Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bigger, better, fatter: Burger Queen fully loaded

This Friday (partyin' partyin' yeah) I went clubbing, and then the best thing happened. A guy I have never seen before in my life pointed at me and screamed at me, in a high pitched voice that would rival Hanson: "Oh my good, you're the mermaid Burger Queen!!!". I have been waiting for this moment since I was 4 years old. In it for the fame fame baby FAME.
That is Burger Queen 2011 for y'all.
But yes, mermaid. How did that happen? Well, after the my first round, some cheeky bastard suggested on facebook that Scottee should have included a swimwear round in the contest. And Scottee, because he is cheeky too, replied 'that will happen in the final'. When I read that, I panicked. Because as much as I believe in positive body image and spice girl power and whatever theoretically, when it comes to me being filmed by the BBC, on a stage, in swimwear, while Lisa Stansfield is eating my cake - that's a whole different kettle of fish.

Mermaid sausage.

However, Roy and I came up with the amazing idea of a mermaid outfit. Disney's The little Mermaid is my favourite film ever. What I like best about it are the little noises Sebastian makes when he is walking. Seriously. Roy and I invented a drinking game that included having a shot every time Sebastian does his crab walk. Anyway, what has always bothered me about the film is the big deal they make about legs. I mean, sure, homegirl needs some working lungs, but if it's just about the legs, well, skip the trip to the witch, keep the voice (duh!) and get some wheels instead. So I started working on a mermaid outfit. Then, a few days later I met Scottee. It was during another round of Burger Queen, where some other candidates battled out their place for the final. All four of them were gorgeous and brilliant, and I celebrated each and every single one of them with a double gin tonic. I ended up being crazy drunk, and so, when I had a chat with Scottee and he told me that there would be no swimwear in the final, and that it all just had been a joke, I blurted out: "Oh nooo, that's really disappointing". To which he replied: "Aaw Sweetheart, we'll do swimwear for you!". Well done, Nina. Other highlights of that night included partying with Stephen Fry and hanging out with a Burger Queen groupie called Hildie. She told  me she likes to see chubby ladies in lingerie.

The next morning, when I woke up and waited for a call from Hildie that never came (I am still heartbroken about it), I got an email from Scottee, telling the finalists that the outfit for the fashion round would have to belong in a Miss World category: 'Evening Wear, Sportswear or Swimwear'. I realised I actually had to go through with this, especially if I wanted to win back Hildie's heart. To add to my embarrassment, I also decided to invite every heterosexual male to the contest I know in London (namely two).

The night before the contest, I had a semi-nervous breakdown and all took it out on Roy and on the Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake I was going to serve Lisa Stansfield and her judge pals.
Things got worse when we had a fire alarm in the building on the afternoon of the contest (I live with a bunch, well 500, of brainless 18-year-olds who like to smoke in their rooms). I was late at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, but upon my arrival I had a little chat with a lovely gentleman - he seemed to know who I was and told me we were friends on facebook. I had no clue who he could be, until I realised that Gloria Swansong, one of the other two finalists, must actually be a male in drag and the person I was talking to. This proves that a) I was REALLY drunk the week before, and b) that Gloria is an absolutely fantastic performer. Judging from the performance in the final and the round before, of all the other performers Gloria was actually the one closest to my heart. I love nothing better than a drag queen in sequins, and Gloria is the sparkliest Mama of all drag queens. Watch her performance for the final here. Absolutely gorgeous!!

Before the fashion round I was really nervous, but Johnny Blue Eyes, a stylist/performer and one of the judges passed me by backstage was really cheerful and enthusiastic about my outfit that I was completely distracted from my nervousness - so distracted in fact, that I barely noticed the chic lady behind him who complimented me on my makeup and introduced herself as 'Lisa'. Until they were gone and I realised that it had been Lisa Stansfield. Oh the shame. I also briefly met the adorable Jude Bean before the contest started. She greeted me with a big hug, although we had never met before. Jude does the funniest videos about food on her youtube channel, and all the videos from the contest are actually by her.

