A Look Back at December: An Interview with our Queer Showcase Winner!
Hi! I’m Jemima from the events team here at QLT. On December 1st we had the pleasure of hosting a Queer Showcase as a fundraiser for the Terrence Higgins Trust. It was a wonderful evening which featured some incredible talent and amazing judging by our two special guest judges: trainee lawyer and digital content creator, Eve Cornwell and Drag Race UK runner-up, Divina De Campo! Today I’m bringing you a little interview I held with the winner of the Queer Showcase, Sian Posy, who is a first-year Law with Human Rights student at the University of Essex. Without ado, here is my chat with your showcase winner, Sian Posy!
So can you just explain a little, for anyone who wasn’t there, what exactly you did for the Queer Showcase?
How do I describe this? So it didn't go 100% as intended. But the main gist of it was, I was painting the judges to the tune of “How'd you like your eggs in the morning?”. And then the punch line of it was at the end, in tune to the music, I pulled off their kind-of makeshift wigs, which I had pre-prepared to pull off the canvas. And then, you know, did my little wig reveal after to reveal my bald head.
How do you mean, it didn't go to plan?
So I was a bit rusty, I sort of underestimated how much time it would take me to do a painting that, and this is especially true on webcam, actually looks like a person, because, on a webcam, it's like, slightly blurry so is not the same. So yeah, about three-quarters of the way through, I realized, “Oh, this song’s nearly over. And I've done, you know, a fraction of what I was meant to do.” And I just went with it. I still really enjoyed myself, so I am perfectly happy that it didn't go as planned. I was just having a nice time and enjoying everyone else's performances.
How did you get into art? But also, then how did this sort of like speed painting/ lip-sync combo performance come about when did that start? Have you done that before?
So, the short answer is no, I have not done that before.
I've sold art, sort of as a side hustle, for years, but haven't really done much with it. And when I heard that the queer showcase was going on, I didn't intend to sign up myself. It was actually my sister who suggested it because I said, ‘Oh, you're never gonna believe this, you know, Divina is going to be judging the thing that I'm going to, you know, the thing I’m going to be an audience member for’. And she assumed I was taking part and I assumed I wouldn't be, and then I kind of thought well, I'm never gonna see Divina again in my life, so even if I absolutely [mess] up and make an absolute fool of myself, that's fine, because I've only got one chance to do it. So, if all else fails, I can just pull a stunt and make everyone laugh.
Then the question was: what am I going to do for the queer showcase? And bearing in mind again, I'm quite rusty as I have been focusing on work and school and it's been a bit of a funny year so I haven't been doing the things which I’d prefer to be doing for a long time.
So I basically just sat there and it came into my head all at once it was like: wig, bald head, eggs. That was the process. A very intelligent and refined process, obviously. And that was that and I basically didn't deviate from that.
As I was preparing for it, pre-painting the hair that I was going to snatch off at the end of the song, I was thinking,‘What if I really insult them? Or, you know, what, if this doesn't go down well, or maybe it's just actually not that funny and my idea of humour is just really lame.’ But I didn’t have any backup, so I just thought well, ‘I'm just gonna have to go for it. And if it goes down like a lead balloon, fine.’
What was the reasoning behind the song - how do you like your eggs in the morning?
It was a really bad pun because I always call myself an egg. I shaved my head in the summer for Human Dignity Trust, which is a global movement, I guess, is what you would call them. They provide some legal services to people who are caught up in some rather inhumane situations. It’s for all of the countries in the world where being LGBTQIA+ is illegal. So in some places, you could even be put to death, or in some places, you can legally be queer, but you can't get married - there's a whole spectrum to it. And basically, [Human Dignity Trust] provide legal services to those people. So yeah, I shaved my head to raise some money for them in the summer and I just like being bald, so I just kept it like that. But spending so much time on a webcam, when you’re just shoulders and a head, you do end up looking like a floating egg. So now I always make that joke, when I kind of introduce myself… it’s not even funny but that’s how I introduce myself.
Ah, I see so it was a little bit of foreshadowing in the song! So we should’ve known and yet I was so shocked at the end when you took the wig off! I was wondering if you could just talk to me about your impressions of the whole event? And if you had one, what was your highlight?
I mean winning was pretty good haha. No, I loved the whole thing. I don't know how many acts there were. Was it about six or seven? But they were really varied and they were all fantastic. So I was sitting there going, no way in hell am I going to win, because they're all fantastic.
