ALL HAIL KWEEN KAREN FROM FINANCE
Drag superfan (and our sassy sub-editor) Bridget Evans sat down with Drag Superstar Karen From Finance before her Brisbane show to share a cold drink and some ‘hot tea’. They discussed all things Drag Race, Karen’s upcoming trip to Cairns… and why girth is sooooo important.
Karen, you’re going to be joining us here in Cairns for Tropical Pride – have you been to Cairns before?
No, never! I’ve been so many places in Australia, but never to Cairns. I know that it’s beautiful, it’s tropical, and I can’t wait to put on some boujee sunglasses and some nice sandals and have a lovely time! I’m performing on the Sunday, but I’m flying up a day or two early so I can explore the place, have some drinks and check out beautiful Cairns.
Now we want to find out more about you. Where did the name Karen From Finance come from, and why is everyone so obsessed with it?
The name came about before the drag came about. It was never meant to be a drag name! I was going to a house party on a Saturday night; and pre-party, we were at an op-shop and found a sale rack of $15.00 80’s prom dresses. I was with two friends and we each bought a dress and decided to wear it to the party.
At the time I had a huge beard, piercings galore – real blokey – and we just thought it would be really funny. We got really drunk at the party and started coming up with characters for the women that would have bought these dresses when they were brand new. I decided that the lady that owned my dress would have been named Karen; and she would now be middle-aged, single, and working in finance, with not much going on in her life. It was a whole thing!
Anyway, months later, I went to a friend’s birthday party and the theme was Dolly, Denim, and Diamantes. I turned up in drag for the first ever time. I looked like a monster, I looked like a clown, I looked HORRIFYING; and I looked so different that no one knew who I was. I had shaved my beard off and when I knocked on the door, they said “Who are you??” and I said the first thing which came to my mind, which was “I’m Karen from Finance!”
I think we’ve all met a ‘Karen from Finance’ type in our working lives – do you think you’re repping for them well?
Well that’s the thing. When she first was “born”, it was a funny scenario because it speaks chapters. I don’t even need to explain to someone who “Karen from Finance” is, they’ve all met someone like that before, and they can picture it straight away. I think that’s part of the reason ‘Karen from Finance’ is so well-received. She’s the opposite of what is typical in the drag scene – people often go for an iconic, slutty, celebrity-based name, whereas mine is the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s so bland, and that’s why it’s funny. It’s also so relatable, everyone knows the character – people give me their own jokes for Karen! They say “Does Karen like stealing stationary?”; or “Does Karen get worked up at Friday night drinks?”
I’m loving your video series on Instagram at the moment – “Tips From Karen From Finance”.
I’m glad you like it, because I’ve got so many! They’re all done, I recorded them all in one day, and they’re ready to come out!
I’ve had a lot of success with the name over a very short period of time, and I’m in a situation where I have quite a large fan base, but it’s quite a unique situation as people know the character’s name, but they don’t really know who she is or what her voice is. Usually, when people are creating a character or a story or a show, they create the content first, and then the, dare I say, fame, comes after. Whereas this is the opposite scenario where the notoriety is there, but the voice didn’t really exist, so I decided to try to create these videos to give Karen some ‘girth’, so that when people look at my social media they can see who I am. I want to give her a voice.
I know full well that FNQ Magazine is now going to put a breakout on your article saying ‘Karen from Finance talks about why girth is important’.
Hahaha you can see it now! I’m here for that.
Us lucky people in Australia have known who Karen From Finance is for a long time, but I feel like the greater part of the world found out about you from this video of Trixie and Katya talking about the best drag name they’ve heard… Did you know that was coming? Did they warn you?
No! I was just talking to Trixie a couple of weeks ago, and it was never an intention of theirs for that to become a thing! The Trixie and Katya Show is purely filmed with them talking trash – if the subject is Death, they’ll be talking about hot water balloons. It’s never on topic and it’s crazy. The very first episode they decided to talk about drag names. I met them when they first toured here after season 7, and they honestly did drop dead in their tracks when I told them my name! It was quite funny – Trixie grabbed my arm and said “What did you just say to me??” (laughs).
We did a tour together a couple of weeks ago and the first chance she got, Trixie said “We need to talk – what the hell has happened in the last three years?? It’s amazing, congratulations!” And of course I thanked her – without them mentioning it, I would never be as well-known as I am.
How did you get involved with InTheDark, and the big tours they do with Drag Race girls?
The first show I did, Season 7 had just started, and Violet Chachki and Max were touring Australia, InTheDark were looking for a host and they needed someone that knew the show, and that loved the show, and knew the girls. I got booked, which was crazy because I had only been performing in drag for around 6 months. I looked terrible!! But I knew the girls, and I knew how to have a good night! The relationship started there. After Violet and Max; it was a show with Ginger Minj, and then it was with Trixie and Katya, and it was on that night that we met, they found out my name, and everything just skyrocketed from there!!
With your great relationship with World of Wonder, we want to know – any chance we’re going to see you on a future season of Drag Race??
No, I’m not going to be on Drag Race any time soon. For those who don’t know, unfortunately you’re not allowed to apply if you don’t reside in America or have a working visa. Courtney Act lived in West Hollywood when she was on her season. Buuut, if they go International or do an Australian season, maybe!
But if they did an Australian season, we think you should be the host!
Now that is so funny – I think if they did an Australian season I would want to see Vanity Faire from Sydney hosting, or at least judging. That’s who I’m gunning for. Everyone thinks it should be Dame Edna, but of course she’s a transphobic piece of shit, so.
I’ll leave that bit out…
No, put that in!
I think for mainstream Australia, you are the biggest name in drag since Courtney Act
Look, there are a lot of amazing Queens in Australia, and I am very honoured and privileged to be considered one of them, especially in such a short period of time. It’s an honour to be able to work with the best of the best in Australia and be considered one of them.
We saw that you went to DragCon in America with the amazing Art Simone – are there any other Queens you think we should be keeping our eyes on?
Art Simone is definitely amazing, Vanity Faire, Hannah Conda; they’re all up there as my top Australian queens. There’s some other really amazing Queens in Australia doing some fabulous things like Philma Box in Melbourne, who co-produces and directs the Broken Heel Festival in Broken Hill every year, she’s amazing; God I could go on forever, there are such amazing queens here. Even Lucy and Eve in Adelaide, Feminem Barbie Scarlet and Alexis in Perth; Miss Ellaneous in Darwin, and Vollie, Scarlet, and Shu Shu in Brisbane; they’re all amazing!
And soon you’ll get to meet some Cairns Queens!
Photo Credit: Eric Brumfield.
1st August 2018.