Johnny Blue Eyes, Russella. You stole my nail look, Johnny, but it's fine because you are fab.

Both other finalists looked amazing in the fashion round, Gloria was all sequin goddess and the beautiful Bea Sweet opted for gold spandex and a lot of skin. We also had to answer some typical Miss pageant questions, and here are some videos of that round:

In retrospective, I massively cringe at the bit where I am grabbing my boobs, but it seemed completely normal at the time. I guess Ariel was feeling a little naughty. As the fashion bit went more or less ok, I got ready for my talent bit. I had been pondering whether I should change my perfomance from the first round, I actually re-wrote it and changed it back a few days before. I finally decided to base my performance on the same text, but to leave out and add different things than I did in the first round. I felt slightly ashamed, was both Gloria and Bea did different songs than they did in their first round, but I have never performed before and I decided I would be too nervous about something new and I didn't want to change a performance I had so much luck with first time round just for the sake of doing something different. I did update it a bit in so far as most of the 'random gifts' I showed the audience were actually things I was given since the first round of the contest. I am really given loads of free things. This is actually (more or less) my life. Here's a video of almost my whole performance:

I was really scared before the perfomance, even though the one in the first round went well. You can never be quite sure what people find funny, and I was actually one of those kids in school who made jokes that noone thought were funny but my best friend. But the performance went pretty well, so either the audience had a much greater sense of humour than my school mates, or my jokes have gotten better. Probably both.
When the judges were asked for their opinion after the talent round, the best thing ever happened: Jude Bean actually sighed 'Nina, all I can say is that I really liked Nina'. That moment seriously was beyond perfect, one of the best ones in my life.

Amy Lamé, Lisa Stansfield, Jude Bean

After the talent bit I spent some time with my friends on their table. It means so much to me that so many people have taken an interest in the whole contest and supported me by posting about it, talking about it, and actually coming to watch it. I feel like listing names, but I won't, in case I forget someone. But the whole thing made me feel much more like I belong in London,  and it would have been one of the best experiences in my life even if I would have (SPOILER ALERT) won. So a big fat chubby thank you to everyone who organised the contest, it has been a blast, and to all my new friends in London and the old ones in Switzerland who gave me ideas and are always so brilliant and inspiring. And Roy, I love you so much and couldn't have done the whole thing without you. In fact, I think without you, not many of the fab moments in my life would have happened.

So umm yeah, I won. Here's a hilarious video of the cooking round, where Amy Lamé exclaims 'Oh my God I am going to die' when my cake is announced. I am so glad she didn't die, because noone else can be quite as fabulous in a yellow dress as Miss Amy Lamé is. Gloria made the sexiest sparkly boob and penis cakes ever, while Bea opted for some super yummy cupcakes from Ms. Cupcake, the best cake shop in London.

Glo's sexy cakes.
I seriously didn't expect to win and I actually think it must have been really close. The winner had the honour to be showered with limp, cold chips, which was a lifetime experience in itself, and I was given lots of prizes: The beautiful Burger Queen medal necklace, custom-made by Tatty Devine, lots of Illamasqua makeup (squeee!), a voucher to get dolled up in a beauty parlour, a voucher for a big birthday cake, actual real money, a golden scale and a massive delicious raspberry vanilla cake. The cake probably weighed at least 10 pounds. My friend Michael carried it around London into several bars and clubs and then to my place. Legend/Good workout. After the contest was over, I got really drunk, had lots of cake and had fun fun fun with Isa, Roy, Rob and Michael like it was Friday. Good times.

"OMG, me???"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Confessions of a Fat Beauty Queen - So much cake, so little time. (Part 1)

The last few weeks were amongst the strangest in my life. I did so many things I have never done before. I performed by myself on a stage. I made Lisa Stansfield a cake (and she ate it). I let the BBC film me wearing nothing on top but a bra. And now I officially carry the title Burger Queen 2011.

I met Paloma at Burger Queen and she was eating, she was eating.

