Manchester's drag scene has long been the envy of cities across the country, but with the queens banding together beneath the #manchesterqueens banner, there is a unity amongst them that really makes them stand out. This hashtag has been present on social media for quite some time now and if you search for it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, the sheer body of work you are presented with is evidence enough of why a queen from Manchester should definitely front the show, These queens are an example of why Manchester is so proud of our coiffured heroines, who display not just the range of personalities we get to see on the scene, but also the depth of talent that is evident day in, day out from a plethora of artistes across the city. From elegant sculpted Glamazons to deformed and tumorous she-monsters, the drag here is refined, experimental, progressive and downright fabulous, and through the hashtag we can see that the queens are as proud of their city as their city is of them.
Each entrant was asked to submit a video lip-syncing to one of RuPaul's songs and over the last few days, an deluge of lip-sync videos have appeared from across the country, but none can rival Manchester's strength as a collective. If you haven't yet had the chance, take a peak at the city's contenders below and, if you'd be so kind, share the SHIT out of them. Like them, share them, tell everyone you know about them and let's get the message out even wider that the #manchesterqueens are the BEST in the country.
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Anyone who's even walked through The Village will know Anna's face by now, painted as it is on the side of The Molly House. Her trademark white face, BIG hair and wildly creative Carroll-esque aesthetic is as distinctive as it is bold and her face has appeared on more magazine covers than she'd care to mention. Instead she shows them. Lip-syncing to Ru's Covergirl. ...I see what she did there.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: The FULL utilisation of her now signature sheet magnifier to really showcase the skill of her lip-sync.
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Whoever said that the world needs colour? Liquorice's commitment to all things black has made her a unique (monochrome) face on the scene. Looking like she stepped straight from the mind of Tim Burton with her spider-like slender limbs and crisp glamour, her trademark colourless palate proves that black exists best when casting shade.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: When the colour eventually fades back into the video and Liquorice is left as monochrome as before.
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Grace Oni Smith
As cutting edge as she is fabulous, Grace "The Face" is a pioneer of Drag as Art, with her performances as experimental as they are alluring. Challenging gender binaries with her conceptual aesthetic, Grace is a prolific and inspiring figurehead who proves that drag is so much more than just giving good face. Though that helps. Especially when your makeup is as FLAWLESS as hers.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: That jewelled face mask is so fetch. I need one.
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Divina De Campo
Divina De Campo simply embodies classic drag glamour. With a look as polished as it is on point, her skill and charisma has already seen her perform the pre-show for the Battle Of The Seasons UK, but her multitudinous wardrobe is no match for the warm but wry wit that has seen her become one of the most popular and well-liked queens on Canal Street.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: The Robert Palmer style band consisting of FIVE Divina De Campos!
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She may be one of the youngest queens in the contest, but Lill's likeable and sassy Northern grit balances perfectly alongside her colourful punk look, playing with contrast and clashing genres like they have no boundaries. As spirited as she is glam, Lill is a formidable but down-to-earth talent. And I simply HAVE to do that with my bathroom. And I want henchmen in balaclavas too.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: Errrm how is ANYONE going to beat the Geri Halliwell Sex And The City impression?!?
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Nobody could say that Cheddar isn't one of the staunchest crusaders for drag's place at the centre of Queer Culture. With her performances a direct assault on masculinity, her distinctive head-pieces (or lack thereof) are the signature icing on an authentically original aesthetic, which inspires as many questions as it does admiration.
VIDEO HIGHLIGHT: That Ferrero Rocher gag was... gagging... to be used. And I'm glad Cheddar acknowledged that elephant in the room for all of us.