Each month we’ll champion two amazing drag queens, DJs, or community heroes in the gay scene. Our July spotlight falls on Newcastle drag legend Glenda Jackson.
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What made you want to become a drag queen?
I loved the look, the glitz, and all the glamour, plus the feeling of being a woman. When I first started I was extremely slim and girly, so it all came very natural to me.
My first time in ‘full’ drag and doing a number on stage was in 1971 or ’72, at Merewether Leagues Club, near Newcastle on the NSW, North Coast. I was the youngest in the show, which meant all eyes were on me.
Who taught you how to tuck?
Judy Allen, best known from Les Girls in Kings Cross. She showed me with three pieces of tape. I was amazed at how easily everything disappeared. These days I don’t bother – I grew out and it grew smaller, so I wear bigger dresses and hope for the best.
Who is your drag inspiration?
The legendary Simone Troy, Carlotta, Judy Allen, and Monique St John; all stars of Les Girls, Sydney. In their day, they were the best in country. They had true style and I adored them all.
Favourite song to lip-sync?
“I’m Every Woman” by Whitney Houston, “Chain Reaction” by Diana Ross, and “Friends” by Bette Midler. I always do songs with vocals I understand and have a connection with.
Most overrated song to lip-sync?
“Man, I Feel Like A Woman” by Shania Twain. I have never liked it.
Most embarrassing onstage story?
The most embarrassing show I have ever had was my first performance at Merewether Leagues Club.
During my performance, my left breast, which in those days was a small bag of birdseed, fell out and hit the floor, and when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my dress started to fall off.
Luckily, it has never happened again. I have also fallen over a couple of times and then had to pull myself together and get up. But as a skilled showgirl, I always go on with my number.
Advice for younger drag queens?
My advice is simple, but classic. I come from a very different era of drag and these days there are so many different styles.
If a new performer wanted to follow in my classic drag stilettos and take my motherly advice, I would say – shave, smile, pin your hair on, learn the words, be stylish and not slutty, wear long gloves and earrings; but most importantly, DON’T do drugs, and be kind to your fellow queens and audience.
I have seen so many great careers cut short by bad decisions. Always remember – it pays to be nice and respectful to others.