The Glory opened it’s doors in 2014 and quickly became an East London institution.
A cosy pub upstairs with a classic Kingsland road dark and dirty disco downstairs, co-owners Jonny Woo and John Sizzle went about making the space a hub for all things drag, cabaret and a popular location for special one-off nightlife events.
When they launched their infamous Drag Queen lip-syncing contest Lipsync1000 I took my camera along to each of the heats in 2016 and documented the dazzling array of contestants. Hot on the heels of Lipsync1000’s success the Glory started a contest for Drag Kings called Man-Up that has gone on to be (probably) the biggest Drag King contest in the world.
Drag holds a mirror up to the accepted norms of our society and twists it around to show the truth. Femininity in men or women is seen as weak so a drag queen takes to the stage and dominates an audience using all the tools of womanhood to show how much power there is in embracing both sides of the binary. Toxic masculinity is seen as the only real way to assert yourself or be in power in our society so a drag king lays bare the hypocrisies of a sexual predator with humour and comedy, or seduces an audience in male drag revealing how easy it is to play with gender and how gender in our day to day lives is so rigidly constructed. Drag Kinging is now gaining a foothold in the Drag pantheon as it has become more urgent to address and call out the toxic masculinity that pervades all cultures. This ying and yang to the drag scene is something that is fascinating and exciting to me, as well as endlessly entertaining.
This is a selection of the headshots I snapped from my time backstage.