Daisy Doris May is the winner of Man Up 2022

We spoke to the winner of MAN UP 2022 DAISY DORIS MAY.

Since graduating Arts Educational Schools of Acting, Daisy has worked in Theatre, TV and Film for over 10 years, most recently featuring in ‘Sex Education’ Series 3 for Netflix. 

Daisy has been developing her latest two writing projects, which she is also set to star in. ‘Scrambled’, a one woman play and ‘Kings’ written with Isla Ure, her debut TV Series.

Theatre work includes playing Princess Katherine in ‘Henry V’ at The Globe, seasons at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, staring as ‘Gigi’ in Mark Giesser’s production and most recently touring with the Soldier Arts Academy in ‘Soldier On’. She was nominated for the Ian Charleston Awards for her role of Celia in ‘As You Like It’.

A proud player on the stages of London’s queer cabaret scene, Daisy has performed at Kings of Clubs, Bar Wotever, Queefy Cabaret and was nominated to join the best selection of performers in the Kings of Clubs Special with her Drag King personas. 

Mockumentary comedy ‘On the Job‘ sees self-taught feminist and iPod DJ ‘Steve Porters’ in his first starring role, produced by Blue Gravy Productions, as well as his one man show ‘Vybz’ scheduled to be staged by the end of 2021.

The inimitable german VIP party boy ‘Häns Off’ will be performing at Mighty Hoopla. Daisy is the host and director of the first improvised based Drag King cabaret ‘Häus of Dons’.

What is HÄUS OF DONS and how do you identify?

Oh heyyy! I’m Daisy Doris May (she/her) and I’m the creator of HÄUS OF DONS, a queer Drag King, multi-disciplinary performance collective. I would say we are a bit of a hybrid of theatre and cabaret with a very spicy twist.

You just had Mighty Hoopla and now have a wild summer ahead. Please talk to me about what is coming ahead and how you feel!

YESS Mighty Hoopla is always a beautiful celebration where all of my idols and drag siblings congregate, so that was epic. We’re now looking forwards to Together in the Square in Sheffield (July 9), Shoreditch House (July 14), a Pride after party at the House of St Barnabas and we are programing Walthamstow Pride at the Truman Social Club July 30 – all day – all night baby! Find us at festivals Secret Garden Party, Shambala, Wilderness and Come Bye. Busy DONS!

How does drag challenge gender?

We are taught from a young age what qualities are “masculine” and what are “feminine”. AKA. Men shouldn’t cry, be soft or camp. When you throw that up in the air, it’s incredibly refreshing and rewarding.

When did you decide you wanted to be a drag king?

The first King I saw was Adam All. I loved how his King was almost a portrayal of how they might want to see men. It was gorgeous and quietly political… and defo planted a seed. I’ve always loved playing with different characters, so I jumped at the opportunity to Drag Up on a “DRAG, STAG AND HEN DO” in Blackpool and Steve was born…

How does drag help you express yourself?

As a queer person married to a man, I suppose it’s been a way of expressing my identity and queerness. I also love how drag doesn’t have to be polished or refined. It is the perfect opportunity to play and explore.

Who are your biggest influences?

Cabaret families such as The Cocoa Butter Club, Bitten Peach and Queefy have totally inspired me. It isn’t just their shows that are outstanding but it’s the communities that have built around them. For my alter ego ‘Steve Porters’, my biggest influences are the garage boiz who live next door to me (if you know, you know). And for Hans, it’s my favourite voguing artists – Karteer, Faye Revlon, HanaB… and of course the KlubKids I’ve met in Berghain over the years.

How important is PRIDE and what are you planning for the Pride season this year?

Not to sound a cheeso, but PRIDE really isn’t one season. It’s 365 days a year. I feel so lucky to be part of this beautiful community and it’s changed who I am. If I’m not performing, I love going to big up my drag siblings and of course watch KINGS TAKE OVER THE WORLD wherever, whenever I can! We are starting to see a slightly more balanced and diverse line up for main PRIDE events… But we still have a way to go.

Is there enough Drag Kings representation compared to Drag Queens?

No. Hence why I’ve poured energy into creating HÄUS OF DONS…

How have you evolved since you started your career and how has your drag changed?

I’d like to think I’ve become braver?! When I first drew on Steve’s goatee, lemme tell you… I was far from feeling myself. But I’ve learnt to care LESS what other people think and be bold and outrageous and embrace my oddness! I started doing Drag in lockdown and just filming silliness to keep my spirit alive and homies chuckling. But since then, the change is now performing to live audiences…

What is the message you want to spread through your drag performance?

Being “ugly” can be sexy as fuck.

Being vulnerable can be powerful.

And weird is the only way to be.

What are your future plans?

To keep building a community of diverse Drag Artists and our gorgeous budding following… I want our nights always to be a space where everyone can be involved in the madness!!! Oh. And do the same thing I do every day Pinky… To take over the world.

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