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Changes: Ella Vaday

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Annie [00:00:01] Hello and welcome to Changes with me, Annie MacManus. This is a real special episode, a first ever Changes live. You are going to hear the recording of what happened at the London Podcast Show when I invited Nick Collier, a.k.a. The Drag Beast from Dagenham East herself, Ella Vaday, onto stage in front of our first ever audience. Let's do it *Applause*. Hi, everyone. Hi. Hi. Hi. So good to be- I want to look at all of you and see who comes to a Change's live *laughter*. It's the first ever one we've done. It's so great to have you here. I'm really excited. Never really done this before, host my own live podcast. My performances are normally quite different to this. The audience are a lot more of their heads *laughter*, but you never know what will happen tonight, right? So, Changes is a podcast about change. Obviously change is inevitable, it's going to happen to all of us. And the podcast is about how we deal with change. And we've had so many excellent conversations on the podcast so far, and there's a kind of pattern, I suppose, to the changes that people talk about. And there's three basic groups in my experience of change that, you know, that keep cropping up. One is change that happens to you and a lot of the time that is when you're a kid, maybe you move schools or your parents get divorced or something like that. Or it could be a very extreme version like when we spoke to Grace Spence Green, who was walking through Westfield, and a man jumped off a floor three floors up and landed on her and she was paralysed from the chest down and wheelchair bound for the rest of her life. So, that's a very extreme version, but it's change that you have no control over. Then the other change is the change that you embrace and you affect yourself. You kind of orchestrate your own upheavals. Example of that is Kelis when she came on the podcast and talked about becoming a Cordon Bleu chef after being a massive pop star and then buying a farm in rural California and deciding to manage it and getting really into tractors. Also, Jimmy Carr being a kind of mid-level management guy at Shell and deciding that he wanted to be a stand-up comedian. So, those big kind of, pivots have come up a lot. And then there's the idea of effecting change and trying to make a difference in the world, I suppose, so we've had some incredible conversations. A guy called Larch Maxey, who I spoke to, who was in a man made tunnel under Euston station when I was talking to him, he was doing this direct action protest against the building of HS2 and he'd been down there for 18 days. He was quite emotional and there was a lot of tears, but it was real visceral change, you know, making and it was really powerful conversation. So, there's so many different types of change we can speak about and I think what I love about this podcast is learning from other people's experiences and journeys in just how to navigate life because change, as I said, it's absolutely inevitable. And our guest tonight is a person who experienced that first type of change, you know, the change that just- he had no control over. And then he affected change and kind of got himself out of a bit of a sticky situation and he's incredibly inspiring for that. It is time to introduce our guest for this evening, so his name is Nick Collier, he is a professional dancer, West End performer from Suffolk. He's performed in every single big West End show. I mean, it's easier to name the ones he hasn't been in. He was doing rehearsals for Hairspray when COVID hit and his career collapsed in a matter of days. And what we're going to experience tonight is his story and his journey from then to now. You will probably know him as her. The Drag Beast from Dagenham East *laughter*. Please welcome Ella Vaday! *Applause*. We did think Ella was going to have to catwalk down, so I'm sorry that didn't happen. 

Ella [00:04:07] Hi, everyone. How's it going? Welcome. 

Annie [00:04:11] Okay, so first thing we should do is pour you a glass of wine. 

Ella [00:04:16] Absolutely. 

Annie [00:04:16] How are you? 

Ella [00:04:16] I'm really well, thank you. 

Annie [00:04:18] Yeah. 

Ella [00:04:19] How you doing? Looking radiant. 

Annie [00:04:20] Thank you. I did wear false eyelashes for you today. *Laughter* I don't- I never do that. I was like *squints* 

Ella [00:04:26] *Laughs* how was that getting them on?

Annie [00:04:26] It wasn't great, I'll be honest.

Ella [00:04:28] No it's really hard, but you get used to it. 

Annie [00:04:30] How long does it take you then, from beginning to end, in terms of the transformation from Nick to Ella?

Ella [00:04:35] Makeup about an hour and then body about 20 minutes, about an hour and 20 I can do it in. 

Annie [00:04:40] About an hour and 20, wow.

Ella [00:04:40] Yeah, I think Drag Race taught me one thing. Get ready very quickly *laughter* and don't worry too much about what you look like because it will work out in the end. 

Annie [00:04:48] Yeah. And is there something about the process of doing it that's kind of, like, do you enjoy the process? Like when you watch you guys do it on Drag Race, I don't know, I quite like watching all the different stages of it. 

Ella [00:05:01] Yeah. No, it's, uh, is fun sometimes. I think when you're on tour and stuff like you literally get to the hotel, for example, at three, you've got to be out of there by five. You literally get to the hotel and you're just like ahh here we go again, get it on as quickly as you can, as best as you can. Um, sometimes I like to just sit and like listen to music and enjoy doing it, but most of the time I'm doing out of necessity so I just bang it on as quickly as possible.

Annie [00:05:27] Just work it on. And what is life like for you now? You know, post Drag Race, you must be so busy.

Ella [00:05:33] So busy. It's been amazing since leaving the show. The opportunities that I've had have just been insane, like I would have never got some of the things I've done had I not gone through Drag Race, you know? 

Annie [00:05:45] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, we're going to get to that. There's so much to discuss. And you know, as I said, this is all about change and the changes you've been through. And we do mostly start as a kid. And I wanted to ask you, when in your, kind of childhood did you realise that you had kind of this desire to perform? Or was there a point? 

Ella [00:06:05] There was a time when I was literally, I think about five years old, I think. And I used to just shuffle my feet around and I used to be like, 'mum, mum. mum I want to go dancing, I want to go dancing'. And, um, as soon as my mum said, 'okay, let's go, let's go, I'm going to take you to dancing', I went, 'no, I'm not going to go unless my brother comes as well'. And I don't know if my brother's here tonight, I think he said he was coming. 

Annie [00:06:27] Is he here? 

Ella [00:06:27] Wave... There he is, there's my brother.

Annie [00:06:28] Heeeey!

Ella [00:06:29] And... My brother got dragged along too *laughs*, because I wouldn't go without my brother being there. So, that's how it got started and I just wanted to do tap dancing and we did a bit of ballet. Yeah, so it started quite young and then on and off throughout the years. 

Annie [00:06:45] Yeah. And what was it like for you? So you have your brother and you had another- 

Ella [00:06:49] Got a younger sister as well. Yeah, she's six years younger than me. So, yeah we just all did dance and it was very much like part of what we did as kids. And I think it was a great hobby to have, like, away from school. Um, dance has always been something I've loved, and it's a great way- I think if anyone can have a passion or something to escape from the world, I think dance is such a great way to do that. 

