Dublin drag queen Veda opens up about exploring her identity during lockdown

Irish drag legend Veda shares her experience of lockdown, taking a break from drag and adjusting to the new reality.

Drag queen Veda wearing a mask and high heels during a lockdown photoshoot

“It was the weirdest feeling of relief. In every imagining of how my drag career could come to a halt, I never contemplated a pandemic.” The iconic Veda, an Irish drag legend, was yet another artist who was hugely affected by the lockdown. How did they cope and what did they take from the experience? The artist explained.

“My club and my performance just didn’t seem hugely important in the bigger picture. I just felt really lucky to have what I have, and that my family are okay.” What followed was a long period of self-reflection. “For the first time in over 20 years, I took a break from drag. I’m genuinely passionate about drag. It’s what I live for. But when you take Veda out of the picture, Enda has a chance to step up.”

With the world on lockdown, Veda was able to explore her identity on a deeper level, and a photoshoot with the amazing Babs Daly captured that exploration. “The idea was to do something that was more me – Enda – as opposed to it being about Veda. It was more about the things I love and wear, that aren’t necessarily costumes.”

Drag queen Veda from behind holding during a lockdown photoshoot. She is wearing a jacket that reads "Can you survive"?

While the pandemic offered Veda a much-needed break from drag, within a month, the queen was eager to perform again. Her iconic night – Witchy Wednesdays – saw a rebirth on Instagram Live, and with it, a chance to reconnect with her fellow performers, as well as those tuning in.

“(Before the pandemic) we connected with our supporters through the show, and it felt kind of sad to let that connection go, especially at a time when people are feeling vulnerable and isolated.”

Close-up of drag queen Veda wearing a mask during a lockdown photoshoot

And so, Veda adapted to new circumstances and Instagram Witchy Wednesdays became a staple for many. “I really appreciated the diversity in the people watching. It was a place where we could all come together.”

While the reopening of queer spaces in Ireland remains up in the air, Veda takes things as they come. She remains cautiously optimistic about the return of live performances, adding that the key is take things week by week: “Right now,” Veda explains, “it’s all we can do.”

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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Queer Utopia

Issue 364

This article was originally published in GCN Issue 364 (October 1, 2020).

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