A loving mother has taken supporting her teenage drag queen son to the next level – by transforming with him.
Claire Elliott, 49, enjoys letting her son, Matti, 17, practise make-up techniques on her so that he can hone his skills- in the hope of one day becoming a professional.
Claire says that her teen was into women’s clothes from a young age – as he was obsessed with Disney princess dresses and would always choose the dressing up box over other toys.
The mum-of-two now regularly enjoys throwing herself into the world of drag alongside her boy.
Claire, who runs a dog boarding house from her home in Cranleigh, Surrey, said: ”I actually love it, it’s so much fun!
”It’s a great time to bond too and we have such a laugh doing it.
”Most of the time Matti wants to practise on himself but there will be those occasions when he needs a new canvas… and I’m more than happy to oblige.
”Any time I’ve got a spare few hours or even if his mates are over he’ll make us sit down to get our make-up done.
”He’s getting really good at it now and it’s such a fun world to be in.
”He’s got a bit of a unique selling point too as most drag queens mime their songs but he’s a trained singer and so won’t have to.
”I always knew that he was special and so we weren’t at all shocked when he said he wanted to be a drag queen.
”We’re both obsessed with Ru-Paul’s Drag Race on TV and I think watching it gave Matti the extra confidence boost he needed to go for it.
”He’s been doing it for a year now and loves, he wants to do it for a job.”
Matti – whose drag queen name is Amber Lynne, a take on Henry VIII’s second wife – now regularly performs with The United Shapes of Drag group in The Apple Tree pub, Clerkenwell, London.
The college student has been performing professionally as Amber Lynne for a year since officially starting in September 2019.
The teen – who is currently studying song writing at the Academy of Contemporary Music, in Guilford, Surrey – is through to the finals of drag pageant, Miss Drag UK.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic the pageant has been postponed until next year, 2021, but Claire says Matti has taken this knockback in his stride and it will give him ‘even more time to polish up each outfit!’.
The contest will raise money for two charities: mental health charity, Mind UK and Abigail’s Footsteps, a child bereavement charity.
Matti said: ”It’s just feels normal to me to have such a supportive mum, but I do realise how lucky I am.
”She’s always just allowed me to go down my own path, as long as she can make sure I’m safe, she’s happy.
”She’s always been so helpful.
”It must have been obvious to her that I’d end up being into drag as I was always obsessed with princesses and Barbies as a kid.
”This was while my brother was playing with his Transformers.
”Becoming a drag queen is not an easy thing to figure out, there’s lots to it, and so we’ve been figuring it out together really.”
Mum Claire added: ”We are so proud of him and all that he’s achieved.
”I know that he might come across negativity out in the world, he already has, so I really feel it’s my job to make home as lovely as possible and somewhere he can feel 100 per cent supported.
”I am his number one cheerleader!
”I love going out to events with him , the drag community is so friendly.
”The older queens are so protective of the younger ones, it really is amazing to see.
”The whole family is the same, we cannot support him enough and are so happy to see him doing so well.
”School was hard at times, as it will be when you’re young and doing anything alternative, but Matti had great people around him.
”He was even brave enough to go to prom in drag, luckily he was supported by all his friends and teachers.”
Mattie learned to sew in GCSE textiles which has been key for his drag career as he is able to save money by creating his own costumes.
He explained: ”I was so lucky as I had a really supportive teacher and she said I’d have to take textiles if I was serious about drag, so I did!
”I can easily knock up a quick leotard or whatever now, but for the more special costumes I go to to a fabulous designer on Etsy who makes amazing gowns.
”The one I got for the final cost £200 which mum helped me out with the money for.
”But it’s so worth it… I can’t give too much away before the big day but let’s just say it’s very glamorous and very draggy.
”I’ve improved so much since I first dabbled with it at 13.
”I used to love watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race and basically tried my first proper drag after just seeing one episode.
”I’ve honestly never looked back, it was like everything suddenly made sense. It’s such a vital show.
”It definitely used to feel very much like something that society wouldn’t be happy with and before watching, I didn’t have any idols or role models to aspire to.”
The student, who is currently single, says that finding love ‘might be hard’ due to his dual persona.
He admitted: ”I am very very single!
”It’s going to be quite hard to find someone that can put up with me and Amber too.
”But I’m really focusing on myself at the moment anyway so doubt I’d have time for romance.
”People always ask how I came up with my drag name, Amber Lynne, and it really did come during a bit of a light bulb moment.
”I’ve always had a bit of a gruesome obsession with that part of history and thought that Anne Boleyn seemed very cool and glam.
”She was also one of the first really strong women to go down in history.
”She was glam yet gruesome and that really is my vibe!”
Despite being keen for a career in drag, at only 17-years-old, sensible Matti is in no rush.
He said: ”At the moment I’m taking one step at a time.
”I would really love to win Drag UK this year, I just want to get my name out there.
”Things will be easier when I hit 18 anyway.
”I always say that I feel like Amber Lynne is a painting that I’ve been working on for five years.. and that it’s finally ready.”