Annie [00:07:14] And what did your mum and dad think of all this? 

Ella [00:07:16] Oh, they didn't care. Like, I think my mum and dad, my dad certainly always did a job he didn't really like, so he was always glad for us to do things that we enjoyed. 

Annie [00:07:24] Yeah. 

Ella [00:07:24] And my mum always loved dancing and singing and acting and didn't really have the opportunity to do it as a kid. So, I think they were giving as much as they could. You know, we're not from any rich family, but as much as we could do a hobby, they were like, 'yeah, do it'. 

Annie [00:07:39] And you grew up in the countryside, right? 

Ella [00:07:41] Yeah, we grew up in the sticks of Suffolk, like a little village called Hoxne. There was literally a post office, a petrol station and a pub. All the P's. 

Annie [00:07:51] Wow. 

Ella [00:07:51] And *laughs* there was nothing to do. There was like, sticks and mud and we had chickens and all the animals you could imagine. So it was a real like, rural life. 

Annie [00:08:00] What animals, I want to know. 

Ella [00:08:02] So we had, at one point we had two dogs, two cats. 

Annie [00:08:05] Oh, wow. 

Ella [00:08:05] We had probably about 25 chickens. 

Annie [00:08:08] Wow. 

Ella [00:08:09] We had to tame pheasants that would come to the window, ducks that would fly in every now and then. Uh, rabbit, guinea pig, chinchillas. 

Annie [00:08:17] Wow. 

Ella [00:08:17] A budgie or two. I think the first one died, so we replaced it. Um. 

Annie [00:08:22] And were you involved in these animals? Were you into the animals? 

Ella [00:08:25] Yeah, absolutely. I loved. I love anything to do with being outside. I'm such like, a country kid. Like I used to, when I was really young, go round the garden and talk to the flowers. I thought they were telling me to go somewhere *laughter*.

Annie [00:08:40] No, no, no, no, no, no. 

Ella [00:08:40] It didn't get me anywhere. 

Annie [00:08:41] Tell me more. Like...

Ella [00:08:43] So, you know you get clusters of like, snowdrops? 

Annie [00:08:47] Yeah. 

Ella [00:08:48] They were talking to me and they were telling me where to go around the garden. 

Annie [00:08:51] So you would go to them and- was it a direction they were pointing you in? Or was it, you just got a vibe off them? 

Ella [00:08:56] I'm not allowed to tell you that, but *laughs* I'm not sure. And I used to talk to trees. I was a very strange child, to be honest. 

Annie [00:09:03] I don't think that's strange, I think that's just got a big imagination. 

Ella [00:09:06] Just creative! We didn't have iPads, we didn't have phones, we barely had internet so-

Annie [00:09:08] Yeah, you make your own fun. 

Ella [00:09:09] Yeah, we made our own fun and me and my brother used to go round with the stinger nettles and, like, you know, make mazes and all sorts. So, it was really fun. 

Annie [00:09:17] So, what kind of a kid were you? 

Ella [00:09:20] I was, um, obviously, I'm the eldest child, so I was very much trying to do the things and getting told off for them. But also, I was kind of just a very artistic kid, like, very much into just doing things and, you know, making things. And any Christmas present would be like a glass painting kit. I was like, very much, that kid. 

Annie [00:09:46] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And what was school like for you then? 

Ella [00:09:49] School, as as much as I can remember, as a young child, I think I enjoyed it. I think as I got older, like high school, which from year seven didn't really kind of find the people to fit in with. You know, lunch time would be spent just sort of like in a hallway, with just like a few random people. My friends were always quite kind of odd. They weren't really even my vibe I was just like, 'can I just hang with you?' *laughs*.

Annie [00:10:18] Yeah, I just need someone to stand beside. 

Ella [00:10:20] I just need to spend this hour of lunch with somebody *laughter. 

Annie [00:10:22] Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Ella [00:10:22] So, we just got by. And then I moved school in year 11, sort of the end of year 10. 

Annie [00:10:31] So hang on, what age does that make you? 15 or something?

Ella [00:10:34] So... 14, 15. So, right in between my GCSEs I moved school, which was pretty tough. 

Annie [00:10:39] That's a big, that's a big change. 

Ella [00:10:41] Yeah. 

Annie [00:10:41] Okay, so your childhood change then is around that, isn't it? 

Ella [00:10:44] Yeah. So, my childhood change would be my parents divorcing, moving county, starting GCSEs again and auditioning for college, ready to leave at 16. So, a lot happened. 

Annie [00:10:57] That is like, three huge upheavals when you are changing completely physiologically, hormonally, you know, as a kid and then you've got all this change happening around you. 

Ella [00:11:09] Yeah. 

Annie [00:11:10] So, let's break it down. So your parents broke up. How did that change your world? 

Ella [00:11:15] I mean, it was always a thing that was going to happen and I can remember a discussion with my brother saying like, 'why have they not divorced yet?'. 

Annie [00:11:24] Okay, so you sensed it. 

Ella [00:11:24] But, you know, when a couple stays together for their kids, they think they're doing the right thing. I don't think it's always the right thing to do. And it became really difficult to be around. And me being the oldest, I felt like I had to be in charge and look after my mum and keep my siblings away from everything. So, I kind of became like in charge of everything and I kind of now, you know, looking back on it, I shut away a lot of feelings that I should have gone through myself, without feeling for everyone else. 

Annie [00:12:00] Mmm, you're too busy trying to protect everyone else. 

Ella [00:12:02] Yeah, very much that.

Annie [00:12:03] And just put up a front of strength.

Ella [00:12:05] Yeah, and I still do it now. It's still my- one of my biggest faults, weaknesses, strengths, I don't know what it is, is that I never want to look weak and I always have to be strong. And, you know, and that is something that I still struggle to kind of- 

Annie [00:12:21] Yeah, It's a default, a default place. 

Ella [00:12:22] It's default mode, yeah. 

Annie [00:12:23] Yeah, yeah. Well, it's hard. It's hard just to be completely vulnerable and especially when you're that age, you don't know how you're feeling half the time, let alone when the world around you is completely turning upside down.

Ella [00:12:34] Yeah, exactly. I was a little gay boy not able to even think about that. I shot that to the back of my brain. I had enough going on. You know, I had parents splitting up, moving school, auditioning for college. The last thing I wanted to try and address was my sexuality. So yeah, there was just so much going on. But luckily at the new school, like we had- the new school was great in Heatherset, Heatherset high school. There was like a mentoring kind of group so, they could tell I was having a struggle. I didn't realise I was but they-. 

Annie [00:13:08] But they saw it? 

