Pride of a Drag Dad – Poppy Love Interview

I recently met Drag SOS. Queen: Poppy Love. This was my first time ever meeting someone involved in drag and I loved hearing his inspirational story! Below is my interview with the wonderful Poppy Love! As a parent, how did you feel when your son came out to you as LGBTQ+? ‘To be honest it… Read more »

by Felix Spain 3 weeks ago

I recently met Drag SOS. Queen: Poppy Love. This was my first time ever meeting someone involved in drag and I loved hearing his inspirational story! Below is my interview with the wonderful Poppy Love!

As a parent, how did you feel when your son came out to you as LGBTQ+?

‘To be honest it was no surprise when Owen came out. [It was] more of a shock in that moment. Owen is our youngest [and] he was dressing up in his mum’s clothes age 4, preferring sewing machines to Scalextric. He loved Drama and performing from a young age, joined the local drama group before leaving primary school, then travelled leading musical roles [and] living his dreams.

His friends at school were groups of girls. When he came out at 12, I dismissed it. He was young and couldn’t possibly have enough worldly experience to decide, I thought perhaps it was just a phase. What was to blame? I had many discussions with my wife around nature vs nurture.

I had many caveman, ignorant thoughts. Society said it was wrong, religions too, was it something to treat with disgust or to celebrate? The rest of the family, would they treat him differently? How would I protect him? It took a while to break down preconceptions but one thing I knew right away was: love is love and I love him with all my heart. Looking back, I felt I needed to understand everything straight away, but I didn’t need to! It was the start of listening, learning, and lots of laughter.’

What was your first experience of dressing in drag and how did you find it?

‘My first time in proper drag was my makeover as Poppy Love, however, I did get made up with make-up to support Owen’s stage performance of Frankenfurter in a local performance of the Rocky Horror [Picture] ‘show’.

My makeover in the Channel 4 show Drag SOS. was amazing! When I spoke to myself in the mirror, I couldn’t believe it was me, [it was] such a positive experience, one that changed my life. I learnt how to walk, talk and often got a sideways look of disapproval from ignorant people but that was all part of feeling how Owen would feel. You do your best diva strut and walk away.’

How did you come about being involved in Drag SOS and can you tell us a bit about what Drag SOS is about?

‘Owen was contacted at his Performing Arts uni, where he was studying costume, leading the LGBTQ+ society and hosting Drag shows. They asked to speak to my wife and I. He wasn’t bullied [in school] and was supported all through school and accepted his university degree in full makeup and Jimmy Choo shoes! He was already a drag queen so didn’t need to pretend to come out of the wardrobe!

Drag SOS was about a family of Drag Queens from the Manchester Drag scene: the Family Gorgeous, travelling around the country helping people of all backgrounds tap into their inner divas with a drag makeover. They loved our story [and] wanted me to become a Drag Queen. A cross between Queer eye and Ru Paul’s Drag Race, this came out a year before Drag Race UK and is on More 4. I said yes straight away; I like a performance and can Dad dance. It soon became much more, taking me to places I never dreamt of. Our Channel 4 drag dad clip went viral with over 12 million views. We trended no.1 on Twitter. My new Poppy love Instagram got 1500 followers overnight and I got mentioned on Lorraine!’

What was it like seeing Owen in drag for the first time as Miss Lilli Berlin?

‘I saw Owen as Lilli for the first time when I did my big reveal Lip-sync for Drag SOS at the Dover Working Man’s club (The Workie’s) as seen on TV. Although we had our nails done together […] I wasn’t prepared for how great the experience would actually be. In less than a week I transformed into Poppy Love in every way. I knew Owen was proud. We pulled him up for the finale dance. When I saw Owen as I walked to the stage it was a wonderful emotional moment, feeling really close to him!’

Stay tuned for part 2!

Follow Poppy Love and Miss Lilli Berlin on Instagram at: @poppy.love.927 and @miss_lilli_berlin. Go watch Drag SOS – out now on Netflix!