Published on July 09, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.
This article is about episode 2 of “Drag Race France” season 2. Do not read on if you haven’t seen it yet.
The beauty ? It’s his full-time job. And fashion? Let’s not talk about it. She stung more than one viewer in the heart with her wasp costume during the first episode of season 2, Vespi, the disco ball of “Drag Race France” (DRF) and eliminated from the last episode, confides in her inspirations , its relationship to femininity but also on the cost of drag.
SHE. How did you start dragging and what were you doing before Drag Race?
Vespi. I started dragging a little over four years ago when I arrived in Paris and started going to parties with drag queens. I’m a fairly feminine boy in everyday life, I already had nails, I went out in high heels… I added false eyelashes, a corset and a wig and Vespi arrived. But before Drag Race I was studying visual communication which I dropped out for drag. Let’s say I was doing drag but with difficulty.
SHE. How did you choose your drag name: ‘Vespi’?
Vespi. Vespi is the Latin name for the wasp family. I wanted the aesthetics of a femme fatale and a pungent, sulphurous insect. I really liked the very chic and sexy sound.
SHE. Who are the women who inspire your drag?
Vespi. I really like old Hollywood references like Audrey Hepburn but also women from the 70s like Diana Ross. My drag is glamorous, always elegant and shiny.
SHE. What do your parents and loved ones think of Vespi?
Vespi. My immediate family is a fan of what I do. I’m very lucky. My mother comes to see me earlier at a show, my father comments on everything on Instagram. They are fully behind me!
SHE. How do you respond to haters who criticize drag queens?
Vespi. I answer only in a tone of humor to make them understand the seriousness of their stupidity. These are misinformation people who don’t understand what I’m doing and sometimes aren’t adept at hearing a sensible response. I take the time to answer people who have real questions but I don’t waste my time on morons.
SHE. How do you live your elimination at this stage of the competition?
Vespi. Let’s say that I managed to take a step back and tell myself that competition is competition. Drag Race is quite an adventure and it’s not over, you’ll see it on my Instagram account…
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SHE. You’re a bit like this season’s fashion queen, we invest a lot in outfits when we participate in Drag Race?
Vespi. Indeed Drag Race has a financial cost. Each queen puts what she wants but especially what she can in an outfit. For my part, I put in a lot because I really wanted to represent my aesthetic and get as close as possible to what I wanted. I put full fire on outfits and wigs. I hope you like it as I enjoyed doing all these looks. It’s true that you haven’t seen much yet.
SHE. What are you going to do with the looks you planned to show on the next runways?
Vespi. The looks will obviously be shot, posted and worn. At least for those who are portable. There are outfits that are truly unique to Drag Race and will sit in a closet. But without wanting to throw flowers at me, all the looks are exceptional.
SHE. How much does it cost to make an outfit like that of the wasp for the runway of the first episode?
Vespi. An outfit like that of the wasp corresponds to approximately 500 euros of raw materials. Then you have to add all the labour, the wig, the make-up… It’s a cost but it’s also a nice impression.
SHE. In general, how much does an outfit cost to perform outside of Drag Race?
Vespi. It all depends on the outfit. It will depend on the fabrics used, the person who makes it. If we take care of it ourselves with Leroy Merlin chains, it doesn’t cost much. You can make an outfit for 10 euros by going to a thrift store and then an outfit for 800 euros. The range is very variable, most of the time, you can’t put a price on a drag queen outfit because we all have our hidden talents.
SHE. Do you manage to make a 100% living from drag today?
Vespi. Today I can say that I live 100% from drag. It’s great to finally be able to make a living from your art after spending years hoping to make a career out of it. This is what I wish for all artists who are starting out.
SHE. What are you going to do with the visibility that DRF brings you?
Vespi. Thanks to this new visibility I want to show who I am to people. Showing that asserting ourselves is an everyday job and that we don’t have to pay attention to the gaze of others. It’s kind of my strong point and I would like to be able to fight against it and give strength to people in everyday life who don’t dare to go out with a colored top or lipstick. It is by doing what we do and what we love that we manage to live fully.