Interview: Munroe Bergdorf

Munroe Bergdorf stars in tomorrow’s episode of the new TV show, Drag Queens of London-bought to you by London Live. We thought this was perfect timing to catch up with the absolute stunner which is Munroe to talk about the show, her collaboration with Illamasque, her forthcoming lingerie line and the concepts of beauty and sexuality.

Tell me, how did your involvement with the show come about?

I’m not too sure how I got thrown in the mix to be honest!  Initially I was contacted by the producers regarding the show via email, asking whether it would be something that I would be interested in being involved in.  If I’m honest, at first I was dubious whether or not it would be right for me to be involved, largely down to the fact that I identify as Trans and the show would be mainly focused on elements of drag. But after meeting with the producers to discuss their ideas and also taking into consideration my past of working on the drag scene, we thought that it’d be an interesting angle to follow someone who’s taken an alternative route from that scene and making steps to start a new chapter…

Right, OK. So how has the filming process been?

So strange!  I don’t think there’s really any preparing anyone for being involved in reality TV.  It’s all sorts of crazy.  Kind of like a really invasive and public form of therapy/self-exorcism! Whilst being filmed you start to become much more aware of how you behave and the choices you make, private shit becomes public gossip and buried feelings start to come out…It’s hard to explain.  It’s been a really eye opening experience though for sure…I’ve learnt a lot about myself and how far I can be pushed, I’m definitely stronger and wiser after the past three months.

Sounds pretty intense…What were your intentions with this show? What did you want to represent?

Growing up, there really wasn’t many trans people on TV that I felt I could relate to, so I guess I wasn’t really aware that there were other people like me out there, or what to do about being young and coming to terms with my gender identity.  Nowadays, thankfully we are seeing more and more trans people moving into the public eye: Carmen Carrera, Chas Bono, Paris Lees, Laverne Cox and Jacket Mock. This is SUCH a blessing, because this not only helps educate the general public on what it means to be trans, what we go through, how we feel and our fight for equality, but it’s also a form of inspiration and support for those who haven’t yet come out or realised their gender identity.  So really, I wanted to just put myself out there and hopefully other young trans people who watch the show will be able to relate to me or my story.

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It’s a really brave thing to do and it’s great you can be an inspiration and point of reference to others who are going through some form of struggle with their identity.

So now you’re getting involved in other projects too. Tell me about your collaboration for Illamasque.

For some time now I’ve had a really great working relationship with the makeup brand Illamasqua… Last year they launched a limited edition line called ‘Creators’ which consisted of four original products, two lipgloss’ and two nail polishes, created by four online beauty influencers that they feel represent the brand.  I was honoured to have been asked!  I love everything that Illamasqua stands for and how creative and boundary pushing it is as a brand.  The lipgloss that I created for them is called ‘Wanderlust’, it’s a statement deep gold and is available online through their website.

I do love a good lip gloss. And lingerie too! What the plan with that?

Yes!!! It’s super early days, but the cogs are in motion. I won’t reveal too much or say what it’s called just yet, but it’s going to be gorgeous.  Originally it was only meant to be a small capsule collection for the launch, but the further we got into the design process, the more we thought it’d be a shame to not just go for it and spend more time getting together a really beautiful bigger and varied collection. We’ve also started exploring accessories to go with the mainline pieces, such as hand ties, blindfolds, tassels etc. which has been fun. It’s going to be really beautiful once it all comes together, I’m very excited.

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This all sounds very sexy! What makes you feel sexy?

I’m all about ambience and creating a mood…I love scented candles, flowers, expensive sheets, luxury lingerie, good food, slow jams and super high fuck me pumps. But with day to day sexiness, I think it’s all about clothes that play to your body’s assets. Once you get to know your body and learn to love it, it’s so much easier to feel sexy as you know where your strengths lie and how to show them off.  Being Trans that’s a lesson that I know SO well! Before I started transitioning, I never really felt truly comfortable enough with my body to feel sexy, but once the changes started happening and I could see my body becoming what I had always wanted, something just clicked.

And what does beauty mean to you?

Beauty to me is the confidence to embrace everything that you are. I think there’s a huge difference between being pretty or handsome and being beautiful. Beauty can’t be faked; it radiates outward.  You can be as pretty as you like, but if your cold, vapid and void of something beautiful inside, you’re just a pretty face and that’s kind of boring.

True, and the diversity of beauty is what makes it so enticing.

So Munroe, what’s next for you?!

Right now I’m focusing largely on the lingerie line, I want to make sure that we’re putting out the absolute epitome of what I envisioned it to be before we got started. I’m not really that willing to compromise on most things, so it’s going to take a lot of hard work and lots of long nights, but we’ll get there.

We’ll be supporting you here at Spindle all the way. Good luck with everything and I can’t wait to watch you on my screen tomorrow!

Follow Munroe here

Image credits:

Photography by Darren Black.  Shot at Cherrybomb Studio

Retouching by James Williams

Makeup by Nisso International

Hair by Graeme Donnelly at LOX hair