How did all of this happen? I am still not quite sure. When I first decided to enter this little contest, I did it because the whole thing seemed fun and camp. Like RuPaul's drag race, but with more fat people and less cameras. I also alternated between loving and hating London, and I decided this contest was a good way to find out how London actually felt about me. Well, at least the part of London that matters: Drag queens and celebrities, and people wearing funny hats.

The contest consisted of 3 parts: fat fashion, fat talent and fat food. I had to present an outfit, perform something and make a dish. Out of the three, the dish was the least problematic challenge - sure, I don't posess a (kitchen, or any) scale, or a oven I can actually operate, but I just did it Nigella Lawson's way: Throw lots of sugary, fatty things together in a bowl, crumble some cookies in and hope for the best.

Fashion was a bit more worrying: Most of the people that were competing against me in the first round I already knew from the club scene, and they always look amazing, much better than I ever could. For the first round, I decided to go with lots of colour and got a bit of help from my friend Naddy Sane, who is a cross between a fairy, a rainbow and 21st century Edie Sedgewick.

Miss Naddy Sane

What worried me most, though, was the talent bit. Stages are in their nature generally pretty inaccessible to me. Not many people in my life have offered me to build a ramp onto a stage. Only my favourite fatty Scottee did. While I like to write, I never actually performed something I wrote on a stage, so I never actually performed voluntarily. However, I do see every-day interaction as something very performative, and in that sense I had all my life to study in which roles people like me best. If all of this sounds a bit weird to you, read some Judith Butler. Or don't. Maybe just ignore the confusing bit and read on, ok? I'll post a picture of the cake I did for the first round, everyone likes cake.

The lady in the picture is the ravishing Marawa Cup, who is a burlesque hula hoop artist and was on Britain's got talent. She was one of the celebrity judges in the first round, along with Cocknbullkid, Tatty Devine, The Broken Hearts DJs, Timberlina and Miss Paloma Faith, squeeeeeal!!
All the judges turned out to be really lovely, although Paloma Faith is quite a cheeky rascal in person, much different (but even more charming and gorgeous) to her sweet, ladylike stage persona.

My fellow contestants in the first round were Roberto, a gorgeous bear who likes to be naked and can sing and dance like the best of them, Angel Rose, a performance artist and gothic queen of the London clubbing scene, and Oozing Gloop, who actually was super skinny, but is some sort of big fat crazy genius. Most of the night he wore gummy bears stuck in his face.

Roberto, Oozing Gloop, Angel Rose and yours truly.
As was expected, Angel Rose blew everyone's mind in the fashion round. She's got great style and stage presence.
In the talent round, Roberto and Oozy both performed a song, while Angel Rose and I both did a monologue. Everyone was really friendly and lovely. For me it was an honour to share the stage with such talented, creative and sexy people.
I took inspiration from the deeply moving classic film 10 things I hate about you.  And Lady Gaga. As a result, I did 10 things I love about my chair, because
I am the spirit of my chair,
It's all the glory that I bear,
I am my chair, I am my chair,
I am as free as my ch-a-a-air. 
(If you don't know much about Lady Gaga, just ignore this bit, but if you don't know about Judith Butler AND Lady Gaga, at least tell me you like unicorns, drag queens or Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

The 10 things I love about my chair included that it faciliates such fun activities as shoplifting, lapdances and getting drunk. Here's a bit of it, me talking about my fat hips:

Weirdly enough, even though I had very strong competition in that round, I won and went through to the final. The cake did it, I guess. Orange chocolate cheesecake? Yum. I am hungry now.
I will tell you about the final in the sequel, because every Lindsay Lohan film blog post about a beauty pageant for fat people deserves a sequel.

PS: Yes, I titled that video "Nina Neon Burger Queen 2011". It flatters my vanity and makes me feel like I live in a Kirstie Alley film. Eat it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

10 things I love about... Roy.

The last few days have been extremely busy and exciting and weird. I am now officially a fat beauty queen, and I can't wait to blog about this strange and wonderful experience.
However, this blog is about something more important. It is about my friend Roy. He is amazing, and here is why:

10) Roy's got amazing moves. He can dance like noone else. He can move muscles I didn't even know people had. He is the coolest person on any dancefloor, no matter who else is there.

