RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Ella Vaday has unveiled a fitness project with a twist as her next career move, calling it unlike anything a drag queen has done before – “let alone someone from the LGBTQ+ community”.
The East London queen, whose out-of-drag name is Nick Collier, rose to fame after competing on season three of Drag Race UK and making it all the way to the final with Kitty Scott-Claus, before being beaten to the crown by Krystal Versace.
After leaving RuPaul’s Drag Race – UK or otherwise – a lot of drag queens tend to release albums, go on tour or ramp up their live show game, to the delight of their fans. However, Ella Vaday has opted for something a bit different.
Speaking to his fans on Instagram, Collier announced that he and his drag queen persona Ella are both set to share the spotlight as they front a brand new fitness website.
Yes, Ella Vaday will be providing fitness content as their drag queen character, along with their true out-of-drag self, Nick. He is using both sides of his identity to launch a fitness web programme, Fitti. It will offer two separate exercise plans – one by Collier and the other by Ella Vaday – and it aims to make working out fun.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Collier said: “Obviously I do drag, most people know me as a drag queen, but I live most of my life mainly as Nick. So, it’s really exciting.”
He explained why the upcoming Fitti website means so much to him (and, by extension, Ella). “Exercise and health has become such a massive part of my life.
“I started taking my health really, really seriously around Christmas time after a really hectic schedule last year.
“So, I’m just really excited to bring this to everyone. It’s really unique, there’s nothing like it. I don’t think a drag queen has ever done anything like this, let alone someone from the LGBTQ+ community.”
Collier wants Fitti to really focus on the fun that can be found in exercise – “It’s going to be like having a great party, not really realising you’re exercising, but without the hangover.”
The drag queen has spoken regularly about their love of fitness over the years. In a 2022 interview, he shared that fitness was very important to him, but noted that pressure to look a certain way can sometimes steal a person’s joy during exercise.
Collier told GQ he started getting fitter in order to play lead roles on the West End, influenced by a fellow cast member who said: “If I didn’t look the way I look, I wouldn’t be playing this role.”
Collier started taking exercise seriously and lifting heavy from there, and as soon as he started to see progress physically, he started to get more work opportunities in theatre. Unfortunately, he added that looks were a big part of the casting process, and that it was easier for straight guys to get casted.
He also added that being a drag queen comes with fitness limitations. When he’s on tour as Ella Vaday, there’s not much time to get to the gym. Certain exercises are also surprisingly unsafe to mesh with drag performances.
“I try to avoid legs, especially around performing as Ella because I’m in heels so having bambi legs post-workout is actually a bit dangerous. I hate doing legs anyway though. Squats and lunges make me feel really sick,” he told GQ.
Collier also had some issues blending drag and exercise while creating Fitti, and found that working out as Ella (and instructing too) had its challenges.
“I’ve got to say, obviously I wouldn’t recommend wearing a corset to do sit ups in … but it is possible,” Collier continued. “In the workouts I am literally doing sit ups and side planks in a corset, in all of my tights, in a wig. I mean, that’s why it’s fun to watch.
“You really do feel like you are working out with me because it’s not easy. It’s such a great workout. We obviously filmed all of the content and the drag stuff in one day, so I had to go through about six, seven, eight, I don’t know how many exercises.
“It’s really tough, but it’s so much fun at the same time. I never envisaged that I would be holding a plank dressed in sparkly leotard with a big wig. It’s very funny.”
Ella Vaday’s Fitti fitness programme launches on Monday 18 September.
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