‘When my father realized it wasn’t a phase, he didn’t like it anymore’

‘When my father realized it wasn’t a phase, he didn’t like it anymore’

Diva Mayday (she keeps her age secret) is a drag queen. He acts as a presenter, host and DJ. On Sunday he will host Drag Fest Amsterdam, an international festival that takes place at the Melkweg.

Peter van Brummelen


“I was born in OLVG, but I spent most of my childhood in Muiden. My father was in yacht building, my mother in music. As a child I played on De Groene Draeck, Princess Beatrix’s private yacht. Several times even. Until someone said, “Do you know whose ship this is?” I had no idea.”

“I liked to be the center of attention since childhood. In kindergarten, when I was 4 years old, I already dressed up. Many boys wanted to be a cowboy, but I thought it was boring: put on a cowboy hat and you’re done. By dressing like woman, I became a completely different person, I thought that was interesting even then. And you attracted a lot of attention with it.”

A Little Gameplay Session

“My mother worked in a record store in the PC Hooftstraat and always came home with the latest LPs. Around my 8th birthday she brought a record of Dolly Parton. I was immediately mesmerized. Everything grew on her. Those nails ! That haircut! Those breasts! Those heels! For years I imitated her. In the A Little Gameplay Session i did dolly parton’s songDo I Ever Cross Your Mind’. Everyone loved it, a little boy impersonating a woman. There was something innocent about it, even my father didn’t think it was a problem at the time.

“Once he realized it wasn’t a phase, he didn’t like it anymore. He made me go to football, which of course didn’t work. He didn’t even know I was gay at the time, that came later. We had a difficult relationship, he never accepted me for who I was. If I was in the newspaper or on TV, he didn’t want to hear about it.”


“I was born there for the second time, September 7, 1989, the evening the business opened. RoXY was already open earlier, also of a naive nature, but that was more for artistic people, Rietveld types. Everything and everyone came to iT. It was a gay nightclub, but everything went crazy.”

“Gay and straight. Celebrities and ordinary people. The Chippendales, Grace Jones, Ajax players and Gloria Estefan mingled with the audience. No one felt better than anyone else. Everyone did what they wanted. That was still possible then. Now with those cell phones that everyone takes pictures with all the time, it’s very different. At that time there was no type like Yvonne Coldeweijer. I can long for the freedom and unity of the past. Social media is so messed up.”

drag queen

“Is it something more than a suitor? A man dressed as a woman is a man. What many people don’t know is that they also include people of the opposite sex – when the wife and children are away, they wear clothes. Drag queens are like show girls. They have flair, they’re flamboyant, it’s all very showy. Drag queens often cheat, yes, me too, but it doesn’t get too bad.”

“Sometimes you make fun, but that’s funny. I’m a professional drag queen, I’ve made it my job. How often do I perform? As little as possible haha. I’m getting old and tired fast. I’m busy now and I sing at least three times or four a week. But once a week is fine. Luckily I’m not materialistic. As long as I can pay my rent and my gas and electricity.”

At night

“I hate daylight, I really am a vampire. I was last week Coffee time, then I had to do my makeup at 07:00. That’s usually when I go to sleep. So that was hell. Daylight is very bright and makes everything clear. At night there is still something to hide and guess.”

“At night you can explore. People are nicer at night, you have a different conversation with them. Which also has to do with alcohol, of course. I’m not saying that everyone should be a drunk, but with alcohol people are freer, freer. I like that.”


“I’ve been doing it for almost 35 years now, so I got into it very quickly. If I have to, I can go from man to woman in half an hour, but I only count one hour. First shower and shave, then make-up, hair, nails, eyelashes. I squeeze myself on the corset and then the clothes come.”

“There are also those who spend four hours, but I think that is a waste of my time. Going back from female to male took me 4 more minutes. People ask me if I would rather be a woman. Well, a woman like Connie Breukhoven, I think she’s great. But usually women don’t look like that at all. Women only wear jeans, sneakers, shirts. I don’t like that. I like to promote.”


“Now I have to be careful what I say, because this is very sensitive to the younger generation. I belong to the generation that thinks everything is better. If you want to identify as a subversive, fine, you have my blessing. And I also really believe that some people are non-binary , but they’re really shoved down your throat. I’m afraid that people will hate that, which will make it work against LGBTQ people. ‘Kuku ana’, I can imagine that people have to get used to that.”

Frans Banninck Cocq Medal

“Last year at the Pride reception it was a complete surprise. I was having a nice drink at the bar when the mayor came on stage. He will give the opening statement, I thought, but he called me. And then I got the award, it’s amazing. I knew Frans Banninck Cocqpenning and therefore I knew how unique it is. I earned it for my contribution to the LGBTQ community. I’ve always been looking for connection.”

“When I started, the gay scene in Amsterdam was completely divided. Old people there, young people there, Dutch music fans there, kinky types there… I wanted to represent everyone, but I also wanted to bridge the gap between the gays and the same area for one. When I came to live here, my Moroccan neighbors didn’t understand me. “Sir, are you a woman forever?” And: “Are you gay?” They had to get used to it, but they accepted me. One is a potter, the other is a drag queen, who cares ?”


“Yes, unfortunately it has increased. It usually remains with name calling, sometimes there is violence. The worst thing I’ve experienced is being threatened with a gun. Nota bene in Reguliersdwarsstraat. If you walk through the New West in a dress in the middle of the night, of course you are afraid, but in our own street?! At first I thought it was a toy or something, but it was a real gun. I later heard from the police, who quickly arrested the men, that it was also a loaded gun. Then I broke, that was it confused. The next day I immediately returned to Reguliersdwars, I didn’t want to be afraid of where it happened.”

“Swearing is usually done by boys in groups. It is stubbornness. “Hey gay!” then someone calls. Then I wave and say, “Hi.” I’m not trying to stress about it. But I have also been called names by a supermarket worker and then I got really angry. “I just shop here, contribute to your salary. I’m not bothering anyone, why are you bothering me?” It’s usually cold in a taxi. But you have to know what kind of driver you have. Sometimes such a person just finds it scary, a person like me in his car. Straight people are always afraid that gays touch their asses.”

LL Cool J

“I met him for the first time in 1997, backstage at the MTV Awards in Rotterdam. I was invited by Skin, the singer of Skunk Anansie. It seems like a name drop, but he’s my friend. Everyone was there: Backstreet Boys, Björk, the Spice Girls… And so LL Cool J. I was dating Howie from the Backstreet Boys, the little guy – so cute. I could tell LL was looking at me, but I wasn’t sure if he was looking like that because he thought I was a freak or because he loved me. He attracted me, like when he approached me.”

“Nothing happened that evening, but a few years later he came back to Holland and we had an exciting experience. And it didn’t end with that one time – he was here for a few months. A very nice, sweet person. At least in the house. He works very hard outside. No , it hasn’t been a solid relationship. It was fun, but he also has a wife and four kids.”


“I’m Módderfat. Unfortunately, I posted pictures of my early days as a drag queen on Instagram this week. Look: 100 years ago on the red carpet. So thin, good. But I always had a tendency to get fat. I used to play too much, also as a big girl, now I can hardly move. During the corona epidemic, things went completely wrong. I just lay on the bed, I gained 20 kg, it’s not normal. The belly band is not for me, because then you can’t drink anymore. I it’s not a form of exercise either. I recently took an Artis subscription. The idea is to go around in circles.”
Drag Fest AmsterdamMelkweg, Sunday afternoon 4:00 PM.