Romone, who is also known as Baby and Reaux has recently taken the reigns of Brighton’s leading drag competition – Lip Sync For Your Life. We caught up with them to talk about their journey from competition entrant to host.
“I started doing drag by entering Lip Sync For Your Life (LSFYL). I had just finished my music degree and, naturally, I was broke, but I saw that there was a cash prize so I entered and won! Back then I didn’t want to call myself a drag queen, I just saw myself as a dancer. But since then I’ve started getting booked more, I made more drag friends that gave me tips and really encouraged me to push for a more theatrical and traditionally female aesthetic. In the past year I’ve gone from wearing no make-up in a crop top, boxes and some Dr Martens to a full face, skirts and heels.”
Lip Sync For Your Life has obviously been a great stepping stone for Baby, as well as many other kings and queens on the scene at the moment such as Tayris Mongardi (winner of season two) and Daphne 10 Year Old (winner of season… ). “LSFYL is so important because it’s an open space for anyone interested in performing to give it a try in a judgement-free environment. Without LSFYL I wouldn’t have taken that first step into a world that now pays my bills. Every season you see the community grow and it’s such a beautiful thing. Before drag became more mainstream, there would have never been a space that was built for LGBTQI performers in Brighton.
We couldn’t talk about this competition without bringing up RuPaul, whose award-winning show Drag Race gave the Brighton competition Lip Sync For Your Life its name. I wanted to ask Romone what they thought of the iconic and groundbreaking Queen.
“As a gay man of colour in the drag community, I have nothing but respect for RuPaul. The way Drag Race has become a part of our cultural consciousness has made my day-to-day life so much easier. As people are finally getting more refined representations of the LGBTI community, I feel like I don’t have to deal with as much micro-aggressions from people who literally never met a gay black dude in their life.
So does Romone have any tips for anyone thinking about entering the competition? “I’d say go for it! I know sometimes the thought of performing to a room of people can be intimidating but it’s such a positive environment and a great place to start your drag journey or just do it for fun!”
It’s been quite the rise then for Romone who has been busy recently been taking part in London’s Not Another Drag Competition at Her Upstairs, Romone said: “The experience has been insane. I didn’t realise how little I knew about the artistry that goes in to drag before NADC. Even though it’s a competition, everyone’s encouraging each other to be the very best version of themselves. I’ve learnt so much; I didn’t even block my brows or wear wigs in the first week!
So where does Romone go from here? “In the next few years I see myself doing little bits of everything; obviously I love performing but I’d like to be able to use my drag as a perspective that can influence my music, creative direction, choreographing and loads of other things that I might not be in a position to pursue otherwise.
Hinted at here, it’s not just drag that you’ll see Romone doing in the future, “I’m so excited about my music right now! Drag has helped me unlearn so many ideologies I had regarding myself and my place in the world; now I’m giving myself permission to be completely authentic with what I’m creating and it makes me really happy. I used to worry about sounding too ‘gay’ or talking about boys and my own reality; now I’ve removed all of these barriers and I’m recording really sold material that everyone can hear when the project is ready.”
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