Ella [00:13:09] Were basically like, come, you know, come and have a chat. So, they kind of helped me through that tough year. 

Annie [00:13:15] Yeah. Yeah. When you joined?

Ella [00:13:17] Yeah, yeah, because like within- the second day of me being at the school, I was back at home at ten because I was ill. You know, I wasn't really Ill, I just didn't want to be there. 

Annie [00:13:26] Yeah. 

Ella [00:13:26] I was like, 'I'm sick. I need to go home. Now'. 

Annie [00:13:28] And you said you had to start your GCSEs again? 

Ella [00:13:31] Yeah, most of them 'cause the syllabus was completely different, so. 

Annie [00:13:35] Oh, my God. 

Ella [00:13:36] I had to start all of my coursework and everything pretty much again. I got out of doing RE and PE, thank God, because I hated them. 

Annie [00:13:45] How did you get out of that? *laughter*

Ella [00:13:48] No, I just said, look, I've got so much work to do. I've always been exactly the same as I am now. So you can imagine when I was 15, I was like, look, I've got a lot of work to catch up on here. I think probably the best thing to do-

Annie [00:14:00] Is let me sit this one out. 

Ella [00:14:02] Is remove me from PE because I do go dancing every day *laughter* and RE... not really interested so- *laughter*. And they let me. 

Annie [00:14:11] How did you do that! 

Ella [00:14:11] I managed it. 

Annie [00:14:13] That's remarkable. 

Ella [00:14:14] I'm a jammy git, but it is what it is *laughter*. Always have been. 

Annie [00:14:17] But I mean, I guess it's a practical decision on their behalf because if you have to start everything again, it's like you need to, yeah, you need to have the time. 

Ella [00:14:24] Well yeah, if they want a good rating. 

Annie [00:14:26] If they want a good mark. Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Ella [00:14:28] Yeah, and I've always been intelligent but not that intelligent that I can like literally whip out, you know, these essays from somewhere like-

Annie [00:14:38] Yeah. So, moving school, not great. But also if you weren't happy in the first school- we've had people on Changes who've really embraced and kind of enjoyed this idea of being able to start again at a new school. Did it feel like that or was it just a pain in the arse? 

Ella [00:14:51] No, it was awful. I hated it so, so much. 

Annie [00:14:53] So why did you hate it? 

Ella [00:14:55] Um, I left the school where I kind of had a few friends, and, you know, it was fine, we got on with it. And then I moved school, and somebody had just left the school, opening up the place for me to move into. 

Annie [00:15:06] Okay. 

Ella [00:15:06] So, instantly everyone was like, 'oh, you're replacing Ross' or whatever his name was. And for the first time ever, everyone knew that I went dancing and I'd never told anyone that I did that before. I was always just going to acting class rather than dancing five nights a week. So, everyone knew my hobby. Instantly I was called like, the gay boy, the dancing queen, all the things I'd never witnessed before. So, instantly I was kind of, you know, the new boy. 

Annie [00:15:32] Labelled. 

Ella [00:15:33] Yeah, I was labelled. And I was the campy gay queen one. 

Annie [00:15:38] Yeah. 

Ella [00:15:38] And I hated it. 

Annie [00:15:39] Yeah. Because at this point you hadn't accepted-

Ella [00:15:42] Oh, no, no. I was like, 'no, no, no, I'm straight, It's fine', you know? I love Brad Pitt but just as an idol *laughter*.

Annie [00:15:49] Great actor. Great actor. 

Ella [00:15:51] I want to be him, not be inside him, you know? *laughter*.

Annie [00:15:58] *Laughs* Oh, God! So, so then you audition for this college, right? 

Ella [00:16:03] Yeah, so I think I must've been 15 auditioning to go for 16, so like, the next year. So, I auditioned at three different colleges. Didn't get in the first one because I was too young and too skinny. 

Annie [00:16:16] Eyy?! 

Ella [00:16:17] Yeah, yeah. 

Annie [00:16:17] What's that got to do with it? 

Ella [00:16:18] That's, uh, that's a certain dance college for you. Um, where they weigh you, the first thing they do is weigh you. I was like, okay cool, that's the vibe.

Annie [00:16:26] God, it's like you're an animal or something. 

Ella [00:16:28] Yeah, yeah. Literally livestock. Um, but yeah, no, I auditioned and got into the college I wanted to go to, so.

Annie [00:16:36] Which was away, obviously from home. 

Ella [00:16:37] Yes. Yeah, it was in Sidcup in Kent. So, it was a move away. But I was very much ready to just get on with my life. So, I know i'd moved around a lot, but this was a move for me. 

Annie [00:16:50] Your choice. 

Ella [00:16:51] This is my choice. And this was me getting on with my life and I was very much ready to train in what I enjoyed doing and get away from it all. 

Annie [00:17:00] So, you left home at 16 and moved there to Sidcup, and where did you live? And what was it like in the college? 

Ella [00:17:06] So, the first year I lived with a couple and another student, and then in the second year I moved out and lived with friends and it was just great. It was like, you know, it was around the time of High School Musical 1 coming out. So, we're talking a long time ago. And it was very much like having lots of friends that I had the same interest and for the first time ever I felt like, do you know what? I think I've got my crowd here. And even though majority were gay, I still was like, 'no, but I'm not gay'. Which you'd think going to a musical theatre dance college where everyone is gay, it would be the easiest place to come out. But not for me *laughs*. 

Annie [00:17:48] And why do you think that is? Or was?

Ella [00:17:50] I have always been just so desperate, I think definitely as a young person, to not sort of let my my mum or my dad down. To bring shame upon the family. I know that sounds really- 

Annie [00:18:07] Yeah, I mean, you're the oldest kid. 

Ella [00:18:08] Yeah, I'm the oldest kid. I'm expected to have kids and get married and you know, keep on the Collier gene and all that stuff. And my thoughts on it was like, well, if I'm gay, I can't do that. You grow up with people saying slurs all the time, you know? Don't even want to say them, but like poofter and duh duh duh and like look, he's that. That's what I grew up with. So in my mind, being gay was really wrong and really not something I wanted to do and would really limit my life.  

Annie [00:18:39] Mhm. So at what point did you actually come out to yourself as such?

Ella [00:18:45] I think I left it until I'd left college. So, I think I was probably 19. 19 heading towards 20 because I honestly couldn't be bothered to come out because I thought I was probably gay by third year, but I couldn't be bothered with the drama of having to tell everyone, because of course you have to come out when you're gay. 

Annie [00:19:04] And it's so ridiculous that you have to come out. 

Ella [00:19:05] I know. 

Annie [00:19:06] Even now the idea of like, me sitting down and being like, 'I need to tell you about my sexuality'. Like, it's so absurd when you think about it, right? 

