Another Worldwide Wednesday is upon us readers, which means we get to showcase another fab queen from around the globe! Today brings us to Berlin, Germany where this queen is a burlesque icon. Sheila Wolf has charted in lists for best performers across Europe, we grabbed a chat and indulged in Burlesque talk, who to look out for in the Berlin drag scene and more!
Dragadventures: How did you get started in drag and is there anything you would have wanted to know before starting that you know now?
Sheila Wolf: I started as party transvestite in 2004. Before I went out for the first time in 2005 I shared my dressed pictures on the first social networks called FLICKR or YAHOO Groups. It was amazing to get in touch with a lot of people all over the world. I still have friends from this time. Of course it was exciting to go out and it feels so crazy fuckin’ good to release the inner demons. Today its quite different.
I am not nervous when I am going out and I am not nervous when I am going on stage to entertain the audience BUT I am feeling free like the first moment. To give a tip for younger queens – just do it now! I started much to late – deep inside there was these wish to express myself but I released it too late. Anyway I am much older than most of the RuPaul Queens (at least if you look at my passport – but who cares if you have a good doctor) (laughs)
DA: What’s been the best bit of advice you’ve been given during your career be it through a queen or someone else, that you would give to anyone wanting to venture into a creative career?
SW: I am still learning to develop my character more and more. You can’t stand still. At the moment I take courses with a vocal coach to learn to use my voice as a singer. Personally I am not a big fan of lip syncing. I know some good queens but to use the own voice feels more real for me. One of the best pieces of advice in my career came from myself. I know I can be whatever I want to be. There are no limits as long as you work. Another good advice came from my wife. She always saying to me : “Stay on the ground – no matter how successful you are – that makes you more sympathetic” and that’s true.
DA: What does being a drag queen allow you to do or express when you are performing that you normally wouldn’t do?
SW: Good question. Quick answer: EVERYTHING. As a Queen you have the chance to express yourself in all ways. You can be shady, bitchy, loud … and so much more. Personally I don’t like that but you can. I try to be as normal as I can be in drag. Sometimes people expect some jokes below the line and I give them what they want. On stage I am a storyteller and people are interested to hear my adventures. And to be honest – if I could turn back time I would do exactly the same!
DA: If you could Freaky Friday style body swap with one other drag queen for the day, who would it be and why?
SW: Oh funny. I saw this movie decades before and it was fun. The movie came out and nearly one year later I decided to go out as a transvestite. I mean the word Drag Queen wasn’t very popular in Germany in 2004. But the movie offers a dream to swap your body and this was maybe an inspiration too. So today I love queens like Violet Chachki or Miss Fame. I mean they started their career years later than me but they did a great job at all. I love the vintage Hollywood inspired style and would love to swap with them for one day!
DA: You were recently announced on 21st Century’s Burlesque as the top 5 performers to see in Europe (except the UK) and 55th in the world. How did that feel to be featured in such a fantastic list, and what do you think makes you a stand out act? Also, have you ever had a fangirl moment when working alongside another queen?
SW: Yes that was truly a big surprise. I mean I am happy to have a lot of wonderful followers and it seems that this year they are helping a lot to raise me in this list. I think my background is really special. I am a straight man with a lovely wife and a beautiful 18 year old daughter. We are married happily for nearly 21 years and that’s a true gift in times like this. I think that makes me different to the other queens and at the same moment it makes me proud to be accepted as an artist. I’m also a perfectionist and worked hard to realise the perfect nude illusion in the European drag scene.
I never used breast plates cause it isn’t possible to tassel the nipple pasties with that kind of transformation. My idea is different and unique. I really love to work with other queens and of course I love to share the news that I worked with Bianca Del Rio and Jinxx Monsoon on the same stage in Vienna in 2014.
DA: Last Halloween you won best costume at Berlin dungeon, the outfit is so incredibly creative yet creepy, what was the concept behind the outfit and what inspired you to choose that outfit in particular? How long did it take you to put everything together?
SW: My second passion is cosplay. I love to create the perfect illusion or a totally different character far away from Sheila. But at the end they have one thing in common… all my characters are female. The dragon was inspired by the movie Jurassic park. I want to be a female T-REX or Raptor. Every single detail is made by me. For the mask I used an original of a mask maker but I didn’t liked the material. So I decided to create the same mask with silicone. That takes weeks to find out how that works. I learned airbrushing as a young guy and today I am happy to use it again to realise all these scary ideas.
DA: Talking about Berlin, what’s your take on the German / Berlin drag scene? Can you give us your top three queens we should absolutely check out?
SW: In my mind Berlin has the biggest and most colourful Drag Community of Germany. A lot of amazing performers have come to Berlin and decided to live here in the last 10 years. That makes Berlin sooooo special. It feels like we turn back the times to the Roaring Twenties. One of the most creative times of this city in my mind. I am not so deeply involved in the Drag scene of Berlin cause I am not performing in Gay Clubs anymore.
I am more on stage as a host of Burlesque Festivals or a Producer of my own huge shows. My favourites of the Berlin Drag Scene are HUNGRY, Bamby Mercury and my sister GLORIA VIAGRA.
DA: Do you have any exciting future projects coming up you can share with us?
SW: Oh YES…. beside my regular shows called VAUDEVILLE VARIETY REVUE at the legendary Theatre WINTERGARTEN I planned the first BOYLESQUE DRAG FESTIVAL in Berlin at two marvellous locations. The beautiful spiegeltent BAR JEDER VERNUNFT and the sparkling Circustent TIPI am KANZLERAMT are the venues for two crazy gender bender events.
At the moment I invited beautiful Queens from all over Europe and some amazing Headliners from USA. The Dates are MAY 25, and MAY 26, 2019 and I really hope to have the most colourful audiences ever dressed to impress!
You can find all the names on www.boylesque-festival.de and of course its always worth to see my grand revue www.vaudeville-variety.com presenting the best of cabaret and burlesque of the world.
Don’t forget to follow this truly inspirational queen on the social media below:
Keep up to date on the following shows:
Producer of BOYLESQUE DRAG FESTIVAL Berlin | Celebrate Life – celebrate inclusion (next shows May 25-26, 2019) ++ www.boylesque-festival.de
Producer of VAUDEVILLE VARIETY REVUE | The biggest Solo Cabaret/Burlesque Revue in Berlin (next shows March 16-17, 2019) ++ www.vaudeville-variety.com
Co-Producer/Marketing of HOTEL GL’AMOURESQUE | Burlesque Cabaret at BAR JEDER VERNUNFT (next show March 29, 2019) ++ www.bar-jeder-vernunft.de Break line / Next line
Founder of QUEERLESQUE CULTURE | Queer Culture in Berlin Blog / Magazine ++ www.queerlesque.de
Performer/Host of BURLESQUE | Moderation, Sideshow, Walking Act ++ http://worx.sheila-wolf.de