A Darker Shade of Vogue:
Streets talks to social media sensation Kelsey Ellison about her glass eye, apparently unknown status as a LGBTQ+ icon and acting career, post-Voguing Hermione.
Photographer: Carlos Lumiere
Fashion Editor & Words: Dan Blake
Interview: Gurdit Singh
Grooming: Kristina Pavlov
A few years back I stumbled upon dancing cos-play actor @Kelsey_Ellison on insta scroll, who had me transfixed at first glance; wand in hand she whipped up a frenzy as she vogued at Pride London. The finale was a death drop (aka ‘dip’) that Ru Paul herself would awarded with a standing ovation!
Two years on and Kelsey has other projects on the boil. Her new adaption of the book ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’ sees her play the gothic character Lila Bard. Streets wanted to know more:
Welcome to Streets Magazine were so glad to have you!
I’m very very excited to see what you put out I had a great time getting dressed up and being a model for the day.
You’re something of a social media phenomenon, most of us have seen your dancing Hermione, 3.5m views, did you ever expect to blow up like that?
I did not expect Hermione to blow up, it was never planned! I went to comic con dressed as Hermione, I go every year and dance and have fun with my friends. i’ve been such a big potter fan for many years. But I’m glad it was that video that blew up because I was having the best time and it was a great time in my life.
Talking about social media, your instagram bio ‘one eye, one thousand possibilities’, tell us more?
It basically telling all my followers I have one eye but I can do 1000 things and maybe more. I love trying out new things, travelling to new places and its never stopped me and it never will! When I was 2 years old I had surgery to remove my eye because I had Retinoblastoma which was a cancer and to remove it they had to remove my eye.
We did a bit of insta stalking so you dance, you sing and you act, is there anything you’d like to tell us about that, maybe a new role you’re playing? So your next role also playing a character with a glass eye?
I do dance sing and act, I do musical theatre, I trained in musical theatre. Ive been doing it since I was a little kid. Even though I’m slightly introverted, that brings out my extroverted side. I’ve been doing a few commercials which I can’t tell you about right now! Im also working on my own independent with an amazing group of queer people. Were bringing a book series to life called ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’. One of the main characters, Lila Bard also has a glass eye in the same eye as me! We really wanted to come together and bring these characters to life and do it with an all inclusive cast! I’d like to see more inclusion and representation in casting in the industry. So its great me with my glass eye can play a character with a glass eye.
How do you think your following will react after having such success with Sisters of House Black?
I never know how my following will react, I have a really amazing following who are so supportive with everything I do. Its always nerve-wrecking stepping out of the ‘comfort zone’. I’ve tried so many different things so my followers come for all different reasons. I’m very excited to show them all my project. We have stepped up from SOHB so I’m very excited to share.
Talking about your followers, you’ve become quite the icon in the LGBTQ+ community, how did that come about, do you think the voguing have an influence?
I did not know I was an LGBTQ+ icon, I guess it is the voguing, I am a huge fan and have been following ballroom scenes since before 2016. I’m also very vocal about my queerness on all my socials.
Not just iconic in the community but you also play some pretty iconic characters, what’s next for you in 2021?
In 2021 I don’t know what will happen. Everything is up in the air at the moment with the current situation. But even without that when your acting you don’t know what is around the corner. But whatever it is, I will make sure its iconic.
I know you love to travel. Is there particular you’d love to visit?
I absolutely love travelling, I love seeing different parts of the world, I would love to visit Switzerland, Iceland, I’ve not really travelled to the north of the world. I also loved south America I’ve been to Mexico and Columbia, I would love to explore south America more,..oh and India!
Your Yorkshire accent is pretty strong, if you had to choose a Yorkshire cottage or London townhouse?
Im from Barnsley but I’ve lived in London for a long time now. I can never decide, I think I would have both. For now a London townhouse but when I ‘retire’ i’d love to have a farm in Yorkshire with alpacas and dogs. And have an alpaca farm shop and cafe and enjoy actual fresh air.
If you could be cast in any movie, which would it be?
It would be obviously ‘The Darkest Shade of Magic’. I wanna play Lila Bard I’m just gone say it!
We’ve seen you do some karaoke but what is favourite song to sing?
I do the whole of the lady gaga discography, I’m a very big Gaga fan.
Biggest fear is deep water but what is your biggest accomplishment?
I am terrified of the vastness of deep water and what is underneath and what is lurking there. I’m really proud because I actually went diving this year it was terrifying but I did it. I think my biggest accomplishment would be I am very socially introverted and very socially anxious I don’t usually see myself as a leader. But I managed to produce a whole 45 minute film. I was able to lead and direct people and organise everyone and produce a whole film being someone with social anxiety and is an introvert!! It was terrifying I had to call people, I had to use the phone, and book locations, and manage people but it was totally worth it because I learnt so many things.
If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be?
It would be Lady Gaga, I know that’s typical for somebody of my demographic but yeah, Lady Gaga.