Originally from Turin in Italy, Kokaine Tyson is an exclusive performer and host for Egg LDN’s annual Gold Diggers party happening on Saturday May 5th and their bi-monthly Berlin Berlin events. We catch up with Kokaine ahead of the daytime Gold Diggers gathering to get the lowdown on how she started out, her inspirations and what makes a good performer.
How would you describe what you do and is there such a thing as a regular day at the office for you in terms of what you do?
Certainly much more fun than just a day at the office - lol :-) As well as performing I’ve always had a real job, especially when I lived in Italy a few years ago.
With incredible heels, catholic and gothic imagery coming into play, where do you get your inspirations from?
I'm caught in a golden age of Marilyn Manson, always listening to his music so he’s played an important role as a source of inspiration. As well as this I come from Turin, a part of Italy where the "dark side" is very present…from the architecture to the history of the city and the area, which has always been part of me. This attraction to everything Gothic, dark, vampire and even extreme is in me especially if we talk about shoes with 50cm heels.
Where and when did you start performing and why does dressing provocatively and performing hold such allure for you and for an audience?
I started with performing with my ex-boyfriend over 12 years ago and our characters were ambiguous, androgynous and identical in look. Our show was provocative and decidedly innovative in the Italian "drag queen" field. The Italian public were not used to this kind of show and were, in turn, fascinated and intrigued. We weren’t men dressed as women or even men dressed as men…
Sum up what makes a good host?
There are many different features to being a good host, depending on the type of party and the show etc... I have had different roles in the various clubs (host, door selector, dancer, MC etc) but the most important thing is the impact one has on people, the attention to detail and a strong enough image to be remembered because as someone said: 'Nothing is more successful than excess'.
Image credit: @kokaine.tyson
I understand you created Kokaine Tyson in the clubs in Italy and can you tell us about your experiences there - where you started and what clubs you worked with?
I started working in rock and metal music clubs, in particular, ‘Supermarket’ in Turin and then in several other venues in northern Italy, generally gay parties, but also in many straight clubs.
In Italy it’s very different from here, the clubs are established as a party setting, and even the level of performers have a very "classic" image with retro shows etc. Only in house clubs, the performers take on aspects a little more avant-garde and experimental with new looks.
When I started to work alone I changed the look of my character including taking inspiration from how an American woman stares, (Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears etc). I created a new character which was different once again from the Italian drag scene. Now, these style of performers are called "fishy" but I was told then that I was not a drag star only a trans because I didn’t have an allegorical image of the woman but was much more real. I’ve always been proud to hear myself described as say trans rather than resembling a clown.
You create your own outfits and where did you learn to be so creative - any professional training or did you work with any designers?
I’ve always worked as a hairdresser and make-up artist and have always created all of my wigs and my particular looks which I was obsessed with!
I studied at art school which directed me towards research and experimentation and which I then applied to makeup, wigs and costumes.
They’re obviously not costumes worthy of a tailor - indeed many times not even sewn but only glued and made with techniques learned while listening to tutorials on youtube! I’ve always thought that whoever does this job and has this passion should create their own character alone, otherwise you can become no more than dummies who wear wonderful clothes, wigs, etc. created by professionals.
You're an exclusive host for Egg LDN's Berlin Berlin and Gold Diggers events, and what makes these parties so attractive to work with and special?
I think that Berlin Berlin is the right compromise between provocation and modesty, where every person can express their being in a place where no one points the finger at you. It’s a party where everything has the right feeling and I can say that it's not the usual kind of party where you can already imagine what you’ll find before entering.
Image credit: @kokaine.tyson
How did you come up with your unusual name?
When I started working in clubs alone with my new look I didn’t want a classic drag queen name where the association of the name and surname created a single word, which was very popular among the Italian drag queen scene. I wanted something that had an impact and was unexpected, easy to remember, known but not trivial.
Lastly! What are you looking forward to at Gold Diggers on May 5th at EGG LDN?
Lots of drinks, tickets - haha! I’m joking. I expect a great atmosphere, good music and lots of smiling people who want to spend an afternoon enjoying life and having fun.
Hosted by Laurence Malice and Rosemary Turner, Kokaine Tyson heads up the performers and hosts at Gold Diggers: Egg LDN 15th Birthday Edition from 2 pm onwards.
Join in the fun for free by adding your name to the guest list here
For the full event details click here