Ella [00:19:13] Is it, it is, but it's such a moment that you have to do. 

Annie [00:19:16] Yeah. 

Ella [00:19:16] And I just couldn't face having to do that at college. So, I waited until I had time to go out and be a mess and-

Annie [00:19:24] Sure. 

Ella [00:19:26] Go to GAY late and drink pints of wine.

Annie [00:19:29] It's very wise. 

Ella [00:19:30] Yeah, so that's how I did it. And then I kind of accepted, 'okay, I think that's who I am'. Yeah, it took awhile, it took ages.

Annie [00:19:39] Yeah. And then was there a moment of you feeling relief of being able to get it out of your system and tell the people that you loved? 

Ella [00:19:46] Oh, yeah, 100%. It's one of those things that you keep in for so many years, thinking about every scenario that's going to happen, you know, your family's going to abandon you, everyone's going to hate you, and it's just not that way at all. I didn't have one bad reaction from really any of my family. I think my mum was a bit shocked, but I think it's because I basically went home, said, 'I'm gay', mic dropped, left *laughter*. We didn't even have- I didn't let her sort of, have a conversation or talk about it. So that's why I think she was a bit upset, and my dad famously found out via Twitter. 

Annie [00:20:26] Right. 

Ella [00:20:26] *Laughs* Thanks, dad. Cause I said, 'oh, dad, I've passed my driving test'. And he said, 'oh, I know, I saw it on Twitter'. And then I said, 'oh, so you know I'm gay then?' and he went, 'yeah'. *Laughter*. 

Annie [00:20:38] And yet he just hadn't mentioned it? 

Ella [00:20:40] So, that's how I came out to my dad. 

Annie [00:20:44] *Laughs* It's kind of useful of Twitter in a way. 

Ella [00:20:46] Yeah, cheers Twitter *laughter*.

Annie [00:20:50] So, then you start working. You know, as I mentioned before you came on, you've done pretty much every big West End musical. 

Ella [00:20:59] Well, not really but I've done a couple of them.

Annie [00:21:00] Well it looks like it when it's written down. It's incredible. But do you mind just walking us through those few days when you were doing the rehearsals for Hairspray and COVID struck? 

Ella [00:21:12] Oh, God, yeah. So, I'd been waiting for this job to start for seven months, like after getting the job. And, um, we obviously start and they're aware of COVID coming and they're like, right, what we're going to do is we're going to try and get as much done as we can before we get closed down. They had a feeling we were going to kind of, stop. So, yeah, we did day one. We did Nicest Kids in Town, the hardest routine ever. My body killed after it. Cause I was the oldest kid in town, believe me. I was the 31 year old amongst 19 year olds trying to be like 'woo!' *laughter* 'ahaha, yeah love it!' *laughter*. So, yeah, that happened. And then the next day we did another thing. We did like a massive singing call and I was on the top tenor line. First day my body killed. The second day voice, dead. The third day we go in, we've done warm up, within an hour they're like, 'okay, we're going to have to go home because someone from the building's gone'. And then we went home basically without any idea of what was going on, at all. Pretty much the whole West End, the whole of the theatre, I guess live- anyone that did anything live was just up in the air and initially it was like oh great, we've got six weeks off and we'll be back and you know, let's just enjoy this. And then it just, it just never came- I mean, never came back for me, but it was rescheduled to September and then that was scrapped. So, yeah, my life was suddenly just all up in the air.  

Annie [00:22:44] Mmm. So what did you do? 

Ella [00:22:46] Well, within a week, I was working in Morrison's. And I was stacking the booze aisle *laughs*. 

Annie [00:22:53] I mean good for you. Because you just got stuck in and got another job. 

Ella [00:22:56] Well, yeah, exactly. I've always been like that. I've always been like, well, you know, I will make it work no matter what happens. You know, I left home at 16 and I was like, I'm going to make this work. Whatever happens, I'm never gonna- 

Annie [00:23:07] Yeah, so you're enterprising. 

Ella [00:23:09] Yeah. I'm not going to fail. You know, I've always been- again, going back to that strong facade thing, I'm like, no one's going to see me fail. And I have failed, many, many times. But yeah, I was working in Morrison's and it was really tough because, it was like getting towards the peak of the virus and people were walking around with no masks on, stepping on my feet. And I was like, what am I doing here? This is mad. Yeah. 

Annie [00:23:39] So, tell me then the moment you decided to start doing drag. 

Ella [00:23:43] Well, I started drag when I joined Mormon in 2017, like, we- there was like this charity drag night called Mad Drag Night, which was a lot of like the West End community would get into drag and raise money for charity. So I did that one year, didn't do it again until the next year. And then 2019, I left Mormon and I had no job to go on to. Book of Mormon, great show if anyone's seen it? 

Annie [00:24:13] Great show! Greatest show on the West End. 

Ella [00:24:13] It's literally my favourite. 

Annie [00:24:16] I fucking love it. 

Ella [00:24:16] I loved it. I didn't want to leave, but you know, I had to leave because I was like, I can do something else. But it was my favourite show ever. I left that and I was like, I have no job to go on to. Like Katherine Tate said, 'I can do that'. And I was like, 'I can do drag'. I can paint a face, and I've got an outfit. We can do drag now. So, I just started like putting myself out there and being like, 'oh, I can drag DJ', I can't DJ *laughter*. Honestly, I did. 

Annie [00:24:46] It's easy. Shh, don't tell anyone. 

Ella [00:24:48] Um, yeah. So, it kind of started, 2019. Did maybe two jobs maximum, went away and did Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat and then I did all of the pride season, that's when I started doing drag and then I did cabaret stuff. And then 2020 happened, so not a lot. 

Annie [00:25:07] Well you had a bit of experience. 

Ella [00:25:08] Yeah, tiny, tiny bit. Honestly, like tiny bit. 

Annie [00:25:11] Yeah. So then you're bored and you're at home. You're doing Morrison's three days a week or something, right? 

Ella [00:25:16] Yes. Yeah. 15 hours maximum on a week is all I could take *laughs*. Five hour shift was too long *laughs*. I've done every job under the sun when it comes to, you know, hospitality, working in shops, um, any random job I think I've probably done- telesales, I've tried to sell you wine at some point, I'm sure. Um, yes so drag became my outlet for my creativity during the lockdown because I had nothing else to do apart from sunbathe, or go to Morrisons so *laughs*. 

Annie [00:25:53] Or stack shelves! 

Ella [00:25:54] Yeah! So I just sat and I still do it now. I sit in my bathroom and I straddle the toilet facing the window. Not very comfortable, I will tell you that. And I just started doing drag and, um, trying out looks and going on live and just trying to be present.

