An Interview with Candy Warhol
Grey and Ginger started with the aim of creating designs that anyone could wear - inclusivity has always been one of the brands cornerstones. Furthering the vibrant and exciting nature of our designs, we wanted to feature articles showcasing some of the wonderful personalities that we have come into contact with: the first of these is Cork Based Drag Queen Candy Warhol.
Drag was one of the first areas the designer, Peter Bradley, looked to when creating our latest print. It echoes what we are about as a brand: everyone is welcome, you can be whoever you want to be. We wanted to reach out and get to know one of Ireland’s top drag queens as she embodies everything we strive to promote: artistic flair coated in acceptance and inclusivity. We caught up with Candy to find out where her drag originated, what inspires her and what the rest of 2017 holds in store.
Where did your drag name come from?
I took my name from Candy Darling, one of Andy Warhol's muses'.She would often speak for him in interviews and once said people should start calling her Candy Warhol.
I was fascinated with the world of Warhol - in particular his statement about everyone having fifteen minutes of fame - and how so many interesting people were drawn to him and his factory for different reasons; people like Edie Sedgwick, Holly Woodlawn, Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling. The more I explored this world the more I wanted my name and my drag to reflect my interests in old stars, fame and pop culture. So the name was a perfect fit.
How did you first get involved in drag?
I was first introduced to drag at a young age: my father brought me to one of my grand uncle's (Danny La Rue) shows when he was on tour in Ireland.
I was also obsessed with films like To Wong Foo and would watch them on repeat! When I was in art college I began creating different characters for my project about personas.I re-created Andy Warhol's movies with the characters just staring at the screen.These ranged from a GAA player to a monster like creature but at the heart of it was a doll character that came to life. This was my first time in drag.
In my second year of college I decided to run a clubnight and host it as the doll character. It went well and the club invited me back for round two where I was performing two numbers - a month later I was competing in The Alternative Miss Ireland, hosted by Panti Bliss.
Who or what inspires Candy’s persona and style?
I really love fairytales, especially the villains usually! Stories like The Wizard Of OZ inspire so much of my work. I also look at runway collections a lot, especially new designers. Sometimes I will contact a graduate and collaborate with them. It's fun to work with and support fellow artists. I think its important to stay ahead and look at things outside of trends.
Recently, drag has become quite mainstream and there are obvious makeup and fashion trends seen amongst the queens so its hard to tell people apart. This is something I try to avoid because its important to keep your own identity or else you will get swallowed up amongst the crowd.
Is there any particular aspect of Drag that you love the most?
I really love so much of it. Creating the look is both challenging and exciting. Being on stage can either be the best time of your life or the worst - it all depends on the crowd! Luckily, most of the time its great! I love making a crowd laugh or gasp and always engaging them! Waking up and reflecting on the night knowing everyone had a great time is the best feeling.
What are your thoughts as to the gender lines in areas like fashion become more and more blurred? Does this make drag more exciting and give you more options with regards your performance outfits or does it make it harder to stand out?
It's a great sign of where things are headed.Fashion should always be about the future and where things are going so having androgynous models or gender neutral models walking for designers is fantastic.
I think its an exciting thing; its another step towards people being more open about who or what they identify with and a rebellion against what we should look like.Also seeing drag queens model for designers and brands in commercial shows and campaigns is great. Starting from a fashion background, this is something I've always wanted to do so I'm all for it.
Do you see drag as a political statement?
Drag is a huge political statement. Its a mega "Fuck You" to society and pop culture. In the 1960's and 1970's drag was proper punk: it was illegal. Queens like Marsha P.Johnson - who threw the first brick at Stonewall - paved the way for young guys being able to paint their faces and post it on Instagram without realising how lucky they are.
We are all so lucky to be doing what were doing because of the queens of the past. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. Now more than ever its important for queens to stay visible, but I think a lot of the younger queens, club kids and makeup fans are doing it as its a trend (which is totally fine) and some of the punk political spirit has been lost, which I want to see a return of.
It needs to get gritty again.
Who do you most admire in the Drag world?
As I mentioned above, I'm most inspired by the queens that paved the way. Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis seemed like a dangerously fun trio. Marsha P Johnson and all the queens of Stonewall. Current queens I love Jackie Beat,Coco Peru and Sharon Needles who I think speaks so intelligently. I love a smart queen! And I have to say my grand uncle Danny La Rue (she would smack me otherwise).
You chose Willow as your favourite of our designs - what was it that drew you to her?
All of the illustrations are so beautiful but something drew me to her! I saw a mix of both a queen and a villain. Of course I chose her! Also, Willow was my fave character in Buffy so ;)
What can you tell us about the NUA Festival and what you are working on at the moment?
NUA Festival is an arts and fashion festival launching in Cork City on September 14th. I created it in order to support, showcase and celebrate new emerging talent in Ireland. I've been working on my debut fashion collection ,Cailleach (Witch), for the last year and I wanted to show it in an unusual setting, so I began organising a fashion show with new talents. This became a four day festival with an exhibition, classes, shows and of course the fashion show! So many of my friends including my best friend of ten years Erika Marie are making it over to get involved and its really exciting! Hopefully it gets bigger and better! One of the events I'm most excited about is 'Mockie Ah' (A Cork phrase for make believe) which is a new open mic drag/performance show I'm hosting!
Once the dust settles on that I will be hosting at The Outing which is the worlds only gay matchmaking and music festival in October and then I'm running a queer film weekend in November which I'm announcing soon. I'm also in the planning stages of a film about my grand uncle which I'm really excited about so hopefully I will have news on that quite soon.
NUA Festival runs from the 14th to the 17th of September in Cork City. For details on the events happening during the festival and to purchase tickets, hit up https://nuafestival.com/ for more information.