Olive Hooters - Host & Performer FF#19
Chloe Pringle aka Olive Hooters , is a Brighton based drag queen, performance artist, singer, dancer and model extraordinaire. With a BA in Dance Theatre and currently studying for an MA in Gender studies, she merges the two in her performances and particularly enjoys the liberation of the female body aiming to normalise female sexuality and challenge imposed taboos. A mighty talent to be reckoned with serving lewks and sass down at the UK’s queerest seaside city, we’re super excited to have her with us in the big smoke, for our Halloween special. We had a quick chat with Olive Hooters about life in sunny B-town and what to expect from her performance for us at Halloween Fèmmme Fraîche, spesh on Oct 27th.
Oh Hey Olive, thanks for having a chat with us and for coming to host and perform at our next Fèmmme Fraîche Halloween spesh on the 27th, we’re trés excited to have you! So first up, we see you studied for a degree in Dance Theatre, so you clearly have performance blood running through your vains, how did it all start off for you?
Hello! Thanks so much, I’m super excited to be there! Yes, so I started dance classes as a child, ballet, tap and jazz, and as I got older, my interests developed into love for Musical Theatre. I then went on to do a BTEC in Dance at college and my master plan was to head off to stage school, dance on cruise ships and be in West End productions. Not only did money play a big part in this not happening, I also realised that that life was not suited for me. My under grad in Dance Theatre was contemporary dance based and along the way I became super interested in feminist performance; it was by far the right decision and it made me realise that you truly don’t know what’s around the corner in life, and that’s exciting.
Indeed, life has a funny way of guiding you in different directions, Drag being one for you. So Olive Hooters is your drag persona, it’s always crazy hard to think of new alias names, how did Olive Hooters come about?
I found creating my drag name very challenging and I honestly had no idea where to start. I wrote down some names that I thought sounded quite dated, Olive being one of them, and then realised that ‘Olive’ sounds similar to ‘I love’. I then wrote some things down that I loved, boobs being one of them, and had a look for synonyms but vintage style. Olive Hooters felt right and so far, on my drag journey, I haven’t felt the need to change it. Also, I love boobs!
Yes' we're also partial to a pair of Hooters, a fine female asset. Now, Olive Hooters is a fairly new invention, what made you decided to turn your hand to Drag?
I’ve mostly got to thank my wonderful partner who goes by the name Fruit who actually introduced me to the UK drag scene. (Thanks babe!) My only perception of drag was what I’d seen on the TV that my housemates used to watch - Ru Pauls Drag Race. I hated it and I didn’t get it, but eventually gave in and started to watch it (naturally becoming very, and shamefully, invested). Although RPDR surfaces problematic issues, it was definitely the starting point of my drag with regard to educating myself as well as going to lots of local drag and cabaret nights in London and Brighton. During my last few weeks of my under grad, I started playing with creative makeup and drag came into that quite a bit. My love for makeup, performance and feminism is at the centre of why I turned to drag. I absolutely love to challenge what people think drag is and continue to push boundaries around gender and sexuality, including who can or should be doing what - there are no rules and nobody should be excluded. Life is drag, but it’s definitely more exciting when glitter is involved!
Absolutely! So tell us what’s been your most memorable drag gig to date and why?
I absolutely loved the set up and theme of Apothecary Cabaret, which used to be at Haunt in Stoke Newington, London. It was very early days, maybe my third time performing in drag, so the nerves were challenging but the audience were so vibrant and engaged. But it was an incredible line up including Lick Von Dyke, Demelza Fox and Adam All. Also, it was at vegan restaurant. Satisfying in every way!
Sounds pretty perfect all round. So let's talk Drag terms - ‘bio-queen’ ‘Faux queen’ or ‘diva queen’ are often used to describe cis female drag performers, which by talking to most other cis female Drag Queens they find unnecessary and unflattering, what’s your view on these terms?
On one hand, I want to reject those terms as much as I can; it would be nice to not feel as if I’m in a separate and somewhat overlooked category of drag. I will ALWAYS reject ‘faux queen’. My existence and performance is not fake nor less than just because I wasn’t AMAB. But... there’s a huge part of me that kind of accepts that we are human beings, we like to label things and put things and people into boxes, not to say that this isn’t harmful or oppressive in some cases, but with regard to those terms, I think we should all do what feels right for us. I find a comfort in searching for #BioQueen on Instagram to find like-minded artists. Strength in solidarity, especially when there are people out there who genuinely think that bio queens are ‘appropriating’ drag culture. I’ll leave that one there.
Quite! so continuing the discussion on Gender and binary, you’re actually studying a Masters in Gender studies at Uni at the moment, do you find the topics of gender translate and permeate into your performances and how?
As I am only a couple of months into the course, it’s been quite challenging to translate anything into my work, as of yet. My views are definitely evolving and there is certainly room for evolution within my performances. I suppose I’m exploring the ‘self’ and what gender means to me on a personal level right now. I’m not sure how to explain exactly what I mean as it’s an extremely internal feeling. When I’ve figured it out, I’ll let you know!
Absolutely, we look forward to seeing the evolution of Olive Hooters. As you know, here at Femmme Fraiche we’re all about female empowerment and supporting female, female Identified and Non-binary artists, who are your other fave (F/FI/NB) performers on the scene we should check out?
Since researching the UK drag and queerlesque scene, my absolute idol is the impeccable Rubyyy Jones. I’ve completed their Queerlesque course in Brighton and have learned an enormous amount. Magical human! Big adoration to Katayoun Jalli AKA Cool Dad. I first saw them perform at Bar Whatever just over a year ago and I loved their act; it was super performance art based, and I love that stuff. Big big drag love for Daphne The 10 Year Old a Brighton based drag queen who literally never fails to make me pee with laughter. Jada Love who does neo and gorelesque; such stage charisma and raunchiness! Ah, it’s so difficult because there is so many and I love them all!
We Love Katayoun Jalli AKA Cool Dad too, but will also definitely check out the others. So we’re excited for you to come and join us at Fèmmme Fraîche, what do you have in store for us for the 27th?
Kink, Klass and Ass. Maybe some devil horns too. I’m going for an alternative drag look, covered in glitter (because why not) and I’m so excited to meet everyone and dance with you all!
Bring on the Halloween fun! So finally where else can we usually see you performing regularly or what other gigs do you have coming up we can come and see you?
So I’m next performing at my graduation from Rubyyy Jones Queerlesque course at The Marlborough Pub and Theatre in Brighton on 18th November, and on the 5th December I am performing at the University of Sussex Drag Society, details TBA. I will also be returning to Bar Whatever at RVT in London very soon, details also TBA! But if you follow me on Instagram, I will keep you all in the loop, and if you can make it to Brighton for either of those, it’d be lovely to see you all there!