Annie [00:26:12] And doing like, transformations, and like before and afters. 

Ella [00:26:15] Yeah, yeah, literally. 

Annie [00:26:16] I mean, you're so, like, you're just so handsome and so beautiful to look at. 

Ella [00:26:21] Stop it Annie. 

Annie [00:26:21] Like, it's, honestly it's-. 

Ella [00:26:23] I am taken. 

Annie [00:26:24] It's unbelievable. Like, it's hard to look away, you know, when you look at your Instagram and you're just so amazing on camera. It's like you're- well, you are made for it, clearly. 

Ella [00:26:35] Oh, thank you. That means a lot. Like, I try my best. That's all I can say.

Annie [00:26:39] Yeah, but you must enjoy it. It must be fun? 

Ella [00:26:42] It is a lot of fun. 

Annie [00:26:43] For you to go there, because you didn't have to do it, like you could have made, you know, banana bread. 

Ella [00:26:46] I could of. 

Annie [00:26:47] Well you straddled a toilet. 

Ella [00:26:48] Maybe I did. *Laughter*.

Annie [00:26:50] I mean, you chose to do that, which is- 

Ella [00:26:53] Yeah, I chose to straddle a toilet and do drag. 

Annie [00:26:55] And you got a lot of love and interest from that, right? Online. 

Ella [00:27:00] Yeah, I thought I had been hacked because at one point, no honestly I did, I thought I've been hacked because I'm getting 1000 followers or 2000 followers a week and I was like, what's going on? And uh, by the time like I was auditioning for Drag Race, I was up to 22,000 and I had overtaken loads of people that I followed and I was like, how is this happening? But it was just that madness of 2020, literally. 

Annie [00:27:27] Yeah, yeah. Okay, so the biggest adult change, now there's a few, but I want to focus on the Drag Race change because it feels like that has been so monumental to you and your identity as Nick as well as Ella. So, that experience for you, how will you look back at that experience? 

Ella [00:27:46] It's been such, uh, such an interesting and amazing experience since it. You can't ever describe the stress that you go through during different parts of the process. Like, the stress of making the audition tape, the stress of getting accepted, and then you've got to get ready for it. The stress of going on the show. The stress after the show when people are bothering you like, 'hey, do you want to meet up for a coffee?' *Annie laughs*. Because they've been on Reddit. Yeah, so, and then the show plays out. But, you know, the experience was, was so, you know, out of this world. Nothing I could have ever imagined it would be like. 

Annie [00:28:30] What did you learn about yourself doing that experience? 

Ella [00:28:34] Um, I learnt that I never give up. But I knew that already, but I proved it, I think doing the show that, you know, I can be faced with something I've never done before. A lot of the challenges on that show, I've never actually even tried to do any of those things. You know, making an outfit out of, like a picnic mat or whatever it was. Prior to that, I had made one outfit out of stretchy material. Um, a celebrity impression, I've never- I don't know any celebrity impressions. 

Annie [00:29:08] I mean, the Nigella Lawson is the stuff of legend now. Has everyone seen and heard the Ella Vaday Nigella Lawson? 

Ella [00:29:15] 'Dirty, dirty, dirty!' *laughter*. It was such a moment and I literally like, as you saw on the screen, I switched from Mystic Meg to Nigella there and then. Like, some people are like, was that produced? Were you always going to do that? And I was like, no. I in the background was cutting and styling that wig that I wore. And had literally about 30 minutes to get ready and on the stage to do it. So, it was just such a moment and that really kind of proved my worth as like a, you know, all the things I've done in the last 12, 13 years as an actor and all the random jobs, you know, selling perfume in Harrods, you know, I can talk shit, that it's my talent *laughs*.

Annie [00:29:59] It's like it's the sum of all of your parts, in that moment. 

Ella [00:30:02] Yeah, literally! And there it was, you know, in Snatch Game, doing Nigella, talking rubbish, you know, covering the fact that I had no answer. When Rue was like, 'oh, Nigella's still writing'. And I was like, 'oh, I've just thought of another recipe idea', really that was me going, 'what other word starts with that letter?', so I can, you know, it was just such an amazing test of what I can do. And I needed that. I think I needed- after all those years of doing theatre and stuff, you get a bit bored and I needed that kind of test. And that was Drag Race. Test mentally, physically, everything. 

Annie [00:30:42] Because it's so much more than just, you know, how you look and how you perform. It's to do with how funny you are, how quick witted you are, all of that stuff. It's such a- 

Ella [00:30:54] Yeah definitely. And I... I think with drag as well I, and life as well to be honest, I've had agents tell me, when I've said I would love to go up for this role, they've said, 'oh, you're too gay for that'. And in drag sometimes people would say, you're not you're not camp enough, you're not gay enough. So sometimes I sit in this balance of like, how do I fit into this world? And sometimes within drag I do feel like, where do you want to put me guys? Because people have such a like, a pre- I don't know what the word is. They have an idea of what a drag queen should be and sometimes I don't fit into that. But that's why I'm unique and that's me, and I can't help that. 

Annie [00:31:39] 100%, yeah, yeah. 

Ella [00:31:39] I'm a geeky guy that goes to the gym and does drag, straddling a toilet, you know? 

Annie [00:31:44] Yeah. Yeah. And like, as you said, you hadn't done drag for that long. So I'm sure compared to a lot of the other queens in there, you might have felt like a bit of a rookie. Did you have any imposter syndrome when you did it? 

Ella [00:31:55] Eugh, I live my life by imposter syndrome. The fact that I'm here with you doing this is just like, what am I doing here? *laughter* ermm is this a dream? Imagine spending a whole year of lockdown pretty much just you and your partner in your house in Dagenham, you know, working in Morrisons, doing drag. And then suddenly you're thrust into a TV studio with 11 other drag queens, a load of cameras, a load of production people. It was like- 

Annie [00:32:22] So intense. 

Ella [00:32:23] What am I doing here? What have I signed up for? The first couple of episodes, honestly, I was like, what have I done? This is a nightmare *laughter*. I was honestly. 

Annie [00:32:32] And why? Just because you felt like you didn't belong or? 

Ella [00:32:35] Yeah, it's just not what I do. It's just not me. I do like to challenge myself and put myself up for stuff that scares me, but that was something else. That was like, Jesus, what have I got myself in for? 

Annie [00:32:49] So. But now you have fully embraced drag and you know, Ella vaday, as we can see. I mean, like, you're busy, you're working what, would you say full time? Is it your full time job now? 

Ella [00:33:01] Oh yeah full time. Yeah, yeah. 

Annie [00:33:02] As Ella? 

Ella [00:33:02] Yeah definitely. 

