On this week’s episode of Growing Bolder, our host Linda Robson catches up with award-winning comedian and drag queen, Charlie Hides. You might know Charlie from their stint on the hit US reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race, when in 2017 at the age of 52, they became the oldest contestant ever to be invited on the show. But as Linda learns, this amazing achievement is just one highlight in a glittering career with no signs of slowing down any time soon!
Charlie started off as a stand-up comedian back in the 90s, performing in comedy clubs across their home state, Massachusetts, with acts that involved a host of different characters. When they noticed that their drag character got the most love and laughter, Charlie leaned into the world of drag and hasn’t looked back.
On their time on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Charlie has happy memories of meeting idols like Lady Gaga and looking fabulous doing it – as well as a sense of pride for being the oldest performer on the show to date. “I was competing against people who were 21, 22, 23 years old, and I was 52, so I was really flattered just to be part of it.”
From gracing our screens on Drag Race, to garnering celebrity fans like Cher with their YouTube parodies and impressions, Charlie has certainly had an interesting journey to stardom. When asked about the highlight of their career Charlie struggled to pick just one moment - but forming a friendship with Kylie Minogue while on tour in Australia was a memory that stood out! “Opening night [of the tour], Kylie Minogue wanted to come but... she was doing a private show at the Beresford down the road. She basically invited me to come after my show was done, and she delayed the opening of her show until I could arrive.” Kylie later cameoed on The Charlie Hides Show, the pilot that earned Charlie a Royal Television Society Award.
Today, Charlie is keeping busy throughout the pandemic with Zoom appearances and performances, and an online version of their wildly successful Drag Queen Bingo. At 57, Charlie knows that while society favours youth, that’s not something that should hold anyone back. “I never think of my age until people bring it up, but I do know there are huge advantages to being older,” Charlie says. “I just think of it as having a lot more experience.”
To hear the full episode, find us on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. You can also click here for more information about how to listen. Don’t forget to tune in to Growing Bolder next week for Episode 3, when Linda will be joined by the inspiring Frank Rothwell, who rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to raise £1million for Alzheimer’s Research UK.