9) Roy is one of the most patient and least judgemental people I have ever met. He never judges people on how they look or on success, just on their actions. If Roy doesn't like you or is angry with you, it means that you are truly evil or did something extremely awful.

8) Roy is gorgeous. He's got the sparkliest eyes, the lushest lips, the sweetest smile and a hot body. When we go  out, he makes all the girls and boys swoon, without even realizing it. Which makes him even more gorgeous.

7) Roy makes me feel secure. There isn't a muddy hill or a steep ramp that Roy can't conquer. He's the person i feel safest with, no matter in what situation I am in. Without him, I would probably end up being a mushy gloop next to some stairs, because I was too drunk to see the ramp.

6) Roy puts up with me. I have no idea why. Sometimes I sing Justin Bieber songs (and I really can't sing), and he endures it. I can also be a massively  moody, selfish, self-centered bitch. It is something that probably comes from me trying to cover up my insecurities, but that is no excuse. Looking at Roy reminds me how much better I could be and that I really need to try.

5) Roy boy's got glamour. Noone wears Dr Martens, sequins and dapper hats like him. Hardcore eleganza extravaganza!! He even looks amazing with baby blue lipstick on. And not many people can work that look, let me tell you.

4) A lot of people are either cool OR nice. They somehow feel that being nice would interfere with their coolness, so they are being rude to people. Roy however manages to be the coolest AND the nicest simultaneously. He goes out of his way to be kind and help people, no matter if they are friends or people he barely knows. At the same time, he's always up for mischief and having a laugh and is full of exciting, creative ideas. 

3) Roy's my soulmate. Very often, we say exactly the same thing at the same time. Very often, this involves Lady Gaga quotes. We also have an imaginary gang and an imaginary band with a hit song about Betty White.

2) Roy's so funny. Noone can make you laugh like Roy. I had some serious downs this winter, and Roy always brought back a smile on my face. I remember a particular night when I felt really bad, and he did the most hilarious moves and faces, so that this night turned into one of the most fun ones in my life. He's got a massive talent for comedy and acting. Eat your heart out, Whoopi Goldberg.

1) Roy gets all my RuPaul/ Lady Gaga/ Patrick Wolf references. Condragulations Roy, you have won the challenge of being the most amazing person in the world. You put be in the magic position, baby. Cherry cherry boom boom.

The best thing that ever happened to me was to get him as my friend. Everything good that happens to me only happens because I have him as my friend.
Roy, I love you.

Lets make the headlines loud and clear
The best things suddenly happen when you are here
If I lost my way you'd carry me home
Take me all the way to heaven never leave me alone,
And its just like everything matters when you are near.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wednesday, Wednesday, Gotta get down on Wednesday...

Partyin’, partyin’, yeah.
Partyin’, partyin’, yeah.
Fun, fun, fun, fun.

In the afternoon I went to Shoreditch, because the brilliant Cocknbullkid played a gig at Rough  Trade. Watch the video. She's amazing.

Because it was only 8pm after the gig, and I wanted to go to another party later, I decided to get drunk in a restaurant to pass the time. Naturally.

After several cocktails, I had a nice chat with the waiter. He told me I look like a Latvian Eurovision contestant.  This made me so happy, because that is one of my life goals. Which I have accomplished now. Go me!!
Actually, he meant a specific lady, called Triana Park. I looked her up, and I like heer style, even though the outfit she's wearing in that picture would make me look like a giant cotton ball. On wheels. Maybe that's a good look?
Anyway, the waiter even called up his friend to get me the name of Triana Park, and he was so lovely and chatty that in the end I got confused whether he just was a gay sweetheart or whether he was, um, hitting on me. Nevermind.

When I was reasonably drunk I made my way to Soho, because I wanted to go to a party at the W hotel. On my wayI walked past a karaoke bar and heard someone belting out 'Poker Face'. The wobbly vocals had a strange allure to me, so I went inside, had a glass of wine, got a lapdance, sang a Kylie song, and left again. Straight after I sang. Because I didn't had enough alcohol to face the reactions to my awful murder of 'I should be so lucky'.

