The all-male revue Prada’s Priscillas plays tribute to some of the most iconic show women of our time. FOCUS caught up with the queen of the show, Prada Clutch, and chatted all things drag, feathers and diamontes.
Hi Prada. Introduce us to Prada’s Priscillas …
So, it’s me, Conchita Grande and Christina Dior. Conchita and I started drag together 10 years ago in the same competition and Christina had been doing it before us; we all sort of reconnected and decided to put a show together.
How did you personally get involved in drag?
I studied Musical Theatre at the Australian Institute of Music. I was studying there and Priscilla had just finished playing in Sydney; I was just on the cusp of wanting to do it, but I wasn’t old enough and I was studying.
I had a bit of an interest in it, and initially I went to a gay club and saw some drag queens and thought, “Wow, they’re amazing! I wonder if I could give that go!”
Three months later, I was in drag and just sort of put myself out there. I entered a couple of competitions on Oxford St; the first one I did I looked terrible, so I didn’t do too well in that one. I went away for a couple of months and really worked on my look and had a few people help with my hair, makeup and dresses and then when I came back, I entered the second competition, and I won every week for five weeks. In the end, they kicked me out and put me on the judging panel!
What is the inspiration behind the show?
Well, I’d seen Priscilla and was so excited about that. My show isn’t the musical Priscilla; I see “Priscillas” as showgirls … Prada and her Priscillas. We touch on a bit of Priscilla, but I wanted to take people on a journey from where drag began, the people that inspired the original drag queens … we do ABBA and Marilyn Monroe, a big tribute to the original showgirls, Les Girls, and then to where drag is now with Priscilla.
It’s a concept I had, and I thought we could make it work – obviously I can’t do Priscilla the Musical, because there’s already a Priscilla Musical happening, so I wanted to make it my own thing.
Carlotta came to my first show, and she was blown away; she said a lot of people have tried to do tributes to Les Girls, but no-one has ever done it quite like us. She said she was so grateful and so blessed that I did it, and she has supported me.
On the show, you collaborated with Monique Kelly, who is an original Les Girl. Tell us about that …
Monique, being a showgirl herself – I knew who she was. But, I hadn’t had any dealings with her – apart from when I first started; she saw me singing one night, and she came up to me and said, “You need to do Cher; you’ve got the look, you’ve got the sound, and you’ll be a fantastic Cher impersonator”. I walked away and thought I could give that a go, and now I’m Australia’s number one Cher impersonator!
Four years later, Monique contacted me for a wig. I have a wig business, so I do wigs for a lot of the girls and the shows. I went round and told her what I was doing, and she said she would love to help me with it.
This was the best thing I ever did, because we’ve formed the best friendship, and she has the knowledge – literally every costume and every prop in the show was designed or made by us. Conchita has made 90% of our costumes, and then Monique has gone through and hand beaded everything. A lot of our dresses are covered in diamontes, and each one has either been hand stitched or glued on by Monique. With my Cher dress, she hand beaded every single bead – six months it took her, to make that dress. It’s extraordinary.
Favourite costume/song to perform?
Oh it’s a hard one! My silver dress with the feathers (pictured). I wear that to the opening of Les Girls, and then I have a costume change and I turn into Cher; that dress and the feathers and the headpiece, it’s one of the most beautiful moments. There’s so much to look at; every time I walk out in that costume, you just hear the audience gasp and then scream! It really is to die for; it’s such a visual delight.
The song that I sing there is really special: I Can’t take My Eyes Off You, which is what the Les Girls are about … “You’re just too good to be true, and we can’t take our eyes off you. That song is very special to me, because when I started singing at eight years old, that was one of the first songs my singing teacher gave me. I’ve been singing that song for 21 years now.
Prada’s Priscillas – An All-Male Revue – Saturday, 7th April | 8pm.