LifeStyle Queensland Magazine sat down with Prada Clutch to talk about her latest show Les Divas and why she’s thriving in drag.
LQ: What is the Les Divas show?
PC: It is 12 divas impersonated by three drag queens singing songs people love and can sing along to. It’s a hoot! It’s grand, it’s fabulous, and it’s over the top!
LQ: Who is Prada Clutch and where did she come from?
PC: She’s fabulous, she’s excited, she loves audiences, she loves to perform. Everything Prada does is for the people. She’s always trying to make people happy and change people’s perceptions of drag.
13 years ago I didn’t have a drag name. I wanted to be classy. I was having a chat with my cousin and I said “well what about Chanel?” and she said “I think you’re classier than Chanel, why don’t you go Prada?” But Prada what?” Prada bag, Prada duffel bag… Prada Clutch?
A lot of people carry on and they go Prada Crotch and Prada Crutch but it’s not- it’s Prada Clutch. And I often say “clutch” as I like to use one when I’m riding stick.
LQ: How did it feel when you first performed?
PC: I did a play at university where I had to play a drag queen and that night I went to Oxford Street in drag. I jumped up on the stage and started miming a song and I thought, “Oh god I’m terrible at this- I’d rather just sing!” I grabbed the microphone off the drag queen who was hosting the talent contest and I started singing. She yelled “STOP THE MUSIC!” She said – “you can sing” and she started it again and I sang the whole song. From there I would just go around Oxford street and sing a song here and there, entered a few drag competitions and did quite well in them and then next thing you know I was working everywhere.
It’s different because I sing and there are not many of us that do. When I came onto the scene, there was really only Courtney Act and she was quite successful doing all her wonderful work. Then I came on and started belting out tunes and people went “oh my goodness.” From that I started working everywhere. I ended up wanting to bring huge shows of fabulous quality to people and that’s how I ended up touring about three or four years ago.
LQ: Did you have a drag inspiration growing up, or did that come into it later on?
PC: As a young boy I started singing when I was eight years old and my voice didn’t break till I was fifteen, so I was singing all the powerhouse diva songs. I love Dusty Springfield, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion- all these divas from way back- little did I know that was in the path of where I ended up going.
LQ: What is it that drives your energy?
PC: People often say “Thank you so much for coming, we’re going through a bit of a tough time at the moment and it’s just been fantastic to forget about what’s going on in my life for a little bit”. They are thanking me but I’m thanking them because without
them I don’t have the opportunity to do what I love. Without people coming to my shows, I don’t have a stage to perform on.
LQ: What’s been your favourite moment on stage?
PC: It actually happened off stage. I had a young boy come up to me after a show. He was all done up in drag, and only about 11, so excited he couldn’t speak. It was in a very rural town in Victoria where people said to me, “Oh god, be careful going there.” His brother was there too with a dress on. And I said, “Oh you’re all dressed up!” and he said “Yeah, I don’t want my brother to feel uncomfortable so I put a dress on too”. That 13 year old probably doesn’t realise the impact he is having on his younger brother. It is so nice to see that kids don’t care about dressing up or what’s wrong or right, they just care about each other, which is quite beautiful.
LQ: Has anything ever gone hilariously wrong?
PC: I walked out to an opening number one time many, many years ago, saying “Hello ladies and gentleman, welcome everybody!” and I fell flat on my face. But it was a great thing! It was very early in my career and I was nervous as all get out and performing to 500 people. I didn’t know where I was going to go with it and then after I fell, the audience immediately fell in love with me.
I said “Oh my goodness I’m used to working in Oxford Street and we don’t have big stages like this” and it all came out of me. And the audience feels sorry for you, but you’ve got them for the rest of the show.
Another time I walked out after having eaten a bit too much overseas and we had to do some last minute repair with feathers over where the zip wouldn’t quite close and I had to walk out saying “Sorry everyone, I spent a little time in America and now I’ve started to look like them!” It’s all just a bit of fun but the audience can relate, it makes you human.
LQ: What’s your ultimate creative dream?
PC: For anyone who has idols in their life, performing with them is the dream. Mine would be a big concert, hosted by me starring Cher, Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross, Celine Dion- doing duets with them all. It would be spectacular.
LQ: Priscilla was ground breaking back in its day, what’s ground breaking in drag now?
PC: Priscilla has played such a big part in drag. It is iconic. But RuPauls drag race has brought out a whole different league of drag, it’s a whole different world. RuPaul has made it so mainstream that people in these rural towns come up and say “I watched RuPauls drag race, why aren’t you on the show?” It is an extraordinary platform that RuPaul has made and is particularly exceptional in how it has opened peoples minds. When I first started, RuPaul wasn’t on Netflix or Stan but now that it is, people are relating to it straight away and they come and see the show because they are excited about drag. People aren’t scared anymore. Now they are seeing the realness of it all, the challenges and the struggles. People can relate.
Catch Prada Clutch and her line-up of Divas at their upcoming show
Prada’s Priscillas at the Toowoomba Empire Theatre, Friday April 3.
BOOK HERE to grab your tickets now!