Step into the spotlight with Prada Clutch, a sensational Drag performer and AIM Alum. Having delved into the world of Musical Theatre studies at AIM, Prada’s journey from student life to the spotlight is a captivating narrative of growth and artistry. Join us in this Q&A as we uncover the chapters of Prada Clutch’s story – a journey that reflects the genuine evolution of a true artist.
How did your study of musical theatre at AIM contribute to your confidence and creativity of drag?
Studying at AIM with such incredible teachers like Jennifer Murphy, helped me so much as they pushed me out of my comfort zone daily which taught me to think quick and adapt to any situation. This has helped me so much in drag, as a huge part of my job and my shows is being able to read the room & take people on a journey. Musical Theatre taught me how to tell stories through song. I also must be confident in talking to the audience and thinking on my feet with my dialogue and quick wit whether it’s during a show or at a post-show meet & greet. Studying at AIM also gave me the skills to not only sing professionally but also the creativity to develop characters — the character work we had to do, and study helped me develop my own character (Prada Clutch) as well as the divas that I impersonate in my shows.
Confidence and creativity are one thing, but singing live in drag requires some skill! How did your time at AIM contribute to honing your singing and performance abilities?
My time at AIM allowed me to develop & refine my singing & performing abilities. I would not be the singer I am today if it was not for the vocal training by so many wonderful & world-class vocal coaches at AIM, as well as the bending & shaping performed by AIM’s choreographers including Stephen Clarke whom I’ve continued to collaborate with on all of my touring shows.
Discovering drag while studying at AIM suggests a pivotal moment in your life. Could you describe that moment or the experience that led to your introduction to the world of drag?
It was more of a coming out story for me. I remember the whole Musical Theatre department going to see ‘Priscilla the Musical’ the first week of AIM. It was the first time I had seen drag and Musical Theatre worlds collide and create magic. I remember thinking it was Incredible, but I also had no intention at the time of doing drag.
About 9 months later after multiple conversations with wonderful friends I had met at AIM, I remember feeling comfortable enough to come out as a gay man, and to celebrate on that night we all went to one of the gay clubs on Oxford Street. This is where I saw actual drag queens who were doing drag as a profession. I spoke to them after the show and told them that I was studying Musical Theatre at AIM and how I really appreciated what they do. I looked at it as a character that they had put together in a theatrical way and although I didn’t have any intention at the time to do drag, I appreciated the creativity that they used to create their character and how well they convinced the audience of their abilities.
When you put on drag for the very first time, how did you feel? Was it an exciting moment?
It was a very interesting feeling. I felt comfortable and pretty, but also scared and weird.
I had dear friends with me and cheering me on, so it became less daunting as the hours went by and I knew I was nowhere near ready to convince anyone of my character. I also hadn’t worked on the character at all, so it was very unresolved, but still a lot of fun.
And going back to this time, what was your very first performance like? Were you nervous, excited, or both maybe?
I dressed up for an AIM drama performance and played a sexy crossdresser. After the performance I decided to go to Stonewall Hotel on Oxford Street as I was already dressed up and looking and feeling good. So, me and most of the class headed off to Stonewall Hotel for some fun. It was Sunday night and Pollies Follies was on. It was kind of like an open performance night where you can get up and strut your stuff. So up I went unprepared with nothing rehearsed. But completely confident as my training of being thrown in the deep end kicked in. I grabbed the microphone and started singing “I’m Outta Love” by Anastasia.
I was more excited than nervous and just felt free when I started singing. The host & drag legend Polly Petrie stopped the track mid song as she was blown away with the fact that I could actually sing. She made me sing it from the beginning again LOL! The crowd went absolutely wild, and it felt absolutely incredible!
In the entertainment industry, artists often face criticism or negativity. How do you personally deal with these challenges and what advice would you give to emerging drag performers about staying strong and resilient?
I was actually told that being a drag queen was the bottom end of the industry when I first started performing in drag. I’m lucky that I’m naturally resilient to such negativity – people’s opinions are none of my business – I’ve never really let it get to me. I understand that this is not the case for all drag performers & I would recommend emerging drag performers to take everything with a grain of salt as you are going to receive a lot of feedback both off stage, whilst on stage & on social media. Not reading social media comments is key & with most feedback people always have one finger pointing forward at you & three fingers pointing back at themselves – sometimes it’s just a them problem.
And speaking of emerging drag performers, what advice would you offer based on your own journey from AIM to becoming a successful and fabulous drag performer?
Follow your joy & do what makes you happy. I didn’t follow the rules — I did it my way & I could not be more grateful for all I’ve achieved & all that I’m yet to receive.
Prada Clutch’s journey is one of growth, passion, and authenticity. Remember, the spotlight isn’t just on the stage, it’s also on the incredible individuals who bring it to life. Until next time, keep the applause going for the stars who make the music of life extraordinary! Interested in studying Musical Theatre? AIM is here to support your aspirations.