Cheryl Hole talks to Abi Jackson about the return of nightlife, seizing the day, and why there’s still a long way to go for LGBT equality.
Does the idea of hitting clubs feel like a distant dream? After a year-and-a-half of no dancefloors, 83% of Brits admit to feeling rusty, and 68% say they’d have no idea how to apply make-up for a big night out, according to a Groupon survey.
“It’s very true Brits are feeling apprehensive about hitting the nightclubs, because it has been so long and nightlife is the last thing to open again,” says Cheryl Hole who fans will know from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK series one (she finished fourth in the hit show).
“I think a lot of people put so much pressure on it; they have to look their best, they have to know how to flirt correctly. We need to flip the script and remind everybody they are superstars, and it’s just about having fun.”
The Essex-born drag star, 27, has teamed up with Groupon to help Brits prepare for their first night back on the dancefloor, with a ‘Get Your Glad Drag On’ workshop.
“Excited” to be sharing her wisdom, Cheryl says as well as tutorials and tips, the aim is to “reignite that passion and fun”. We caught up with her to find out more…
What are your top tips for getting ready?
“When it comes to glam make-up, I’m very much practice makes perfect. When I started, I couldn’t pick up tips from YouTube tutorials and stuff, my make-up grew and evolved with practise. So, for people wanting to look their most glam, it’s all about practise and finding what works, because not all make-up tips are going to work on everybody. It’s also about making a statement – you want to make sure that eye is popping under those discotheque lights!
“In terms of heels, if I know I’m going to be in stilettos for a long time, I tape my third and fourth toes together – that bridge means it’s supporting the centre of gravity more and helps stop your feet hurting.”
How are you feeling about nightlife opening up again?
“Obviously, we want to do everything safely. But nightlife has been a big part of my career and seeing so many of my peers and venues struggling or closing absolutely breaks my heart. I am so excited to see my peers back in their places.
“I’ve been very fortunate I’ve been able to work, whereas some are very reliant on nightclubs and bars. I can’t champion enough everyone going out and supporting these venues, and supporting local, independent businesses, and bringing life back to nightlife.”
What’s something you are you most looking forward to?
“Finally experiencing all this music we’ve been gifted with during this last 18 months. There’s nothing more exciting than hearing your favourite song blaring out of the speakers, pounding through your chest as you go: ‘I feel so alive!’ Also, I’m so excited to step on a carpet in a nightclub that’s not sticky.”
Tell us about one of your standout nightlife moments from over the years…
“One thing that sticks out for me is the very full-circle moment of going to Heaven in London every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night whilst I was at university, to suddenly being that queen on stage, coming out to a sea of people. I am dying to have that [again], to walk out and just be so immersed with the crowd.
“Pre-Covid, I was the queen that would jump into the audience and be at one with everybody. It’s not about me being up here and you being down there; we’re all here having a party. I’m looking forward to being able to do that safely again.”
Thanks to things like RuPaul’s Drag Race, the drag scene’s had a popularity boom. What are your hopes for the future now?
“We have made so much progression with LGBTQ and drag queen representation in the media, but we still have a long way to go. You’d think in 2021 there’d be a lot less hate crime, but with every week, I’m seeing more impact on our community.
“So, whilst there’s representation and shows like It’s A Sin doing amazing things for HIV stigma, there’s still so much that needs to be done. Like with people asking, ‘why are we still having Pride?’ Because there’s all this still happening, and Pride is a protest, we’re still fighting for our community and for equality.”
Do you have any big goals you’re working on?
“I am so blessed to be doing what I do. In life, nothing is given to you, you have to work for it, and I’m so grateful for any opportunity, whether it’s a gig for 10 people or for 10,000 people, an independent brand that has three customers, or a brand with three billion.
“I would love to do my one-woman show one day and tour that around the UK, around the world if they would like to see it. But I really like to take every opportunity, because the minute you say no, the opportunity is gone.”
Groupon’s Get Your Glad Drag On workshop with Cheryl Hole takes place on July 22. To find out more and apply for tickets, see Groupon.co.uk/deals/gladdrag.