“‘Faux Queenas a label can fuck off – theres nothing fake about what we do! 

Chatting to Alpha Bites over a glass of wine and some particularly nice olives, I soon came to realise just how diverse the art of drag is. If youve not come across Alpha Bites before, she characterises the extremes of femininity, mixing known tales with an edgy twist to create seriously unique and scintillating shows. As a female drag queen, I wonder how shes created her alter ego without stepping on the toes of her everyday self – Alex. Thoughtfully sipping her Pinot Grigio with a smile, Im told, doing drag has changed my life in terms of my confidence as a person. Im much more able to express myself, I know who I am. To do drag youre creating someone else. Its an extension of yourself and youve got to get the base right to grow from there.Its always fascinating to hear what inspires people to explore another side of themselves, and more often than not it helps a person evolve and find out more about themselves. To extend ones self in such a way involves knowing exactly who you are, and what youre capable of. 

For women becoming drag queens, it can be harder than other drag artists to break through into the limelight. Alpha recalls her debut into the scene, explaining: I learnt about Revenges Lip Sync for Your Life, entered, and got to the final. After that I put an act together which I still do now. Its based around Cinderella and her dream will come true – but its her sexy side. Her ability to twist a story most of us grew up hearing, taking the underlying themes to a new level, its no surprise shes able to broaden mins and get a crowd going. But lets take this back a minute. How do you go from a RuPaul fan to one of the biggest drag acts in the south east? According to Alpha, the best thing is to just bite the bullet:  

Drag allows you to play with perceptions of gender. The more people that are doing it, the more mainstream it becomes, the better world we live in. 

Brightons first femme drag queen night, Female Trouble, has helped her career skyrocket too. Creating her own space to perform and experiment, she says there is a growing movement away from the traditional male-dominated drag scene at the moment, spearheaded by local legends Hans Euff, Felix Le Freak, Bitter Sour, the Kingdom team and more. We need those big queer dance places that are legitimately queer inclusive, like Traumfrau. Thats one big reason Stella Pint and I set up Female Trouble. For me particularly, I know Brighton has so many great venues – and really wants these kinds of nights.These places are redressing the lack of queer spaces on the scene. Its an age-old problem these artists are smashing through, the patriarchy being thoroughly ignored by these inspiring people. 

Image by Lucy Le Brocq

Confidence is becoming more and more of an issue for younger people, especially with the domination of social media platforms demanding people to conform. Its a double edged sword as it allows young people to connect in a way we never could before. I used to not be able to leave the house wearing any makeup, mascara, foundationnow I dont wear any makeup, you realise as you put it on the performativity of it. Youre performing a feminine thing. When Im not Alpha, I want (and need) to be Alex.While drag is certainly an exploration of ones self, its crucial performers do take time to nurture their day-to-day selves. She continues, the way I do that is not putting on makeup. Its the mask I wear to be confident. When you wear so much of it you realise you dont need it at all. 

When youve created such a unique character such as Alpha Bites, youd be forgiven for assuming that would be quite enough for one performer. Not Alex though, as she tells me, Alpha brought out a certain power in me, and allows me to own what I already have.Introducing the second persona in her armoury, Jonny Don, she explains: With Jonny I sometimes think this could get out of control!because Ive never explored him before.Hes the cheeky lad, if you will, of Alexs personality. A huge contrast to Alpha Bites, its an interesting dichotomy to see unfold. Shes adamant that Alpha and Jonny would not be friends!  

To present two completely different sides of herself while out and about in town, I wonder aloud if its difficult for Alex to understand the two opposing personalities, that are both her own. Its jarring when people ask about your gender because they feel they need to put you in a box and bring in all their assumptions and understandings of the world. The key is who you are.

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