Georgie Bee has just been crowned Miss Sink the Pink 2016 – we meet her to find out how she’s shattering the notion that drag just isn’t ‘meant for women’
Last Saturday saw scores of bejewelled, body-painted drag fans flock to Bethnal Green to witness one of London’s most celebrated drag pageants. Miss Sink the Pink is amongst the capital’s most coveted titles; its winner earns the right to become the face of one of the world’s most progressive, inclusive and completely batshit-bonkers drag troupes. This year, the title went to Georgie Bee – a shoe designer by day who stole the hearts of judges and audience alike with her stellar Pedigree Pussy performance. She prowled the stage like a predatory cat in heat, thrust herself ferociously at an enraptured crowd and ripped off her costume to reveal four Beanie Babies glued to her nipples – she jokes that she might later sell them on eBay.
Just years ago, it seemed that women in the drag scene were facing a true struggle to break into what had, ironically, become a male-dominated industry. It’s easy to forget the initial intentions of drag were to dismantle the concept of gender entirely – at its core, drag is a celebration of exaggeration, irreverence, and pure artistry. Audience-goers are encouraged to nurture their inner drag queen with elaborate costume themes – the next event, for example, will be a celebration of all things underwater, entitled Under the Sea. An ambivalence towards gender and sexuality permeates the spirit of Sink the Pink, making it an inclusive safe space for anyone willing to come and immerse themselves in its unique atmosphere. Bee is, without a doubt, its perfect ambassador – she sat with us just days after her victory to talk genderfuck, horny kittens and the outdated, misguided idea that drag isn’t ‘meant for women’.
“How can anyone say that this thing has to be exclusively owned by another sex? People should understand the history of it and respect drag, but it really should be for anybody” – Georgie Bee
What made you start doing drag?
Georgie Bee: My friend Jay didn’t encourage me to do drag specifically, but he did encourage me to explore something other than ‘beige me’. That’s when I started dancing at Savage, the club night – I went a few times with him in drag and met everyone, which was good because my social anxiety always prevented me from approaching anybody in drag. I loved what they were doing but I felt so removed from it and it was all quite alien to me back then. I would admire from afar and think “Oh my god, they look incredible!”, but then Jay introduced me to everyone and made that middle ground less awkward. I overcame my shyness a little bit – I’m not so freaked out by other people anymore, so that’s good! We would just have these elaborate drag sessions, they were amazing. He’s amazing. He inspired me to do something different, push my boundaries and project my own internal vision of myself.
So drag helped you to become more confident?
Georgie Bee: Yes, that’s a big element of my drag. There’s something extremely different about the scene in London, it’s very inclusive and very forward-thinking... It gives you confidence because it’s so different to every drag scene worldwide. I think people still tend to think stereotypically of ‘the drag queen’; that tall, buxom lady in a sequinned column dress with a blonde beehive and overdrawn lips, you know? But the world of drag is so much bigger – or at least it’s involved into something bigger. I still have a lot of respect for traditional drag and I absolutely love that world, but I think it’s brilliant that this is something so different. For me, it’s about genderfuck and a creative mix of silliness and seriousness at the same time; it’s like a pick n’ mix bag of heaven and hell. It’s fucking brilliant.
How important do you think humour is in drag?
Georgie Bee: I think it’s very important; if it’s not funny, it’s not that engaging. I think if you add humour to a sexual performance you remove the sexual element of it and make it less fetishised. I love gimmicky humour, I think it’s really fun. To me, the best drag is funny.
What were the inspirations behind your performance on Saturday?
Georgie Bee: Well, it was my first performance! It was inspired by my two pedigree cats actually – people say to me all the time that they want a kitten, and I’m like “Are you fucking serious?” I have two and they’re like children, just with more piss and shit involved. I find the pedigree world so funny because people keep the male cats outside because they fucking stink, and then the females go absolutely crazy and claw you to death, especially if you don’t snip out their ovaries early on – it’s horrible. When they’re on heat it’s like a siren call too – cats for miles can just smell the horniness, so I wanted to play with that and the idea of show cats. The performance was called Pedigree Pussy – I’m basically a sexy pedigree cat.