The party at W hotel I went to after was a bit weird: lots of the usual London club kids in an extremely posh hotel bar. Apparently it's 'guestlist only', but none of the 20 bouncers I walked past checked actually who I was.
It was sort of fun though.. I met a gorgeous drag queen who told me all sorts of drag secrets, even some stuff I didn't want to know. About tucking and stuff. If you don't know what that is, google it.

dragtastic. by Daniel Lismore.

When i went to the bathroom, and a girl with long legs and blonde hair was there who looked vaguely familiar. Ok, not vaguely. I did watch the whole first season of The OC religilously. I even forced my friends to watch. Can we  please not talk about this? Anyway, the following conversation took place:
Me: 'Hey, you look like Mischa Barton'
Girl, with a tired smile: 'I am'
Me: 'Oh...' I want to ask her if she is upset that Rachel Bilson's boyfriend on the OC was much hotter than hers. Probably not a good idea. I want  to ask her where she got those glasses from. But she is not wearing them, and I don't want to admit I read Perez Hilton. I have no idea what to say to her, because I am completely clueless what she has been doing during the last few years, apart from, umm, wearing sometimes interesting clothes. I also got the OC theme tune stuck in my head. Californiaaa....
Mischa: 'I like your top!'
Me: (It is actually a dress..nevermind..) 'Oh, wow, thanks! I like your, umm..' her outfit is kinda understated, unfortunately, nothing I particularily!!..oh.. 'I like your bracelet!'
Mischa: 'Oh, it's actually a CUFF'
Me: (Gee!) 'Ah, um... how do you like the party?'
Mischa: 'I like it!'
Me: 'I think it's a bit boring!'
Mischa: 'Oh yes it is, isn't it.. but I loooove the way they are dressed, like, really outrageous!
Me: 'Oh, you mean Daniel Lismore? He's fab!'
Mischa: 'Oh yes, that's probably the one I just met, he looks amazing.'
We smile at each other, and I am actually starting to think that she's a really nice girl.
Me: 'What are you doing in London?'
Mischa: 'You know, visiting my family over here and stuff' Her face closes up, and she uses the hand drying machine. Probably to get rid of me, which is fair enough. 

Later that night, Mischa's friends ask my friends, who have cameras, to take pictures of her. That seems a bit strange: The result is amazing, though. See below. Seth Cohen would approve.

Mischa and a friend, taken by my friend Joie.
And that, dear children, is a typical day in my super interesting life. Except that the rest of the time, I mostly hang out in cafes, reading True Blood novels or meet friends for cupcakes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spare me from the mold (I like burgers)

I've been living in London for over 8 months now. At this point I sometimes feel that things have become a little same old, same old. 
Because I watch too many reality casting shows (anyone else disappointed that Raja won RuPaul's drag race??), I decided I needed a new challenge, if only to have something new to blog about.So, naturally, I decided to enter a beauty contest.
Ok, the sound of this seems as weird to me as it seems to you. Can I please explain? The contest is called "Burger Queen". It's tongue in cheek, it's fun, it's different. It isn't your plain old pageant where women or children aspire to look like a Barbie nightmare.

The idea of the contest, which is organised by London's notorious b.i.g. performance artist Scottee, is to celebrate different body types. The contestants need to have a 'fat mentality': People who feel they don't 'fit' into stereotypical beauty standards, but nontheless feel they are healthy and fashionable, foxy and happy.

I am very fond of a nice, juicy burger. I also struggled with my weight for years (I challenge you to find a wheelchair accessible gym. The nearest one to my place is a 45 minutes bus journey). Me and my body had lots of negotiations, and while I am physically probably the healthiest I have been in a long time and more or less work out regularily, I have also accepted that certain body parts of me are just fat, and most likely always will be.

