Contrary to popular belief, drag Queens don't usually live their lives as women. That life is that of a transgender person. In Chris' normal life you will find a man who trained as an actor, gaining a degree in the craft. After that Chris studied for his masters. That gave him the chance to teach drama to students professionally. The desire to learn is still with Chris and he is currently studying for his PhD with the subject matter being the Norther Fun Pub scene of the eighties and nineties. Chris' skills have been put to good use on TV and film, but there is no doubt that his biggest successes have been as a drag performer. Chris is proud of his achievements as a drag Queen, although there have been some strange memories. "I've had loads of dabblers as I call them, straight lads who want to be fucked by a woman or fuck a draq queen. It is a complete turn off for me! What I do is a job. When i finish I don't want to be in a bar dressed in drag. It is a uniform, as soon as I finish I want to take it all off."
There's no doubt that Chris still takes his drag seriously. He is constantly looking for new outfits, wigs and accesories. As well as constatly working on new material to keep the act fresh. "There's a lot of drag queens who are new on the scene, I have seen hundreds come along over the years." He explains, "Some of these young chickens have been brought up on RuPaul's drag race, which is American and very different to British drag. They look fantastic, well some of them do! But they haven't honed their skills as performers. They don't have an act, a routine or the ability to gauge an audience within minutes, to lift it up and take it with you. That takes years. Young people are sensitive to critisism too. If they told a joke and it fell flat that often fells them. I can react much quicker.
Over the years some of the newer Drag Queens have made it harder for established performaers too. The pub and club industry is fighting for its very survival. Employing an experienced drag Queen isn't cheap and bottom line is that the expense has to be justified with the venue being busy. So, employing Drag Queens is a risk. Some of the younger Queens now go out most of the time in drag. They are willing to hop into a DJ booth and play music from a laptop with minimal skill. Chris says " Of course, I have mini discs, CD's mp3s , the lot. I have established patter and comedy I do in between songs. So what I do comes at a price, some of the kids are willing to do it for pennies - it is a shame."
But this is about Chris out of drag......What does he do when he is not entertaining you?
"I am an animal lover. I have Tortoises which I inadvertantly started to breed - so I have got into making heated boxes so the eggs can eventually hatch, I've aslo go Bearded Lizards, but my pride and joy are my two Parrots. I had one initially whe my friend who runs a pet shop introduced me to a new bird who they cared for when its owner went on holiday. It turned out they had fell out of llove with her and wanted her rehousing. I took her home and now they live together. They are fabuous pets. I have had Gerbils and fish. Animals take up a lot of my time. I am a vegitarian too - that all stemmed from my love of animals - I couldn't eat one."
When not working of obtaining his PhD or entertaining you lot what does Chris do for entertainment?
"I am a very private person I don't drink so going to a pub for a night out would be pointless for me. I do enjoy the cinema and theatre and of course I enjoy TV. I am a great fan of Sci Fi and documentaries. I am a news junkie as well so I watch a lot of current affairs stuff. I am an avid reader and i speak to my friends as much as I can. I talk to my webmaster almost everyday - we spend hours on the phone debating, arguing and gosipping. We actually cry with laughter when we discuss comedy stuff. I also have a friend I care for who has Aspergers, so that takes up a bit of my time. I don't actually have a lot of free time because I am also on a couple of panels for our local council that help local tennant with housing issues. I represent quite a large area. This involves dealing with coucillors and officials and is very hands on. People are often shocked too to find that I am a regular Church goer! They think that I am making another joke. Actually it is a fact. I consider myself a Christian and my faith, whilst private it imprtant to me".
What about the all important question? Romance? Love?
"I am not going to tell the World all my private stuff! There have been plenty of moments over the years. I've had a great time throughout my career with lots of people wanting funn with me, I believe sometimes because of what I am, not who I am. I did have a long time relationship many years ago. Sadly he passed away with cancer. I am not saying that the pain of losing a partner was so great that I could never love again, but I am very set in my ways. I don't want a live in partner, my life is too busy and the hours I keep are not condusive to that. I like to go to bed early when I am not working and I am up with the larks. I enjoy my own company and my life too much to want to change all that and be answerable to someone else. My idea of a life is not going shopping at a set time every week and domestic bliss is not something I aspire to."
There's no trace of lonliness in Chris' life though. Do you think that he might be ready to hand his sequinns up?
"Oh God no. I still enjoy what I do. It has been in my life for so long. I trained as a nurse in my early 20s and thought about giving drag up altogeher. It still kept pulling me back. It's not all about money. I am not greedy. As long as I have enough to pay my way I am happy. I have reasonable health and I feel I am still giving everything I have to entertain people. I would like to get some of my work published and maybe one day write a memoir. I still consider myself to be an actor first, so if the right role came up I would jump to it. I would be happy playing a part as a man. I am a man and I enjoy being one.
There you have it! A little bit of info, about the man inside the Drag Queen you know and love - Chris D'Bray