‘I’m a drag queen at 16 – my family are so supportive and buy me wigs’

‘I’m a drag queen at 16 – my family are so supportive and buy me wigs’

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A teenager who used to "perform in his auntie's living room with towels on his head" has revealed how lockdown encouraged him to become a drag artist at the age of 16.

Tyler Williams, more commonly known as Jenna G within the drag community, has recently performed his first major gig as Jenna at a pride event in Mablethorpe.

But it was only during lockdown that he realised his future was in drag – even though he always loved dressing up as a child and putting on shows for his family.

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Speaking exclusively to The Daily Star, Tyler, from Skegness, said he's been performing in his auntie's living room with towels on his head which he said he used to mimic hair.

He would also put towels around himself to create "DIY dresses", and he said he has been doing this "ever since he can remember."

Tyler said: "My aunties have been supporting me from the beginning – they would buy me wigs and things.

"Now I'm working I buy my own things. It's what I want to do – I want to be paying for it.

"It was probably only during lockdown when I got really into drag."

When asked how young he was when he started performing family shows, he added: "For as far as I can remember. I would put towels on my head.

"It was something I would do in the living room at home, and there'd be nothing else about it.

"It was hidden away – me and my aunties doing shows."

Then, when lockdown hit, Tyler discovered Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and absolutely fell in love with the UK series.

His love for the show made him learn more about the art of drag, and he realised it was something he could really see himself doing.

Last year he even went to see some of the queens on tour with his mum, and he said it "further boosted" him into realising that his future was in drag.

Recently he's been buying more dresses and wigs to replace the towels that he once wore in the living room.

He's also been working to practice his make-up artistry, which he says is still a "work in progress."

During lockdown he said he started experimenting with cheap make-up palettes from B&M to get the creative juices flowing, and now he's performing on stages to massive crowds.

When asked if he thinks lockdown gave him the time to discover his love for drag, Tyler said: "I think so. It was a time when we were scrolling through Netflix, and I started watching Drag Race.

"I found the UK season, which I loved.

"I have been part of a local drama group for quite a while now, and over time I started progressing to drag.

"The support from my family and friends encouraged me to do it, and two of my best friends helped me to choreograph and practice together at school – often sneaking away from lessons to do so.

"They were fabulous, and I couldn’t have asked for better back up dancers."

Speaking about the performance at the Pride event, he added: "Standing at the top of the stairs waiting to go onto the stage – I was terrified.

"I looked to the side of the stage and saw one of my school teachers waiting to see me, and I realised that people were here to support me, and that no matter what happened I would be alright.

"The support from my school and other teachers has also been incredible, as they all love to keep up to date with my latest look and what I’ve been up to.

"As I stepped on to the stage and saw my family and friends all wearing Jenna G T-shirts the fear left me, and I felt like a different person.

"I feel that’s the true moment that Jenna was born, and she’d been waiting to burst through."

Tyler said hearing the crowd screaming and chanting gave him an "unbelievable feeling," and a video of the performance racked up an impressive 10,000 views on Facebook.

Being asked to perform at the Pride event by a friend of his mum is only the start for Tyler's journey as Jenna G, and he can't wait to see what he can achieve going forward.

At the moment his age restricts him from being able to perform gigs in pubs, but he's willing to put the work in to gain as much experience as possible before he can set his eyes on bigger venues.

He said he has "so much support" around him and can't wait to see where his career in drag takes him.

Tyler said: "I definitely want to do more Pride events.

"I'm 16 at the moment – I'm doing as much as I can.

"Once I'm 18 there'll be no limits, and I'll go for everything."

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