HAIR LONGER THAN YOUR LIFE EXPECTANCY
“I was working my muggle job back in 2017 at The Royal National Theatre and we had an outside stage set up on the river bank called Riverstage - such an inventive name. The Glory (an East London gay pub) took over the stage for the weekend and put on various acts, performances and dance parties. I saw all the queens having all the fun and loving their best messy life, and I wanted part of it. I spoke to Baby Lame when serving their drink asking how I could get involved. They told me to get my butt to The Glory when they have a lip sync competition. I entered; I didn’t win but I was booked every weekend ever since!”
Freida Slaves has always been positively undeniable. Towering at over six foot, this glamazon cuts quite the impressive silhouette both in and out of drag. Not content to merely be physically dominant, Fredia is about as outspoken as they come too – both as an advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Trans community. In other words, you don't want to mess with Freida Slaves. That being said, Freida is one of the most accommodating and entertaining Queens in all of the UK, and an institution on the famous East London scene.
“East London drag is a melting pot of queerdom. Anything goes. Without question. There are no rules. All the lines are blurred. We have bearded queens, bio kings, alien witches, and every show is diverse in race, genders and style of performances. In one show you can have a fire breathing nun, a clown singing a Dolly Parton song about dead kids, an aerialist stripper squirting cream on their hole to a show tune, and someone making a cocktail in their butt and spraying it all over the audience (pre COVID, of coarse). I love it here. There’s something for everyone.”
Originally from Oxford, and having worked as a dancer for the likes of Nile Rodgers and Sister Sledge, Freida quickly established themselves as a must see act who routinely slayed the competition at drag balls, and thrilled the punters at all of the most famous LGBTQIA+ haunts in the capital. With their star clearly on the rise, Freida became a part of the internationally renowned Drag collective 'Sink The Pink' and got to mingle with some of the most recognisable faces on the planet.
‘Sink The Pink' holds a huge festival every year called Mighty Hoopla, with a capacity of 25,000! Chaka Khan was the headline act and asked for four queens to join her on her final songs! I cried all the way home. That was truly the best day of my life because I got to meet and work with so many pop stars that I had grown up loving and some now I even get to call friends.”
From sharing the stage with icons, to being close pals with major celebs like Leigh-Anne from Little Mix, it's clear that Freida is not easily shaken when it comes to sharing hair-space with the rich and famous. However, there was one icon whose mere presence was so overwhelming that it even threw a pro like Freida off their game.
“Mel C was a whole different story. Now I’m a MEGA FAN of Spice Girls. I tried to be professional and just do my job but Mel C was super friendly, she pulled up a chair and started chatting to me. Half way through I had to ask her politely to stop. I explained I just couldn’t handle that the person I view as an actual goddess was so friendly and down to earth and it’s mashing up my brain so I'll remove myself from the situation. It was too. Darn. Much. She must have thought I was an odd one, and she would be right. At the end of the shoot she gave me a Spice Girls hoodie which I still haven’t washed to this day.”
Occasions like that show that despite all the glamour, Freida is still very much a down to earth person. They are strongly tethered to the real world, and acutely aware of the many injustices their peers have to face on a daily basis. Freida has experienced many of those prejudices themselves, and is a vocal advocate for equality – particularly regarding the trans community.
“For myself as a black (cis)man there's a lot to be said about racism within the community and representation, but my main concern and focus currently is for my trans family. The Uk Government after two years of waiting have published their response to the Gender Recognition Act, although only minor changes have been made like reducing the cost, and moving the form to online, the UK Government have failed fallen far short of its promise to reform the GRA – despite a big majority of people who responded to the consultation calling for reform. The process won’t be de-medicalised. And unlike our neighbouring country R.O Ireland and other countries like Norway and Argentina, a self-determination process will not be introduced. Legal recognition will also not be extended to non-binary people and under 18. There's still a long fight for the trans community.”
In a relatively short time Freida has gone from wide-eyed drag fan to fully fledged drag royalty. With such an indomitable spirit (and an upcoming stint on ITV’s ‘Karaoke Club’), it's both titillating and tantalising to try and imagine what they might accomplish in another five years. Wherever Freida Slaves may land, there's one thing you can take to the bank – their hair will still be longer than your life expectancy.
Keep up to date with Frieda Slaves via their Instagram