We caught up with Victoria Pier to hear about her experience of preparing for our alternative cabaret night, Make More Noise, where she made her debut performance.

What drew you to drag?

"I have avidly watched Rupaul’s Drag Race for lots of years and I love all the creativity, music, wit, and fun associated with it. I’ve also enjoyed going to drag shows and events on the mainland when I am visiting.

I went along to the first Shetland Pride event in 2022 and attended the evening party where I saw visiting Drag Artists perform and got to meet with them and find out more about their drag. I then joined our visiting Drag Artists as Victoria Pier during Shetland Pride 2023, so I am still very new to drag. I follow lots of Drag Artists on social media – particularly from the Scottish Drag scene.

I was hugely inspired by Harry Whitham’s Fancy Boy Exhibition which I visited in Mareel in summer 2023 – Harry’s career is very inspiring, and he is so talented – hopefully we can collaborate at some point in the future!

I am incredibly lucky to have such creative people in my life who have been hugely supportive and encouraging, and have shared their expertise and time with make-up artistry, photography, music, design and choreography. My close friend Kirsti Leask of Inbu Beauty is a very talented make-up artist and has given up a lot of time to teach me techniques and has been a huge source of encouragement.

I thought it was something outwith my reach, but then thought why not give it a go? Shetland holds the ‘UK’s most northerly’ title for so many things… so why not have UK’s most northerly Drag Artist too?"

Love the name! How did you settle on Victoria Pier?

"I tried out lots of names, I knew I wanted something local relating to Shetland. I did have some other options, but they were maybe not too appropriate! One other option I’d considered was Margaret Cross (Market Cross) but thought Victoria Pier has a good ring to it!"

What is your favourite part about performing?

"I'm very new to performing but my favourite part is being able to be silly and over the top. Creating a fun atmosphere where everyone is laughing, singing and dancing is amazing. It is also really exciting seeing all the different elements coming together: sound, lighting, staging and choreography."

How was your experience at Make More Noise? Did you enjoy the night?

"In a summarised list:

  • Busy
  • Nervewracking
  • Fun
  • Enjoyed meeting other performers
  • Good experience from working with staff at Shetland Arts – different roles from organisation, such marketing, sound, lighting, events support etc.
  • A huge percentage of the audience were friends or family – it was so reassuring and encouraging to get this level of support!"

Have you faced any challenges in your journey?

"Confidence is certainly something which is a challenge – there’s no established drag scene locally so being confident to perform in front of a couple of hundred people for the first time is definitely nerve-wracking! Although I’ve been so fortunate to have lots of support, there is still negativity and crime against the LGBTQ+ and drag community, and seeing the legislation, laws, and bills in place across the world against people’s existence is very scary. Doing something you are passionate about and being able to be who you are and express yourself is so important.

For me drag is an artform, and all about creative expression. It challenges gender and social norms – ultimately, it’s about inclusivity, fun, performance, and celebration.

On a practical level, I knew that such a lot of planning, preparation and time needs to be committed to drag – styling wigs, learning how to do make up, choreography, music, outfits and working with lots of people too – for me it has been a huge learning curve and a commitment of time and money."

Do you have any advice for aspiring Drag Artists?

"Being so new to drag and performing I have very little experience and learning and evolving as I go. But I think if drag is something you want to have a go at then why not? Drag is for anyone, it's fun, and there aren't any rules as to what drag is or should be.

One other suggestion would be to focus on all the positivity and try to ignore negativity. Social media, for example, can be a great platform for sharing views and thoughts but this can also be an avenue for negativity. Behind any performer or character is a person who is passionate about what they do and has most likely committed lots of time and effort - so it can be difficult reading unnecessary negative comments."

Where can we see you next?

"I am very excited to be performing at 2 drag shows in Orkney on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th January and I also have a couple of local events in the pipeline. I will be embarking on my first competition - a charity event on the mainland in late March, raising money for the Highland Hospice charity. I am delighted to be able to do something I find fun and creative, which can raise money for a great cause!"

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

"Thank you! I am so grateful to Shetland Arts for inviting me to perform at Make More Noise – it has given me a goal to work towards and a direction. It has been such an enjoyable experience and I very much hope I can work with Shetland Arts in the future."

You can follow Victoria Pier on Instagram: @victoriapiershetland.

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