She’s known as the ‘rapping/ singing/ lip-syncing diva’ – and she’s taking York by storm.
Drag artist Bailey Bubbles has won awards for her work and regularly nights of high camp, energy and fun across the city.
Bailey is also a part of ‘The Family Shambles’, the drag group who host various different LGBTQIA+ events in York.
Other members of the group are Bodie Snatcher, Lois Carmen Denominator and Gayle Force.
We caught up with Bailey and spoke to her about…, encountering homophobia in York – and the big drag smackdown coming next month.
How did you get into becoming a drag queen?
I loved performing when I was younger. However, being the little gay boy I never really got the big roles as I was too feminine to play the leading male. I decided to audition for a female role in a musical that was coming to my local theatre. They eventually cast me in that role and turned it into a pantomime dame. From that moment on I started exploring the world of drag.
How would you describe Bailey Bubbles?
Bailey Bubbles is the ultimate babe of York. A fun loving 40 year old meets Nanny that gives you a pack of mints every time you see her! I am very much the Nana of the York drag scene. I’m a singer, rapper, (adequate dancer) and will get you partying with some original songs!
What are your aspirations for Bailey?
My ultimate aspirations for Bailey Bubbles are to continue growing myself as an artist, performing across the UK and being an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. I’m a big believer in fate, I have already done so much in York and will continue to do so, but I wonder where the world will take me next?
What is ‘The Family Shambles’?
The Family Shambles is a drag troupe who run regular LGBTQIA+ focused events in York. Me and my sisters have been putting on queer friendly nightlife since September 2021. We hold cabaret nights at Yates, club nights at Flares, and brunches at Lendal Cellars.
How did the first Big Drag Smackdown go?
Part of our annual events as The Family Shambles is our big drag competition: ‘Baileys Big Drag Smackdown! (hosted by me)’
Last year we did it for the first time and was absolutely overwhelmed at the support we got both in terms of audience and applications. Last year we crowned our winner: Lois Carmen Denoninator (now part of The Family Shambles) and we are now on the hunt for the next heavyweight drag champion of 2023.
Were you impressed by the competitors?
Me and the judges were gooped and tagged by the talent last year! From live singing to burlesque to the winning number by Lois as she was dressed as Kate Winslet on the Titanic – it was insane! Looking at who has applied this year, we are in for one hell of a competition this year too!
What can we expect to see this year?
This year’s competition is going to be even bigger and better than last year! Spanning over three shows (5 and 19 May, 2 June) at Yates York from 8pm, we have a brand new exciting format and twists at the ready which I’m sure drag-show goers will absolutely love. We have a panel filled of York drag royalty, extra special guest judges, an insane prize package for the winner. On top of all this, it is just going to be a hella good night out for anyone who loves, drag, partying, camp tunes and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.
Drag is now huge. Why?
I think people have now realised that it doesn’t matter whether you are gay, straight, trans or whatever. Drag is just so much fun! We have had people from all over the UK attend our events and they all say how much of a fun and amazing night they have had. Drag being televised so much more has definitely helped the art form become more mainstream and accessible.
In your experience what is York like for the LGBTQIA+ community?
I love York. And compared to some places, York is a great place to live if you are LGBTQIA+. Although, this being said, considering there is such a large student population on top of locals, there are nowhere near enough safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ folk. Whether I am in drag or not, I still often experience derogatory comments and homophobia from people in York. This is why it is so important to shout and scream about all these LGBTQIA+ friendly events we do.
The death of Brianna Ghey affected you badly.
Brianna Ghey was a transwoman whose life was lost way too soon for just being authentically themselves. It was an attack against the LGBTQIA+ community. It makes me sick to my stomach that this has happened in the 21st century. With the passings of bills on gay marriage in the UK (2013) etc these seemingly big steps in the right direction, have recently been ruined by the steps taken against the queer community.
How can we keep up with Bailey Bubble?
Please make sure to follow me @bailey_bubbles00 on Instagram (and Facebook) and @thefamilyshambles to stay up to date with Bailey’s Big Drag Smackdown 2023 and all of our other events. Finally, and, most importantly- stay bubbly!