In early March 2019, Victoria Secret had over 80 gigs in the pipeline. Within the space of 24 hours, the world went on lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions saw that number dwindle to zero. Her first instinct wasn’t to think of her imminent loss of income, but something else. “I was nervous about having that much free time. I don’t do well without structure. I love work.”
Not one to wait around, she shifted her focus to Petty Little Things, the podcast she hosts with Davina Devine. They decided to take it to the next level, and host a live podcast, and they knew exactly how to get their fans to tune in: celebrity gossip. “We told listeners that we’d share things on the show that they couldn’t hear on the regular podcast or anywhere else – and it worked! God bless Irish people for being nosy.”
Fresh off the success of Petty Little Things live, the queens decided to host a pageant – The Queen Of Captivity – where up and coming performers could compete from their own homes. “It all happened very accidentally. There was no major plan to do 15 weeks on the trot. Week by week, it was a case of asking what’s next?”
The pageant culminated in a grand finale, where the winner scooped up a cash prize of €1,000. As well as giving drag artists a chance to compete and showcase their work, the live shows offered something of a lifeline to the LGBT+ community, with viewers from up and down the country tuning in week after week to connect during an otherwise frightening and challenging time.
Victoria punctuated quarantine with podcast recordings, corporate Zoom gigs, and a considerable amount of technical up-skilling to rise to the challenge of online shows. Crucially, the summer of 2020 saw Victoria do something rare: take time for herself. For the first time in a long time, the queen came off work-mode.
As Dublin’s nightlife makes a slow and cautious return, Victoria looks forward, but with a sense of trepidation. “I’m nervous! I spent the last six months in runners in my sitting room. Half the time I didn’t have to tuck.”
As her first few gigs approach, Victoria embraces the challenge of adapting to a new reality: “Everyone now has to learn how to enjoy shows in a thoughtful, careful way. But they’ll still be able to enjoy themselves as well.”
This story originally appeared in our October 2020 issue 364, Queer Utopia. You can read it here.
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