FAULT Magazine Exclusive Cover shoot and interview with Black Peppa

Black Peppa X FAULT Magazine

Black look – Atsuko Kudo 
Boots – Pleaser 

Photography: Jack Alexander

Make-Up: Black Peppa

Wigs: Styled By Vodka 

Retoucher – Itar Pas

Editor-In-Chief & Words: Miles Holder

Season 4 of  RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is in full swing and the ever FAULTLess ‘Black Peppa’ is already getting everybody talking. While her ability to serve looks first caught our attention, Black Peppa’s references to Black history and previous explorations into Black futurism continues to hold it. We caught up with Black Peppa to discuss the show, her inspiration and of course, her FAULTs. 

What inspired you to apply for Drag Race UK?

Black Peppa: I wanted to have a platform to reach a bigger audience. I’ve always been a creative person and had a following, and I felt like being on the show would allow me to reach even more people. I wanted to inspire people and I think I have such an important story to tell. People who have seen me perform wouldn’t know my story. I want to be a beaming example most of all. And I love attention!

What do you think sets you apart from the other queens on Season 4?

Black Peppa: I think my background. I’m from a Caribbean background and I my approach to things is different to people I see from a European country and people from in the UK. So that in itself sets me apart because my outlook is so different.

black peppa RuPaul's Drag Race UK
Black look – Atsuko Kudo 
Boots – Pleaser 

You won both challenges in week 1 – what has the public reaction been?

Black Peppa: It’s been really positive, really really nice. I’m so thankful for having such a great response all around the world. Queens from past seasons both in the USA and internationally have reached out and sent me really lovely messages. Mo Heart sent me some beautiful messages. I just feel really loved, feel the support and love and feel my voice is being heard.

You set the bar high – what can we expect from Black Peppa for the rest of the season?

Black Peppa: You will see there is such a big fight in me. It has to do with the way I was raised, I always fought for what I wanted. Even being in this country, I fought to get here and study. As the series goes on – you will see the fight. I may not be the best in certain challenges but there’s no way in hell I’m not putting my best foot forward.

How impactful has your upbringing in Birmingham been to the artist you are today?

Black Peppa: The scene in Birmingham is so diverse, and everyone has their own niche and unique style. That’s what allowed me to dig deep and work out who I am as an artist, what can I offer and what is it that is different about myself. Also, everyone is very unapologetic, everyone has that raw energy, doing what they want and expressing how they feel. That’s what really helped me to be fearless and use that as a strength. I love that aspect of Birmingham drag.

There’s a lot of work and money that goes into doing what you do, what do you do on those moments when life isn’t going to plan. What keeps you motivated to not give up?

Black Peppa: There can be a lot of money that goes into what I do, drag is very expensive! However, I never let money get in the way of my creativity. Money is important but it’s not everything. I try to look at ways to manoeuvre around that. My creativity keeps me motivated and drag makes me happy, so I will always think of ways around it. Also having positive people around me helps me stay focused. I’m surrounded by amazing people who encourage me. Sometimes when I’m having a bad day, I’ll communicate and vent with them, and they’ll be like ‘you got this’. I love clearing my mind by going for very long walks.

What’s something not enough people are discussing that you want to highlight?

Black Peppa: Watch the show, things are gonna come up that people wouldn’t expect. Fasten your seatbelts. There’s a lot of issues that are gonna be discussed that are very important. Just wait for them!

As a performer who is expected to always be on when in the public eye, do you still find moments to recenter and reconnect with you – or is your profession life too full-on to afford the comfort?

Black Peppa: Now the show is on my life is very full on. But before the show I always tried to find moments to relax, go for walks, watch films with my partner, and find ways of not being sucked in the whole hype of drag. At the end of the day my life doesn’t revolve around drag to the point where I’m going to put my happiness on my line. I want to make sure that I have sanity, my brain is centred and I don’t lose myself too much. I think it’s really important to find activities like yoga, exercising, going to gym, having a phone call with a good friend. And then get back to work.

It’s Black History Month, can you describe what ‘Black History Month’ means to you’?

Black Peppa: Black History Month is not just a month to me, it’s my whole life. I’ve been going through it since I was born and my parents warned me about issues I would have to face when I was growing up. It’s more than just a month thing. If you want to understand more, take a look at my Instagram. I’m very vocal about the issues in the black community, through my posts and stories. I’m unapologetically black. There are many issues that are still happening that we need to bring attention to I think it’s very important that we highlight them because sometimes I feel like I have friends who are scared to talk about it, but you won’t be able to diminish the issues if you’re not vocal about them. It’s not a matter of being political it’s a matter of using your voice. Being Queer is political. Being a person of colour who is Queer is political. It’s very important I use my voice as a Queer person of colour to educate. It’s also important that people educate themselves.

On the show you will see how much I highlight influences in black culture, I want to uplift and celebrate my blackness. I’m sure Baby will agree with me, that it’s something we both want to do on the show. We want to show the influences in our culture and how we make them beautiful. That to me is very important. The way we dress, the hair texture that we have, everything that we do in our culture, we want to celebrate and uplift.

A lot of things that we were ashamed about growing up I’ve turned on their head and now its celebratory. I wear braids as a performer, I don’t wear human wigs over and over again, because I want to celebrate something that I was teased about. That’s my blackness and I will always show that.

What moments from black history are resonating with you most at the moment?

Black Peppa: I think about the ballroom culture and how persons of colour used that as an escape. That was their safe space. There was so much discrimination and people couldn’t get employed. That is something I think about a lot, it must have been so difficult to have been alive at that time. I also think about Marsha P Johnson who was such a big activist , was so influential and paved the way for a lot of people. The black trans lives that were lost that no light was shone on. A lot of these lives were taken with no news coverage, and just knowing that it happened and nothing was done, I think about that a lot.

What is your FAULT?

Black Peppa: If I had to chose it’s being a perfectionist, everyone knows that who knows me! It comes with pros and cons, I can be a bit stubborn because I want things to go my way. I can be really hard on myself, but it has got me this far!