Annie [00:33:02] So, there's no sign of- you're comfortable in this place? 

Ella [00:33:05] Oh, hundred percent. Yeah, I've, you know, I never imagined... If we went back five years, I could have never imagined that this would be my job. But it's just ended up that it is and I absolutely bloody love it. It's brilliant and the fact that I can connect with so many people, whether it's through screen or social media or hopefully like podcasts like this, and share my story, because I think I come to drag in such a different way to a lot of people. We all come to it in a different way. And yeah, I just never thought I would be doing this. I never thought I was like, camp enough or gay enough. Isn't that weird? 

Annie [00:33:48] But it's so mad because the change that you've made from teenage Nick, who was in denial about who you were deep inside, to now being the most like, you know, outwardly, you know, happy and gay and in drag. And it's such an extreme, lovely, like, happy ending. 

Ella [00:34:10] Yeah, it is. And I hope if that can inspire anyone, if anyone is feeling like they can't come out or anything and then, and then you see me go on the telly and almost win a show with all the gays of the land watching it, I mean, that's something else *laughter*. 

Annie [00:34:27] So how like, what's it like for you within the gay community now? 

Ella [00:34:31] I mean, great I think.

Annie [00:34:32] You're a fucking superstar. 

Ella [00:34:32] Yeah, I dunno *laughs*. I mean, I don't get the chance to really go out anymore because I'm here, there and everywhere. And unless I look at my diary I don't know what I'm doing pretty much the next week, like. But, uh, yeah, life's great. 

Annie [00:34:45] You're busy. You're a busy lady. 

Ella [00:34:47] I get some amazing messages from people saying, like, how much I've helped them in some way, and, like, if that's the only thing I can do with, with what I do, which is essentially putting on a load of make up, some hip pads and some tights, and if I can inspire someone to, you know, embrace themselves then that's good for me. Job done.

Annie [00:35:09] Yeah. Would you say drag saved you, in a way? 

Ella [00:35:12] It definitely- I think it did, actually. I know that's a bold statement, but I think during a time of lockdown when there was nothing else for me to do, I didn't want to sit there and sing songs or do Tik Tok dances because that's just not me, sorry *laughs*. Drag kind of, gave me that outlet that I definitely needed. And also, it's given me that new burst of life that I needed because I was starting to feel a bit stale within the work and the audition process of what I was doing. So this is, you know, certainly made my thirties fun. 

Annie [00:35:51] Yeah, good, good. 

Ella [00:35:52] Never expected this. 

Annie [00:35:54] And can I do the really cheesy thing now like they do at the end of Drag Race? I don't have a photo but you know they show you a photo? 

Ella [00:36:00] Oh, yeah. 'What would you say to-'.

Annie [00:36:03] Yeah, but like what would you say to teenage Nick now having done Drag Race and got this life off the back of it, what would you say to teenage Nick? 

Ella [00:36:15] Teenage Nick was so mixed up like he thought he was so strong. Pretty much what I said on the show, I'd just be like, you don't always have to be the strong one. You don't always have to be perfect or strive. You know, striving to be the best is great, but you don't always have to be the best. And show your weakness now and then because people will get to know you quicker *laughs*. 

Annie [00:36:42] And what do your- What do your parents think now of Ella Vaday? 

Ella [00:36:46] They love it. My mum, my mum, Donna, is going through cancer treatment. She's got breast cancer. 

Annie [00:36:52] Oh no, I'm so sorry. 

Ella [00:36:52] No, she's good. She's nearly finished her chemo. And Drag Race really pulled her through it like she got the diagnosis in October, and she got to watch Drag Race to kind of distract her. So she was there at the finale, when I didn't win, anddd *laughter*. It's fine, I didn't want to win anyway *laughter*. And she was there- I basically invited her every week that I won a badge, so she was there four times. 

Annie [00:37:21] Ahh, wow! She brought you luck! 

Ella [00:37:22] I didn't tell her but I think she guessed by the fourth one. 

Annie [00:37:24] Yeah, yeah, right okay. 

Ella [00:37:26] She was like yeah, I think I know. Um... And my dad, yeah, my dad has embraced it as well. I think he was taking something to the post office and he was a bit late and the post office person was like, 'oh, my God, your Ella Vaday's dad. That's fine, come through'. 

Annie [00:37:41] Oh, my God, so he got the VIP treatment! 

Ella [00:37:43] So my dad is getting the VIP treatment as well *laughter*. 

Annie [00:37:46] I absolutely love it! Umm, okay, well, listen, we're going to throw out this to you guys now in case anyone has any questions. First of all, can I just give you a clap, please, Nick, because that was *aplause*. 

Ella [00:37:58] Ahh, thank you so much. 

Annie [00:37:59] Thank you babe. 

Ella [00:38:00] Thank you for having me. 

Annie [00:38:00] Such a nice convo *applause continues*. So, yeah, I like that, big old wolf whistle. So if anyone, and please don't be shy, if anyone has any questions at all, Louise is your gal. 

Audience member 1 [00:38:12] Hello. 

Annie [00:38:12] Hellooo. 

Audience member 1 [00:38:15] Hi. You sort of talked about that you came to drag very differently to a lot of drag queens. And there's a conversation around, 'oh, they're not real drag queens because it isn't in their core'. You know, you kind of found it later in life, I guess, is the way to sort of place it. And I just wondered how you deal with that critique, from your own community really, from some other drag queens and people saying it's not real because of how you came there, which is quite different to a lot of the drag queens that come on the show. 

Ella [00:38:47] Um, I mean, why is there a way to get into drag is my first question? Like, is there an age limit that you're meant to start it at? *Laughter*. Is the fact that I started at 30, 'no sorry you're too old'. Like what is that about? 

Annie [00:39:02] It's drag purists isn't it? 

Ella [00:39:04] Listen, I get so much flack from so many people like, people are not going to like me and that's fine. That happens. You know, I've been to so many castings over the years for musicals that I've not got. Shows, films, TV shows. And I kind of get used to people saying no. So, when someone says, 'well, you're not a drag queen because you started at 32 and that's too old', or like, 'you've done musical theatre, so therefore you're too trained, you're over trained to be a drag queen'. I'm like, whattt? Come on. Like, who's the boss? Like, I'm doing my thing and people like what I do, I think, I hope, and I'm just going to carry on doing it because at the end of the day, I only started doing it because I enjoy doing it and that's what drag should be, in my opinion. An outlet for creativity. And maybe I would have started it earlier, had I had the opportunity to do it or if I felt more comfortable to do it. So yeah, the way of dealing it for me is to just try and brush it off. Easier said than done sometimes. 

