“It was ‘Fuck you, bitch, fuck you, fuck you!’” Celestial Seasons says with a laugh. “But as soon as we stepped onstage, we were sisters.”
In other words, it was just like a real Spice Girls tour.
So here’s a story from A to Z: last May, Peter Breeze and The Rio presented a screening of Spice World with a live drag shadow cast. It sold out and caught buzz all the way to Texas, where the Spice Gurls recently travelled for a three-city, six-show tour.
Filling the platforms were Celestial Seasons as Scary Spice, Jadis Vanity as Baby Spice, Lady Jem as Sporty Spice, Jane Smoker as Posh Spice and Laura Vanity Tyme as Ginger Spice. Laura was brought in after Raye Sunshine impersonated Geri Halliwell so well that she left the group!
“When I first was told of the tour in Texas, it all sounded fantastic and I was willing to put some differences aside for the better of the group,” Raye says. Rumour has it those differences were between her and Lady Jem, but Raye remains discreet. “Lady Jem and I have a professional relationship,” she demurs. “Like Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj . . .”
Ultimately, Raye decided to focus on her other partnership with The Rio and Peter Breeze — she also plays Sailor Mars in the Sailor Moon shadow cast — rather than tour with the Gurls. She helped find her replacement, Laura — literally a perfect fit, since she’s shared costumes with Raye in the past.
The Gurls travelled to Texas in a single van with eight people, even sharing a single hotel room for one stopover. Not surprisingly, drag in such close quarters saw Union Jacks and sequins flying. The bitch fights got so intense one night that even Ginger Number 2 quit the band.
“The first night, Sporty and I got in a screaming match,” Jadis says.
“There was only one mirror,” Lady Jem shrugs.
The road to sisterhood may be paved with meltdowns, but the group came together in the name of girl power to honour all the 1990s gay boys (Baby Spice for life) who grew up acting out scenes from Spice World during recess.
When I interview the Gurls backstage at Fortune Sound Club before their homecoming performance on May 1, they talk all over each other like one campy, shared consciousness.
“I just want to say, my mother’s my best friend,” Jadis says, with a flip of her Emma Bunton pigtails.
“Baby Spice is always wasted,” someone says with a laugh.
“I do lots of ecstasy,” Jadis says.
Jadis’s Baby Spice is a little rough around the edges. She’s spent the last decade raving, got a few facial piercings and lost all that baby chub the old-fashioned way: cocaine.
The state’s slogan may be Don’t Mess with Texas, but that doesn’t mean don’t get messy in Texas. “We came and we conquered,” the Gurls boast. “Without RuPaul!”
They weren’t always so confident. When they first hit the road, they were a bit worried about the reception they’d receive in Texas, and whether it would involve guns. But the only guns encountered were on grade A Texan beef.
“They embraced us with open arms,” Jadis says.
“The men were beautiful,” the Gurls all agree. So beautiful, in fact, that they hooked up with “14 guys simultaneously.”
I thought they were joking until I went to Lady Jem’s house for some wine in teacups (which, by the way, is illegal in Texas) and she showed me her sex tapes from the road. I watched some uncut Southern boy jerk off for Jem in a bar bathroom.
“I’m famous in Texas for blowjobs!” Jem says. *Insert Sporty Spice high kick*
The Gurls were so popular in Texas they even had a stalker. A man hid in the bushes outside their hotel one night and kept creepily calling out to them, “Hey, I’m gay, too.” Now that’s how you get strangled — or have the best sex of your life! Sometimes, both.
The drag Spice Gurls are the closest thing people can get to the real band. Not only because the Spice Girls aren’t currently touring, but because these drag queens have the vivacity the real deal lost by 1998. The chemistry is so hot there’s been interest in taking their show as far as Singapore.
It’s a serious dream for the Gurls, as Lady Jem showed me when she shared all her Spice Girls memorabilia, including several boxes of dolls, magazines and newspaper clippings she has collected over the years. She grew up in foster care, and the Spice Girls were her childhood escape. “They were like drag queens,” she says, so it’s fitting that drag queens should revive them.