Queen of comedy
Cookie MonStar – queen of comedy and improvisation who can rap and sing whilst doing a handstand! – has entertained audiences worldwide and was a star of Islington’s Word Festival 2018. We talk to her about books, reading and the emotional side of her show.
Where did the idea for Drag Queen Story Time come from?
It all started in the USA as a way of promoting diversity. It speaks to children who will either be more accepting of differences in others or realise that it’s fine for themselves to be different or to be in non-traditional families. Tom, who runs Drag Queen Story Time in Britain, saw it in America and brought it over to his home city of Bristol and they’re performed all over now.
Have you always been into reading and what got you into it in the first place?
I grew up in a small village where there wasn’t a great deal to do, so reading was always at the centre of my life. My mum and dad were both teachers and understood the important role parents play in encouraging their children to read. They read to me at bedtime but I used to love acting out the stories I heard! I loved adventure stories such as the books of Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl and dad had a collection of Just William books.
What’s your favourite children’s book and adult book?
It has to be Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Any book which enabled me to imagine myself in the story and to identify with the characters. Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series did the same. I could imagine myself living in Anna Madrigal’s house in San Francisco.
What is the funniest thing that has happened during one of your story time events?
Because children and parents have almost always been so accepting of the show, my stand-out moments tend to be a little more emotionally touching than funny. I remember a girl in a school I went to who was reluctant to let me leave and she made a paper plate covered in glitter for me as a present. An adult did once say to me “I wish this type of show had been around when I was young”.
Photo credit: Lauren Matthews for All Change