An interview with...
A creation from the mind of Nico Garms a Melbourne & Berlin based drag artist.
Uff is such a unique name, what was it born from?
Well the official story is that the first time I went out in drag I didn't have a name but I looked so stunning that everyone who saw me just went 'Ooooof'(German: 'Uff') and then the name stuck.
What designer should make a dedicated Uff clothing line?
I would love to design my own clothing line - not actually sew it - but conceptualise it.
What has been your most memorable show you’ve performed… the show where you walked off the stage and were in ecstasy from nailing the performance?
I love that feeling and ever since I've stopped drinking it's more intense than ever! I'm always pushing myself to make every show memorable and add something unique to it, so it's hard to choose one. One of my career highlights was performing in West Hollywood at Mickie's and being booked by a popular RuGirl.
But my most memorable show for me personally is my performance of 'Ashes' by Celine Dion at Burning Seed at the Scratch Cabaret. It was really emotional and I was shaking throughout the performance because it was so sad and upsetting, that it was one of the last nights at Bruning Seed and the night of the temple burn. After the show one of my friends came up to me and told me she cried during the performance, which is probably the biggest compliment you can get as an artist. Also random fun fact I believe my corset broke during that performance but that’s a different story.
What brand should sponsor Uff?
Boy Butter! My plan is to do an act soon which is inspired by Dita Von Teese's Champagne Glasses just that I’d be in a giant Boy Butter Cup covered in margarine (not butter cause I’m vegan).
At what point in your life did you start to build an interest in drag?
My whole life I've been drawn to everything feminine. Every time I dressed up for carnival it was almost always as a female character. When my former best girlfriend and I were kids we would always play as girls and dress up. So I think I was always doing drag before I even knew what drag is. It wasn't until I watched RuPaul's Drag Race that I got to know drag as a diverse art form. Before that I only knew of pretty much only old school transvestites that did comedy and karaoke-style singing performances. So through Drag Race I got to know about queens that are more high fashion and fierce and I was able to relate to them.
If you were stranded on a desert island and only had one wig and costume with you… what would they be?
First of all - how dare you make me think about abandoning most of my wigs – they are like my babies.
But I do have a favourite cause I’m a horrible mother, the wig of my choice would be the human hair wig that I'm getting for my birthday this year and outfit wise probably my full body black latex bodysuit or maybe how about just a corset. Yes I could absolutely see myself on a deserted island in a human hair wig and just a corset, we’ll go with that.
What area did you grow up in and do you draw inspiration from this cultural heritage?
I grew up in a very small and rural village in Germany. I never really felt accepted and home there so I don't really draw a lot of inspiration from it. Also for me being German it’s a cakewalk to draw cultural references. German 'culture' to me is just overshadowed by its Nazi past. I mostly distance myself therefor from anything German. I can relate to the past and being patriotic and embracing things from it seems so wrong to me.
If Uff was a super hero, what powers would she have?
I already consider myself a superhero because I am the Daddy Magnet™.
Having lived in Europe and Australia do you find major difference between the two drag scenes?
I'm almost ashamed to admit, that I still need to do a good deep dive into the German and European drag scene(s). As of now I've performed more shows in Australia and the US than in Europe. But my feeling is that there are quite big differences within Europe. Austrian Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst is quite popular here and we have another German queen that has been in the media forever. We also have a mainstream drag reality TV show. In the media drag might be more mainstream in Germany than it is in Australia but regarding how many people actually do drag and how many drag bars and events are taking place, I fully believe Germany is behind Australia.
Berlin is definitely a hotspot and so are Hamburg and Cologne. Besides that I don't think there is much drag happening but I could also be wrong. Overall my feeling was that most queens are primarily DJs and not performers. But there’s definitely also a small, rougher (not in a bad way) drag scene in Berlin with lots of international artists.
What fictional character would be Uff’s ideal date to walk down the red carpet with?
Santa Claus - cause he's the ultimate daddy.
Why is art important for you?
The aspect I like most about myself and what I consider my biggest strengths is my creativity. Art is my vehicle to express my creativity and my femininity. Growing up I was always bullied and shamed for being gay and feminine but art gives me back the power to embrace those sides of me and own it.
Check out Uff online!
1-6. Mr Leonard of Collins Street / Hollywood
7. LOUV / @louvmeplease