Annie [00:40:09] I mean you mentioned before we went out, with some horrible stuff that you get on Twitter and stuff. How do you deal with that stuff? Is there good days and bad days? As you say, you've obviously been trained. That's an actor's job, is to be able to be rejected and get up the next day. So, is that part of it, do you think? 

Ella [00:40:24] Unfortunately, yeah, it is. You're expected to accept these troll comments. You know, like the example I told you where someone just DM'd me and said something like 'disgusting, commit suicide'. I was like, wow, okay. I was just talking about driving, but fine *laughter*. 

Annie [00:40:42] Please, please can you tell them this person's profile details because, it's just that you need the full context. 

Ella [00:40:48] They apparently study law, their trans and they are interested in human rights, human rights law *laughter*. 

Annie [00:40:56] Great. 

Ella [00:40:56] So I'm like, great. Um, but yeah, it's, it's something you have to try and deal with and people try and put out this perception of you which isn't correct, or they forget that you're actually a human and you don't always have- you can't always be like, 'hey, how are you, of course, yes'. You know, because sometimes you have a shit day, you don't know what you've been through. You know, even now I've got so much going on with my family that, you know, you can't expect people to just always be on because at the end of the day, I'm a human just like the person telling me to commit suicide. And just imagine if I wasn't in a happy- 

Annie [00:41:39] In a good place.

Ella [00:41:42] In a good place. Terrible. 

Annie [00:41:42] I mean, but you are, which is wonderful. And I'm saying that, I'm not telling you that, obviously, but you seem to have a very happy relationship and you've got a nice secure, stable background. 

Ella [00:41:51] Yeah, I'm so thankful I do because I don't think I would get through all of these things, all this pressure that I feel. Having done the show, having got to the top with the most wins but not won and then you get all the things of, 'well you didn't win because of this', and it's like, do you know what, Sarah? I don't need your opinion! *laughter*. I don't need your opinion. Didn't ask for it. Didn't like my dress anyway. So go away. So, yeah, so it's just one of those things and I think it's an age thing as well. You know, I'm 33 and a lot of the people that watch the show that do these stupid comments are mainly teenagers and, I just can't be bothered with it. 

Annie [00:42:35] Yeah, fair. 

Ella [00:42:36] Get life. 

Annie [00:42:37] Yeah. Brilliant. Yeah. 

Ella [00:42:38] You know what I mean? You're obsessed with me, and I love it. *laughter*. 

Annie [00:42:41] Ha ha ha ha! Okay, more questions. That was a wonderful question by the way. Thank you for that. 

Ella [00:42:47] Thank you. 

Annie [00:42:47] Erm okay. 

Audience member 2 [00:42:47] Hi. 

Ella [00:42:47] Hiya. 

Audience member 2 [00:42:47] Hello. Erm, we've talked at the beginning about the different types of change and that you had change forced on you and then you've had change that you've embraced and taken the power over, and I just wondered for you, of all the changes throughout your life, which you feel has had the most impact- lasting impact, or where you gained the most strength or through which challenges did you grow the most through? 

Ella [00:43:17] Great question. 

Annie [00:43:18] Fabulous question. Do you wanna swap places? *Laughter*.

Ella [00:43:22] Wow. Um, I think probably the most lasting impact on me would be the stuff that happened when I was young, because it wasn't really my choice, as such. So, again there was a choice, I wanted to go away to college at 16. That was me. I was like, I don't want to do A-levels, I want to be a performer. And I think for me, I've always been so determined as a person to make things happen. Like if I say I'm going to do something and I really want to do it, I will do it. Like I said, I'm going to audition for Drag Race. I did it. I really wanted to do Book of Mormon and I did it. So yeah, I think probably being younger, probably forced me to do certain things I didn't want to do, but also I chose to do things. So, I think essentially that's made me who I am. And I would be so much- so different had I not had that moment in time, I think. And I really was a strong person getting through all that stuff. I don't even know how I got through it sometimes. 

Annie [00:44:31] I can imagine looking back, it's so intense. 

Ella [00:44:33] It's alot to deal with.

Annie [00:44:34] Like, we've had people on the podcast that have changed schools as kids and that's been their entire most big impact change in their life. And you had that along with your parents and moving away to London-

Ella [00:44:49] And sexuality. 

Annie [00:44:48] You're still a child! And sexuality.

Annie [00:44:50] Yeah like, moving away from home, divorce. Yeah, like, there was so much going on and I think we always forget that, you know, anyone that's in the LGBTQ+ community, you forget just how much trauma you go through as a kid, and it kind of just gets brushed off. But, you know, young people and, you know, even into older, you go through so much torment in your brain, which is never really mentioned. And it really is such a horrible time to go through. And you feel so alone. And what I hope is that doing a show like Drag Race would just, I feel like hopefully younger people will now have access to stories that have been through that and realise, actually you're not the only person going through this. 

Annie [00:45:37] Yeah, yeah. 

Ella [00:45:37] Because I didn't have that. 

Annie [00:45:38] Yeah. If you'd been a teenager and you'd been able to see Drag Race and see these queens talking about their childhoods and reflecting stories that, you know, of your life, it might have made you-

Ella [00:45:52] I think it would have. When I was a kid, the only gay people on telly I can think of were just, like, stereotypical gay people. There was no like, real- 

Annie [00:46:06] Like, really overly camp and-

Ella [00:46:07] Yeah, it was just, you know. 

Annie [00:46:09] Yeah. 

Ella [00:46:10] Just overly camp people and that was like, ooh no, I don't want to be like that.  

Annie [00:46:14] Mmm, yeah, there's no nuance. Yeah. 

Ella [00:46:16] Whereas now I think you've seen that, you know, gay people can do everything that everybody does and there's, there's no limit to what a, you know, a queer person can do now. And there wasn't that back then. It was very taboo. 

Annie [00:46:32] Mhm. And I think same with drag, with drag culture as well. It's become so mainstream hasn't it, in the last kind of 20 years. That of course there's always going to be nuances, there's always going to be different subcultures within drag. Which is what makes it even more exciting, yeah. Erm okay.

Audience member 3 [00:46:48] Hello. 

Ella [00:46:49] Hello. 

Audience member 3 [00:46:49] Just want to say thank you, first of all, but I know you mentioned Ella that maybe if you had felt more comfortable as a child, what can we do in day to day life to make kids and adults and just everyone feel a lot more comfortable to be openly themselves? 

Annie [00:47:10] Hmm. Bound religion? *Applause*.

Ella [00:47:12] That would be a great start, yeah. Get the tories out? Um *laughter*. 

Annie [00:47:17] Easy! 

