Hermione - Host & Performer FF022

Photo credit: Simone Murphy

Photo credit: Simone Murphy

Hermoine Callow is a London based performer and Drag queen, with fresh, funky, fun and floral looks. Not only is she a fabulous, colourful kween, she’s also a dab hand with a sketch book and is often seen scribbling fabulous drawings of her fellow Drag friends (go check out her etchings HERE . We’re super excited for Hermoine to be joining us as our Host for the next  Fèmmme Fraîche coming up on April 27th. We did a quick Q&A with Hermoine to catch up on the goss before the event.

Photo credit: Anthony Lycett

Photo credit: Anthony Lycett

HERMIONE

Hi Hermoine, thanks for having a chat with us and for coming to perform at our next Fèmmme Fraîche event, we’re super excited to have you! So let’s start at the beginning, how did you first get into performance and Drag?

Hiya! I’m excited too, thanks for having me! I got into doing drag about 4 years ago or so, but I started mainly just doing it in the house because I had no idea there was this whole scene out there. I think I found an event one day and found this amazing queer scene and it sort of snowballed from there. I’ve always been an avid fancy dresser so any opportunity I got to dress up, I would take it. Even if there was no reason to dress up, I would do it anyway. I went through a phase when I was about 10 or 11 when I used to dress up as Guinevere from the King Arthur tales on a regular basis for no reason. I did the same thing when I was 13 but I would just dress up as a pirate every single day after school for about 4 months. Aside from enjoying the costume and dressing up aspect, I’ve been into performance from a very young age. I used to make up a lot of plays and force people to watch them as a child and its sort of carried on that way growing up and into adulthood. I had quite intense theatre and art education throughout my teenage years and I could never decide which one I wanted to go with more, so drag and performance is a great way for me to combine both those things. I find reality quite depressing, so putting time into getting far away from it helps to keep me from going mad.

That sounds super fun, and indeed a refreshing escape from reality. So tell us about your first official performance, where was it, how did it come about and how did it go?

My first official performance was on new years eve of 2016 at Moustache bar in Dalston. Maison des Fous (run by Lewis G Burton and Kassandra Powell) were putting on a nye party and they had decided to get 5 queens to compete for the title of Princess Fous. Lewis had contacted me and asked me if I would like to be one of the contestants, which I was so happy about because I don’t know how I would have gotten into performing without this giving me a kickstart. I guess the actual performance was alright, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I was just winging it. I had such a great time though and everyone was into what I was doing, it was really well received and everyone was supportive and drunk and just having a great time. The crowd made me believe I had done a good job regardless of what they had actually witnessed, it could have been a holy show but I had fun!

That souns like a wonderful first performance! So as a female Drag performer, would you say you are as respected and welcomed as your male counterparts, both from an audience perspective, as well as by fellow drag artists? and Have you ever encountered any negative receptions as a direct result of your gender?

No, definitely not. Its a very male dominated scene and I don’t feel like people are doing enough to include womxn and non binary people. A lot of nights are run by cis men and they only book cis men to perform, dj, host etc, which is really disheartening. I do see them posting on social media about how the queer scene needs to be more inclusive and supportive of everyone but then just continue to run things exactly as they always have done- by only booking men, or on the odd occasion chucking someone else in to look like they are doing more. Its just not good enough. I know plenty of really lovely male queens and I’m not knocking them at all, they are all great. Its just a constant uphill battle to be seen as an equal. From an audience’s perspective, I generally don’t feel bad vibes, but nowhere near as many people get what I’m trying to do. I haven’t had people being horrible towards me because I’m a woman, but I do have random people telling me what I am, instead of letting me tell them what I’m about.

Totally agree, there definitely needs to be more of a cencerted collective effort to push diversity. It's hard not to discuss drag, without mentioning RuPaul, who has without a doubt catapulted Drag into the mainstream and a lot of non-queer spaces, seem to be jumping on the Drag bandwagon, do you find this appropriation of queer culture a negative or positive thing?

Its a bit of a catch 22 in my opinion. Its great that peoples eyes have been opened to drag as an art form and its being appreciated, but every Tom, Dick and Harry seem to be an expert on drag now, when they have never, and would never, go to support a local queen, or any queen who isn’t ‘famous’. I do find it irritating that we have a bunch of straight people who are not queer allies infiltrating our spaces and being disrespectful towards us. I understand its all very exciting and fun and wild but I feel that a lot of queer spaces are being overrun by people who just don’t get that its a safe space for us. If you and your straight cis friends show up to a queer space for no other reason than that you have seen RuPaul and think drag queens are cool, you really need to question why you are taking up that space, when you could just watch the show and go to a Wetherspoons. If you are a queer ally and you want to support us, then great, you are welcome and crack on, but if you are there under the influence of a tv show purely to gawp at us, please leave.

True words indeed. So let’s turn our attention to your Drag lewks, We love them, its super colourful, fresh and fun, where do you get the inspiration for your looks?

I tend to take themes quite seriously, so whenever I hear a night is of a certain theme, I mull it over for a while and arrive at some sort of outfit. I draw them out and then attempt to make them. 99% of the time the ideas just come from me thinking about it for a long time. I’m a bit obsessed with southern state trash at the moment so I’m doing a lot of state fair slut vibes for the time being. I also bought these great cowboy boots in Nashville a few months ago, so any opportunity to put them on really. My drag looks are very far removed from what I look like on a day to day basis, I tend to wear a lot of black and look a bit gloomy most of the time. My drag is everything I wish I was, which I guess is some sort of angelic slutty sexy princess from Tennessee.

Ha we love it! Now I’ve noticed most of your looks involve toplessness and titties (with a modest covering of the nips), which we salute you for your bravery and empowerment! but do you find that by bearing all, people think that gives them the green light for grappling hands? and how to you deal with inappropriate groping when it happens?

Oh definitely, I get groped A LOT when I’m out. People do think its a free for all just because I have decided to go out with no top on. I honestly don’t think there has been one time I have gone out and not had to deal with at least one person inappropriately touching me. I always get inappropriate comments but I tend to brush them off. Most of the time I will tell the offending person that its not okay and they shouldn’t do that, (most of the time the reply is, ‘oh don’t worry, its fine, I’m gay!’), but sometimes I will just lay into them, if its happened multiple times or they have caught me at a bad point. People do jump in for me a lot and school the person in question, which I greatly appreciate because it can get exhausting to constantly tell people why their behaviour is not okay even though I really shouldn’t have to.

Precisely, the 'It's Ok, I'm Gay' line, doesn't excuse any inappropriate non-consentual touching! So back to female empowerment, we’re all about that here at Femmme Fraiche and we do our best to support and create a platform for womxn artists, so tell us who are your other fave female / female identified / Non binary performers on the scene we should check out?

There is so many great womxn and non binary artists that I love and admire but I could be here all day listing them off. Three female artists I have a lot of love and respect for are Amy Zing, Georgie Bee, and Tete Bang. I look up to them a lot, they are absolutely smashing what they do and I want to be like them when I grow up. Lewis G Burton, Lucia Blake, Rodent, Joy Less are all amazing artists and I greatly admire them as well.

We love all the above too! So what can we expect from you on April 27th?

Lots of flowers, lots of glitter, nearly nude female empowerment, some bad dancing and a super fun time!

PERFECTION! What more could we ask for! And finally where else can we usually see you performing regularly?

Nowhere regularly as of yet, I tend to do a few things all at once and then nothing for a while. So book me!

Absolutely! So there you have it, a tiny taste of Hermoine's world. Come check her out on April 27th at Dalston Superstore for our next Fèmmme Fraîche and follow her on her socials below