Jordy Deelight is a non-binary drag queen, who describes themselves as the real housonly ewife of Leith – and their drag style as "Angel Delight on an Aldi budget".
Deelight explained what the last 12 months have been like for them as a performer. “The past year was very difficult. I faced a lot of obstacles in drag and out of it as an artist. I have cystic fibrosis so am in the high risk and shielding category, so the return to stages for me felt a long trip away compared to healthy drag artists.”
Before the pandemic Deelight DJ’d regularly at CC Blooms and The Street. They also did a variety of live singing and musical theatre shows across Edinburgh over the last six years. Jordy has combined their drag career with activism and has used their platform to share their own personal stories.
They did a show called Wasted Youth in 2019, which looked at sexual assault and was featured in their BBC documentary Jordy’s 65 Reasons to Live, and a second show, The Honeymoon Period, which looked at lung transplants in cystic fibrosis.
However, this regular work and their livelihood was forced on hold as the UK entered a national lockdown last March.
Unlike most workers, drag queens, performers and actors were unable to access the government’s furlough scheme because they are self-employed. This has left many artists without secure pay for months and months.
“My income was completely stripped from me,” Deelight says. “I lost all DJ earnings and spent months living off of savings that I had kept in case my health ever got too bad I couldn’t work."
"Thank God I did save as this pandemic was never expected to last this long and those savings covered my rent and bills for six months” – Jordy Deelight
However, like many drag queens, Deelight was able to adapt. “Thankfully private gigs, DJing online and performing started coming in, as well as the BBC and the National Theatre of Scotland. I have my digital performance MA to thank for that, as digital performance is all that can be accepted right now. The Creative Scotland hardship fund also supported me, with help from Bectu [the creative union] in London.”
Mystika Glamoor, who is known as the high priestess of Edinburgh drag, also spoke about how the drag community has changed over the last year: “2020 was a challenge for all drag artists, as we have suddenly found ourselves unable to safely put on our shows and bring our community together through our art. It has been amazing to see how drag artists have adapted to creating digital work, from TikToks to full online cabaret shows.”
Glamoor has been one of the queens who have helped to ensure that drag shows continued online throughout lockdown. “I have organised a variety of these shows, and done various performance videos, which have been a fun challenge and a great way to keep busy during lockdown. However, we all miss the energy of the crowds cheering and laughing with us, and we cannot wait to be back.”
Before lockdown Glamoor used to host an event under her name, famous for being “a queer cabaret featuring the freaks, newcomers and campiest performers every Monday night at The Street bar”.
Glamoor has also worked in Berlin, Zürich and across the UK but she cited the community feeling of Edinburgh. “I think the Edinburgh scene is fairly small but I have seen it explode and grow over the last two years."
"It’s mostly a very big family and community without a lot of different cliques or rivalry” – Mystika Glamoor
April Adamás, the mother of the Haus of Adamás, describes herself as a “saucy, sexy giraffe with an absence of fashion and a habit of getting naked.” Adamas spoke of her reservations about returning to live performances.
“I feel the scene will be more competitive than ever. Every single performer has had a year to better themselves, to learn how to sew, to create new routines and generally grow as individuals, which to some people may be quite intimidating. Fortunately, I have also spent the year bettering myself and refining my drag so I’ll be bringing April 3.0 and trust me when I say I’m taking no prisoners!”
Although Adamás has some nerves about live performing returning later in the year, she undoubtedly still has the same passion for her shows. “I just can’t wait to interact with everyone again! Whether it’s hugging some random bride on their hen do and taking a picture with them or doing a comical takedown of a heckler who wants to comment on our art.”
Live performing and interacting with fans is such an important part of Adamás’s life as she explains what drag means to her. “I can only speak for myself when I say drag is everything to me. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for the love and acceptance I feel when I’m on stage (and off)...
"Words can’t describe how drag makes me feel and I’m grateful that I get to experience it with everyone at the shows” – April Adamás
Drag has played a major part in Adamás’s life and her journey to becoming a queen was almost accidental. “So my start in drag was like most queens nowadays. I stumbled onto Drag Race with a friend and just started playing around. I thought I was the prettiest girl in the world (but I most definitely wasn’t haha!) – there wasn’t necessarily a motivation back then, I was just having fun.
“I’ve always loved working with people and entertaining so my main motivation now is to try and make anyone who comes to my shows forget about their troubles, even if it’s only for a few minutes. And sometimes that small distraction can change a person’s mood for the whole day.”
Thankfully the Scottish government has provided funding and support for the LGBTQIA+ venues across Edinburgh as these are a vital space for both performers and fans. “Queer spaces are so vital for us all to find ourselves, whether you’re a performer or in the audience, and then queer love we will feel once we’re back together will be overwhelming,” Glamoor says.
Deelight emphasised the need to get out there – once it’s safe – and support your local drag queens. “It will be down to local audiences to keep drag returning and show their nightlife their support by returning as regularly as they can when things open, and coming to see their local queens host, sing, do splits and have a good time with us. We need those fans to keep us going and they need us to keep them entertained.
“I hope they support local queens as much as they have Drag Race UK!" – Jordy Deelight
I know when my show starts every Friday at 9 pm in the LGBT+ pink triangle our doors will be open to everyone!”
But if you can’t wait for the bars to reopen you can join Glamoor by tuning into their online show on the February 27 at 9pm, a celebration of LGBT History Month featuring Edinburgh’s drag explosion, The Hoose Of Rabbit!
You can also join Jordy Deelight at the Haus of Liability’s next show via twitch on Friday March 12, @hausofliabilitydragshow, and keep up to date with April Adamás over on her Instagram account @Everybody_loves_april.