Ella [00:47:21] Um, I think it starts at home. It really does. And I think you've got to- slurs are a terrible thing. And when I was a kid, to call someone a poofter or a shirt lifter or any, all of those other gross things was just commonplace. I think asking a kid if they've got a girlfriend at school is one of the things you forget, 'oh, actually, what if my child is confused already?'. Because I can remember being young and my mum asking me, 'oh, have you got a girlfriend? Have you seen any girls?', and I'm already thinking, ooh, that feels weird. I don't like girls. But didn't want to say it, you know. I think just, just being open and not putting pressure on to young people to assign themselves to a gender or a sexuality. It's such a new world that we live in, I think, where everyone can be openly themselves and you don't even have to decide who you are and I think that's great. What a nicer place we're in. We're not there yet. We've still got the government banning trans conversion therapy, you know, which is awful. So, yeah, there's a lot, a lot of work to do. 

Annie [00:48:35] Yeah, we had Travis Alabanza on the podcast, who was absolutely incredible on all of that gender fluidity and stuff. But talking about the home stuff, like just as a mum, there's so much conditioning that goes on that's kind of part of your own upbringing that you don't even realise until you have kids. And there's this kind of assumption that if someone is a boy or a girl, that they're going to like certain things and behave certain ways and act in a certain way. And, and it's quite when you kind of zoom out and look at how people treat your kids, in my case, because they're boys, it's fascinating. And for instance, my youngest kid, Riley, his favourite colour was pink the entire- his whole life, adored pink, and as soon as he went to school, 'oh, no, boys don't like pink', it's like yes they fucking do like pink! Who's teaching you this?! And it's like, you know, it's out of your control and you can't do anything about it. I actually had a conversation with him today about erm, girls and boys. He's really interested in the girls and the difference between girls and boys and what makes you a girl. And I was like, you don't have to be a girl or a boy. You can be something in the middle. And he was like, really? 

Ella [00:49:42] Well, that's amazing. And that's the way to do it. 

Annie [00:49:44] Yeah. But I think sometimes even as a parent, it's not always in your control because it's the systems as well. So it's, it's hard. 

Ella [00:49:54] Yeah, I've got to say, like growing up, my mum and dad were great because, you know, I wanted to dance. I think my sister was born or something and we got a present each. I wanted a doll. I had like a baby. 

Annie [00:50:06] So you would have been six and you wanted a doll? 

Ella [00:50:08] Something like that yeah. I had a doll. My brother had like a train set or something. Like typical boy stuff. And I always wanted girl stuff. And they just, they were fine with it. But it makes me wonder, as I got older, why didn't they think, 'oh, maybe he could be gay?' *Laughs*.

Annie [00:50:21] Yeah, yeah, yeah. But even we call it girl stuff, and it's just stuff.

Ella [00:50:27] Well yeah exactly, it is just stuff. But I wanted- there was like these cupcake dolls where you folded it up and it looked like a cupcake and it smelt of cupcakes. 

Annie [00:50:34] Amazing. Who wouldn't want that? 

Ella [00:50:35] And I wanted one because Rebecca down the road had one. And I don't think I got one, but I wanted Rebecca's cupcake princess. I didn't get it. 

Annie [00:50:46] Shame. I wonder are they still on sale. Could you get it on eBay now? 

Ella [00:50:49] I bet Rebecca- 

Annie [00:50:50] I wish I could just present it to you now *laughter* as the grand finale of the show. Right, we're going to take one more question, and that is from this gentleman at the front, please, Louise. 

Audience member 4 [00:51:01] Hi Ella, thank you for talking through your changes in life. It was really, really inspiring to hear. Annie I have a question for you. 

Annie [00:51:08] One Irish man to one irish woman. I love it.

Audience member 4 [00:51:10] No, I've been listening for, like a while now. And the first one listened to was Kelis and I listened to Roddy Doyle this morning on the tube. 

Annie [00:51:19] Thank you. 

Audience member 4 [00:51:19] It was both fascinating, like conversations. The concept of Changes, where did this come from and where did this kind of obsession, I suppose, is that too much to call it, of changes come from? 

Annie [00:51:30] I think it came, it came out of a brainstorm and it was kind of floated as an idea. And I think the reason why I gravitated to it immediately, now looking back, is really apparent because I was going into this quite intense period of change for myself, where suddenly everything I'd been doing just felt a little bit claustrophobic and I wanted to kind of break out and try new things and learn new things and have the time and space to do that. So, the idea of doing a podcast about change was, was actually so perfect in terms of timing for me, trying to navigate how I was going to change my career and do the pivot that I've kind of done, I think, to being a writer and more of a podcaster. So it was that, it was kind of, it was a few people talking, thinking about something. I think with podcasting, you want to have a theme that is universal and has real longevity, you know, where you can do so many series and there's never enough time to talk about it and I think change is so good in terms of that theme. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. And having done changes and being on series four now, I have changed my career completely so, I hope that you guys tonight, after leaving, at least 30% of you will start doing drag *laughter* upon leaving. 

Ella [00:53:00] I hope so. Especially if you're over 30. 

Annie [00:53:03] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Ella [00:53:04] It's never too late.

[00:53:07] *Audience member heckles*. 

Ella [00:53:07] 42, go on girl. 

Annie [00:53:07] 42, love it. Love it. But yeah, change is good. Let's all embrace change. Thank you all for listening to the podcast. Thank you for being here and thank you most of all to our incredible guest, Ella Vaday! *Applause*

Ella [00:53:20] Thank you so much, everyone. Thank you, Annie. 

Annie [00:53:26] Well, I loved that. Thank you to everyone who came down. It was so good to see people in real life that listen to this podcast, to see actual faces and to hear those questions that were so considered and well thought through from the audience as well. It was such a buzz. It felt so natural and nice to do that live podcast. And thank you so much to Nick Collier as well, who I thought was just such a brilliant guest, so honest and unafraid of the kind of sad, raw stuff, whilst also being so brilliantly funny and entertaining at the same time. It's a hard line to tread that, and yeah, I thought he was absolutely brilliant. So, we're looking to do more live shows. Keep your ears and eyes peeled for us announcing that in the future, it would always be wonderful to have you along. But next week we have the first of two podcasts that we are broadcasting, up to and around the infamous and legendary, Glastonbury Festival. So we wanted to speak to an artist who was playing at Glastonbury, and it was my perfect time to approach Róisín Murphy, the Irish singer, songwriter, fashionista, absolute cultural icon who I'm such a fan of, and she said yes. So you are going to hear this conversation that we had, next week on the show. Rósín Murphy, the Irish legend on Changes. Changes is produced by Louise Mason through DIN Productions. Thank you so much for listening. Please follow, subscribe to Changes if you haven't already and I will see you next week.