Alfie Ordinary is the prince of UK drag, an extremely multi-talented queen, getting his start in Brighton which is home to some of the most talented Drag queens in the UK. Touring with his show ‘Help me I think I might be Fabulous’ which wowed audiences in Australia, we grab a chat to talk the Brighton scene, Australia and what the future has in store!
DragAdventures: You were recently in Australia with your very own show ‘Help! I think I might be fabulous’ how incredible did it feel to be in the land of Oz and getting to perform to a new audience?
Alfie Ordinary: Australia was amazing! I was so nervous to go out and perform to a new audience, I mean who knows what can happen, but I believe that it’s important to do things that scare you. It was a whole new learning experience and I feel like a better person for it and I’m so grateful for the opportunity. Since Australia, I feel that the show has grown even more and I’ve added a few bits ready for my next run at Brighton Fringe.
DA: What was the process of finding the signature Alfie look (e.g. your go-to blonde, short hair)? How important is being “recognizable” in drag?
AO: I created the character of Alfie when I noticed a huge growth in the popularity of drag. I wanted to work with a character that existed outside of the usual drag aesthetic, after all, gender is a construct, so when we’re talking drag, it doesn’t necessarily have to be male to female. It wasn’t easy at first, especially finding outfits, but I was lucky enough to meet a costume designer and wig maker who helped me realize the aesthetic of Alfie. Alfie is the son of a drag queen, so I always try to aim for “My mum made me this outfit out of her old drag”. Basically anything a boy would wear, but in sequins, bold patterns or rhinestones.
DA: What got you started in the drag industry and led you to the name Alfie Ordinary?
I’m really grateful for everyone who gave me a chance and put me on a stage when I was just a weirdo in a wig playing Wycleff Jean on the piano. People have said to me that Alfie Ordinary sounds like “Out Of The Ordinary”, which I really love, but in truth the name was a computer generated when I wasn’t allowed just Alfie, but I really liked the way ‘Ordinary’ was a descriptive word that sounded like a surname and so it stuck.
DA: Brighton Fringe festival begins at the start of May, will we get to see any of your famous cabaret acts?
AO: I’m doing my show ‘Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous’ on May 27th and 29th in the Bosco Theatre in the Spiegeltent on Old Stein. I’m so excited to be bringing this show back to Brighton Fringe as I’ve had such a journey with it over the last few years and it feels like a really special moment to be able to bring the show back to where it all started. Brighton Fringe has literally changed my life, given me a career and made me grow as a person and as an artist so it’s always wonderful to perform in it.
There’s so much amazing drag happening at Brighton Fringe. Not only is Brighton Fringe’s first Drag Pageant happening, but I’m really excited to see Joe Black’s villain show, ‘Cinebra: A History Of Horror’, ‘Glenda and Rita: Live At The Bosco’ and of course it will be lovely to see Courtney Act too.
DA: Brighton is the home to some incredibly talented UK drag queens, for those wanting to seek out new Talent who would you suggest?
AO: Brighton has a gorgeous community of creative and diverse drag. I’m proud to call Joe Black, Lydia L’Scabies, and Rococo Chanel my dear friends and family. It was Joe that first introduced me to cabaret. I went to his incredible “House Of Burlesque” show at the Kings Theatre in Portsmouth and fell in love with the wonderful world of cabaret.
Then I had the privilege of meeting Lydia and Ro when they started the House Of Grand Parade in Brighton. It was amazing. They created this beautiful, creative queer space for people to explore gender and identity artistically in drag and cabaret.
DA: You appeared in the fabulous Toyota TV ad with four talented drag queens as part of the ‘Go your own way’ campaign. How did that come about and how fun was it to be a part of? What was the most challenging part of the creative process?
AO: The Toyota ad was so much fun. I had no idea really what I was getting into. At first, a producer got in touch and said that they liked my drag and wanted to chat to me about an advert. These sort of inquiries happen every now and then, some develop into something, some don’t work out. But this one sounded great. I went to London to meet the team and do a sort of screen test and they told me about the idea behind the advert, that I had to create a billboard based on my drag.
I came up with the idea of the confetti explosion and they loved it. Next thing I know, I’m in a studio with a world famous photographer, makeup artist who’s worked with Lady Gaga a costume designer that trained under Vivienne Westwood and they’ve built an entire set that looks exactly like what I imagined.
It was surreal and actually quite emotional. I’ve been working really hard to create this character and there it was in front of me, built by an amazing team of incredibly talented people. The shoot days were long but everyone was so friendly and professional so it was fun. Filming on Brighton Pier was interesting.
We were setting up the cartwheel shot when a bird pooed on the camera. It went through the fan and into the interior components and panic spread among the team thinking that the camera would be ruined. Luckily after a quick emergency clean, the camera was fine and the shoot continued. I went on the carousel 3 times to get enough footage to use. It was also November, so it was freezing, but you can’t tell, right? Acting.