Funnily enough, people rarely took issue with my weight. Not even when I was a lot heavier. In the eyes of fashion and medicine, my body is already 'wrong', 'unhealthy' and 'unable', no matter the size of my hips. For a very long time I let that mentality complicate the relationship between my body and me.

Until I realised that doctors know fuck all about my body. and neither does Vogue. I can be healthy. I can be strong. I sure as hell am a fashionista.
I feel that the Burger Queen Contest reflects that spirit.
Oh, and there's prizes for the winner, too.

Monday, May 2, 2011

In the most Biblical sense, I am beyond repentance.

The notion of a universality of human experience is a confidence trick and the notion of a universality of female experience is a clever confidence trick. - Angela Carter

This weekend, this drag queen who is also a shaman wanted to go to a party with me. But he/she was extremely chaotic, so I actually never went. Also, him/her saying that he/she could heal me (of what??) by reconnecting my energies, or some weird shit, reminded me of the spiritual phase my mum went through when I was 6. She sent my bro and me to all sorts of workshops lead by people in ugly clothes and even uglier shoes. The only thing I liked about it were the crystals lying around. I tried to steal as many as possible.
The bottom line is that I like drag queens very much, shamans too (I met another one this weekend and he was perfectly lovely), but people who think I need to be healed.. not so much. Go heal yourself first.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Hello, lovely person who reads this.

I wanted to use this blog to write about happy, sparkly stuff. Like fabulous drag queens:
My life has a lot of glittery bits in it. Certainly a lot of makeup.
However, this is also my life:

- I have been stuck in lifts for 5 times in my life.
- Most of the time I have to plan an extra 30 minutes to get somewhere/get home, because the ramps of the buses don't work, or there are baby buggies blocking the disabled space, or people's luggage is blocking that space. illegal? you bet, but if I'd sue them all, I'd do nothing else.
- This weekend it took me 1 hour to get to a gig in a pub which said it as 'accessible' on the homepage, however, while the main pub was, the gig itself was on the 2nd floor and the spiral stairs horribly narrow. I had to go back home. Exception? No, this is not. This is my life.

Stuff like this happens to me every bloody week, several times. It's exhausting. I am generally a positive, happy person. But there are moments when I feel just scared and weak. Luckily, I have many fantastic friends and a great family who allows me to be weak and tired. However, I am scared to show this side to people who don't know me well.
If someone I don't know well asks me to come to a party/club/bar that I know will be horribly inaccessible, I often say I have something else to do than to say the real reason. Out of fear that they will be uncomfortable and embarrassed about it, and it IS an uncomfortable issue that I just don't have the strenght to discuss with people, all the time.
I guess this might make me look unapproachable. Like I'm not interested in other people. But I am just terrified that don't have my safety net here in London. And I don't want to come across as complicated, or as a buzzkill. Because I am not. People seem to like me best when I am laughing and spinning around in circles to Lady Gaga songs. Well, that is when I like myself best too. But I feel a lot of pressure to be like that all the fucking time (from myself, but also from other people. Disability and performance. please write a book about this, Judith Butler, or I will.) And I just can't.
I am shit scared that I don't find a flat or a job when I finish uni. How many of you guys live/work in wheelchair accessible places? Exactly.
Because of all of this, I became terribly whiny and paranoid lately. But I don't want to be like that. I feel that there are enough images of miserable, bitter disabled people with ugly clothes out there. And I am cheerful, strong and my clothes are fabulous. And my handbags. Don't forget the handbags.
I know that I am really blessed in lots of ways. I have the most fabulous, intelligent, fun friends who would go through fire and water for me. As I would for them. I have a wonderful family who were always proud of me and made me feel I can be whatever I want to be. My life is bloody crazy and unpredictable, and I don't think it would be like that if I wasn't exactly the way I am. Just look at some pictures:

So if I have been whiny, paranoid, or acted as if I don't like you: I didn't mean to. I do like you (well, most people). I didn't mean to let out my frustration on you. I am sorry. I just want to dance with you.
Cause when you step into the disco
leave your problems at the front door
you know, the world don't have to end
long as the DJ records spin.