“For me, it’s about genderfuck and a creative mix of silliness and seriousness at the same time; it’s like a pick n’ mix bag of heaven and hell. It’s fucking brilliant” – Georgie Bee
So you literally became a cat on heat?
Georgie Bee: Yes! I wouldn’t even say it’s a girl because the performance ends with me spraying everyone with my sexy funk. It begins when I emerge from a show box to judges’ comments and they award me second prize – I love that too, I love that element of “Well you were great, but not that great!” I dance around to Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” because they do – poor darlings. But then I get a bit raunchy, so there’s a scratch pole and that clip from the movie Boomerang where Grace Jones is screaming “How can you turn down a pussy like this?” At the end, I strip down to reveal my ‘children’ – which were actually four Beanie Babies glued to my nipples – and just started jizzing over everything to the sounds of Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff”. It’s all very horny.
Nudity is a big part of your drag identity too – why do you think people are still so concerned with nudity?
Georgie Bee: Because there’s not enough of it! Everyone gets naked every day, but we don’t see it. I get naked all the time when I’m hosting and people can’t believe I’m so confident with it, but it will always be a big element of what I do because I believe in it. There’s a picture of me half-naked as a child with a cowbell around my neck which my sister discovered, so she sent it to me saying “Oh my god, you haven’t changed at all!”
The beauty of Sink the Pink is its inclusivity – it’s a real safe space. It’s an example of creativity uniting people to show defiance. Why do you think these places are more important than ever?
Georgie Bee: Because there’s still so much prejudice and so much horrendous shit going down in the world. You know the Sink the Pink Summer Ball happened the same night as Orlando? That’s why it’s important to show solidarity. Drag’s extremely important too, it helped me discover new things about myself and that’s very valuable. I had girls come to me after the show and ask how they could do this; they said they didn’t feel they could do drag purely because they’re women. I thought that was so fucked up, how can anyone say that this thing has to be exclusively owned by another sex? People should understand the history of it and respect drag, but it really should be for anybody. It’s a platform for people who don’t feel normal, so it’s important to have spaces like Sink the Pink where you can totally play with genderfuck and nobody will judge you. When you have that kind of safe space you feel so much less alone.
How essential is it that drag incorporates the entire spectrum of gender and sexuality?
Georgie Bee: Drag is for anyone – it’s about having fun and feeling good about yourself. It’s vital that women aren’t told it’s ‘not for them’, because it’s so important to allow people to express themselves. Female queens in London are getting so big now, there are a lot of people doing it. You can scroll through hashtags and see these amazing women and these amazing people doing it, and that’s what it should be about. It shouldn’t be “Oh, is that a man or a woman?” Just watch the fucking show and enjoy it – that’s the whole fucking point.
“At the end I strip down to reveal my ‘children’ – which were actually four Beanie Babies glued to my nipples – and just started jizzing over everything to the sounds of Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Stuff’. It’s all very horny” – Georgie Bee
Have you experienced misogyny as a female queen?
Georgie Bee: Does Instagram taking my nipple pictures down count?! Club promoters grill me to ask if my performance is ‘burlesque’. Fuck you. Would you ask those questions if I were a man? I just won Miss Sink The Pink – a drag competition – yet I’m still expected to justify that my performance isn’t burlesque and it’s a total joke. That’s the main thing really. It’s funny, though, my pictures were reported a few times on Facebook and obviously got reviewed, but Facebook must be confused by me because it deems my nipples acceptable for the world to see. Facebook thinks I have male nipples! At Sink The Pink the response has always been positive, though, nothing to my face – not yet anyway!
What would you say to any readers wanting to come to Sink the Pink?
Georgie Bee: Go with an open mind. People always ask what to wear and I reply that, no matter what you wear, there’ll always be someone that looks crazier than you so just be as weird or as extravagant as you want. There’s plenty of people that don’t dress up and that’s absolutely acceptable too, that just want to go and experience it, and that’s fine too. The thing is, though, just because there’s a lot of nudity it doesn’t mean you’re allowed to grab somebody’s tits. Some people still get that wrong, so it’s important to educate people because it’s not polite, it’s not nice and it’s ultimately not acceptable.