And it's... it's funny, isn't it, especially this year, when we're so isolated. It’s like, extra special and… this is gonna be really cheesy, but it's kind of extra special when you can find a pocket, or like a little community of people that are so talented and so nice as well. I joined for the sort of meet and greet section beforehand and I stayed afterwards to chat to everyone, and everyone was just so unbelievably lovely and nice to talk to and yeah, it just, it really couldn't have gone better, it was so good.
That’s so wonderful to hear thank you so much. And of course, at QLT we were really proud to have some incredible guest judges at the showcase. Can you just chat to me about what it was like being judged by them - how was that for you?
Oooh...a bit surreal. So, you know, I'm a big Divina fan. I did want her to win, but that's okay...Who needs to win season one when you've just won at life, basically. And also, I've been subscribed to Eve for, I don't know how long now, but she was actually one of the components of getting me into studying law. She just made everything feel a bit more familiar when I started because I was thinking, ‘Oh, I don't know if this is the right fit for me,’ you know, how you have all these reservations before you start uni and she was genuinely something that really helped me. So, I was really nervous to see her as well! These two people that I really admire for completely different reasons in one space was really strange, especially over zoom, because they're in your living room. It's really, really strange.
So, yeah, speaking to them was just a really bizarre experience, but in the nicest possible way. It didn't even sink in that they were speaking directly to me and saying all these nice things until the next day.
As you know, we decided to hold the queer showcase on December 1st, World AIDS Day, and to make it a fundraiser for the Terrence Higgins Trust, I was just wondering if you had anything to say about the work they do, or about what this event being a fundraiser meant to you?
Yeah so, a few years ago, I used to work in events, we always had a Terrence Higgins stall come and work at our events and they're just fantastic. They are an incredible and invaluable organisation and were such a brilliant cause for the QLT Showcase to raise funds for and I would definitely recommend them to anyone!
It’s not just the cause itself and how much vital support and information they provide about HIV as well as offering trans and non-binary-friendly sexual health support, [it’s also] the people who work there [who] are just always so lovely - you couldn’t have anyone nicer. So yeah, of course, I was more than happy to pay for my ticket and help raise money for them. They are just fantastic.
That’s lovely, thank you. For the last question, I just wanted to give you a space, as an artist and as a creative, to talk about supporting artists, especially during COVID, and if there's anything you wish more people were doing or were aware of etc, just use this as a little platform.
Oh, that's really nice. Obviously, it's been a really challenging for a lot of people and the entertainment industry has been hit very, very hard. It's one of those things, you know, even our own government is pooh-poohing it. And we've all seen those fantastic posters of this ballerina doesn't realize she's going to be training in IT, earlier this year.
So, we're very quick to dismiss creative people, I think we take them for granted. Ironically, especially in the first lockdown, everyone was watching Netflix, and people were putting out amazing albums. We do rely on them, we just don't realize it, because we do take it for granted and they kind of saturate every part of our experience.
And so we need to be supporting our artists, especially our independent local ones. That's the best way to go. So if you know anyone who is a creative, whether they're a musician, or a fine artist, or a photographer, any flavour of artist basically, try and support them if you can. I know, a lot of us are students or, we're not in the best financial situation, but you don't always have to support them with your money. It could be something as simple and as free and as quick as sharing on your social media, helping them spread the word of their work. And that's worth its weight in gold as well.
That’s wonderful, and so in that same vein of supporting artists, do you want to tell me your Instagram handle or website, so people can check out your work?
I’m always a bit uncomfortable plugging but I need to get more comfortable doing that. So yeah, my handle is Sian Posy - you can find me on Instagram and I do actually have an old YouTube channel if you want to look at some actual drawings, they are all on there.
I've actually also just published a book, it's comprised of six short horror stories. For me, it was an exercise in writing gender neutral, so there are no gendered pronouns in the book, whatsoever. Every character in there is completely gender neutral. So yeah, I think that'll be maybe an interesting thing for people to dip their toe into and just see that ‘Oh, yeah, actually, this is natural. This is completely doable.’
Amazing! What is the name of the book?
It’s called Úath, if you search for that and my name on Amazon… well actually if you search for it, it will say, -Are you sure you don't mean Utah?- so just make sure you have the right title and it will actually come up on Amazon for you to buy.
[NOTE: Some answers have been edited for length and/or clarity]