Artist Of The Week: Eppie Conrad

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Drag has been rising steadily in the public eye over the last few years. RuPaul's Drag Race has catapulted cross dressing into the mainstream, and it seems we can't get enough of these queens and their sickening looks. But why should drag just be for men? There's a new wave of female drag queens taking over, and Eppie Conrad is at the forefront of the movement. With her Instagram bio reading "I'M A DRAG QUEEN, NOTHING FAUX ABOUT ME" she's directly rejecting the title 'faux queens' given to ladies who do drag. We caught up with the Lidl loving, London based queen herself...

For those who don't know, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

I'm a drag queen, I dress in drag. I love all things drag. Drag! I'm from Newcastle originally but moved to London to go to university, then dressing in drag happened once I'd finished studying. I was at a loose end and that's where all the fun was. I needed somewhere to be creative, and in the drag scene I could set my own terms and dress how I wanted, no matter how foolish.

What inspires the looks you create?

Anything and everything. Initially it was Drag Race queens, but now its lots of corporate logos - a "corporate whore" aesthetic.

I never knew you were also a trained fashion designer - is this still something you're working with/pushing or has drag and performing taking over?

I still use my fashion skills in making costumes for myself. My specialism was textiles and print so this helps when I'm rebranding logos to look shit or fun in an outfit. Drag has definitely taken oven my life.

How did you get into drag?

I was going out a lot in the Black Cap (it's now closed down, gentrification…) and the queens there also hosted nights in Soho. There was one called Ultra Violet and me and Carl (Carlos Whisper) decided to go and dress up for it. I think we just had gold on our faces, nothing spectacular by any means but it was great! We loved it and kept going, and my looks got better from there. We made friends with lots of people and a group of us became #HausBound, a little club kid drag fam <3 Everyone needs a drag fam!

Your make up skills are next level - did you teach yourself?

I'm going to be self-deprecating here, but I don't think I'm that good. I can paint my own face but not other peoples. I taught myself to paint my face by looking at tutorials and a lot of trial and error. I used to stick anything to my face until one allergic reaction too many and then decided I should really take care of my skin before it falls off. Using Prosaide is the best for keeping glitter on all night. My main strength is that I can draw, that always helps. I've been drawing all my life, my dad has stacks of 'art' in boxes at home that I did from age two and up. If you leave something lying about long enough I'll draw on it, and my face was no exception. Although the good thing about make-up is that it doesn't clutter up the house, you can wash it off ya face and it goes down the sink - everyone's happy!

How did you become a part of night club collective Sink The Pink?

I went dressed as Lidl for a STP that was 'big' themed and I went as 'big savings. It was my first STP and the first time I met Glyn and Amy (founders of STP). They bloody loved it! They bloody loved Lidl. I had a proper long conversation with Amy that night and felt so welcome and happy there that I just kept on going and they kept noticing. Glyn asked me to try out for Miss STP 2015, I went as Coca Cola, and was pretty fucking proud of myself for even getting through the performance bit. I didn't win, but that cemented me being part of the family. Best thing I ever did.

What is it about Jedward that makes you love them so much?

That he's John and he's Edward, and together they are Jedward! However in all seriousness, they were a really important influence in my life for a very long time. In 2009 when they were on X Factor I was a bit lost and here's these two lads who were going out onstage singing what they want, wearing what they want, having fun. People were vile to them and Jed's didn't care. They had such vitriol from so many people. John and Edward knew how people felt about them, but they still soldiered on because they knew how important it was to them and to the people that loved them. They always say that if someone has a problem with you, it's their problem not yours, you don't have to do anything to change yourself to please other people. They were so right, and I feel like no-one else was saying that. Plus, Jedward are just really funny and kind, I've met them loads and I love them loads in real life. #NoHate!

What's been your favourite drag look that you've done so far?

In terms of looks the one I loved doing the most was Lidl and it will always hold a special place in my heart. The logo is just so iconic. Perfect circle, primary colours, shiny bright white background and cheap high quality bags for life that look like a fashion statement. Everyone else's bags for life are pale in comparison. LIDL FOR LIFE!

What tips would you give to girls wanting to get into drag?

If you want to do something, don't question it too much or ask people how to do it, but just go with what feels right for you. If you want to go out dressed as a drag queen, go for it. It's so accepted now that the only person that can stop you now is yourself. Stay positive about what you want to do and keep trying new things. It's really fun, and everyone on the scene is so accepting you'll have the best time doing it.

What do you think of the London club scene at the moment?

I'm loving Savage and Dollar Baby, and WUT club is always good. I used to be a Soho kid, but then a lot of venues closed, so now I'm always out East.

What's coming next from you and STP?

Showtime Ball is at the Troxy in December, but it's already sold out! The balls are selling out so quick now, all the tickets had gone even before rehearsals had begun. I need to plan a special look for that, show time always make me think of Liberace but don't know how to link that to a brand yet. Ha!

Finally if could perform with any drag queen ever, who would you pick and why?

Oh my god right, ever since I was little I was obsessed with Lily Savage, but I'd want to perform with old school Lily when she sings "Argos is a girl's best friend!" Can you see an influence there? I certainly can. My accent goes all over the place, so much so that people can't tell where I'm from. Sometimes I sound Scouse, and I truly believe that's from watching so much Lily Savage. A current queen that I love is Christeene. I saw her at Milkshake festival performing with Peaches, and then again doing a karaoke night at The Glory. She is wonderful filth.

Follow Eppie here, and check out her work here. Read more about Sink The Pink and their events here.

Interview by Beccy Hill.