campbell is from the UK, so I’ll take that one. But there’s also a lot of fashion houses that started out here to. This is like the mecca for everything.
Emily: What was your first ever drag performance like?
Naomi: A hot ass mess. I was eighteen years old, I had the shiniest face on stage. I was really skinny back then though. I looked like a bone walking on stage. Definitely no rhythm, definitely no stage presence. I performed Nancy Sinatra. I wearing an ASOS romper and an ASOS robe, ha!
Emily: What’s been your best opportunity presented to you since your success on RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Naomi: I get to travel the world and dress up, and get paid to do it! So I mean that’s amazing. Meeting Kim Chi has changed my life. I wouldn’t be back in California if it wasn’t for her and I’d have a whole different group of friends. If I didn’t have Kim, I wouldn’t have a lot.
Emily: Do you have any recent fashion inspirations?
Naomi: Everything that Gucci’s doing right now is going back to the 70’s and I’m obsessed with the 70’s. Big billowy blouses and bell bottoms. The 70’s and 90’s kind of mimic each other a lot and that’s what I’m all about.
Emily: We have some fan questions! The first from @shannensaucy is that if you could explore another realm of drag expression, what would it be?
Emily: Like club kids and stuff.
Naomi: Yeah, totally! It would be nice to not have to tuck, and not to have to shave any part of my body!
Emily: @anisavonruin asks if you could collaborate with any other queen who would it be and why?
Naomi: Ooo, I think it would be really fun to collab with Acid Betty, cause her graphic mind is amazing. She’s probably the best look queen that’s ever come out of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Just to see what she could come up with would be amazing.
Emily: Finally, is there anything you wanna plug?
Naomi: You can buy my merchandise at naomismalls.com, look out for projects I’ll be doing with Kim. Just look out for me all over the place! Hopefully I’ll be able to dress up like this for the rest of my life.
Emily: Thank you so much!
Naomi: Thank you!
Huge thank you to West 5 Bar! Follow them on Twitter to keep up with their future events, and buy tickets to their upcoming events here, including Langanja Estranga (24th September), Trixie Mattel (26th November), and Winter Warmers, including Raja, Delta Work, Milk, Laila McQueen and many more!
All photos by Marked Visuals.