Jeppe I Glam

13-year-old Jeppe Gammelby is a popular figure in Denmark. He was the subject of a TV documentary entitled "Denmark's Youngest Drag Queen". In this article, he tells us that he is hoping to become a professional drag queen one day, performing as his alter ego, Roberta.


Jeppe’s grandmother, Birgit Thinggaard (78) helps to make his glamourous drag costumes.


"I find my involvement in our joint project very rewarding. I have much closer ties now with Jeppe than I would otherwise have had," Birgit says.


Jeppe agrees: "Yes, it definitely creates a stronger bond between us even though it isn’t something a 13-year-old would normally do with his Grandma.”

Jeppe and his Grandma began to sew drag costumes together for Jeppe’s first official appearance as Roberta at a cabaret show filmed for the TV documentary.

You cannot just buy costumes in the stores, so Grandma Birgit stepped in. She has been sewing since she was a child and learned pattern design as an adult.

"Jeppe often comes up with ideas of his own or finds a model that inspires him. Based on my experience with fabric and tailoring, I can tell him if his idea will work – and then we get to grips with making something that both of us can be satisfied with," says Birgit.

Jeppe has just got his first sewing machine and has made a few projects himself.

"For example, I sewed a dress in German medieval style this summer. I think it is great fun to spend time sewing,” says Jeppe.

As Jeppe is really only just learning to sew, he appreciates his grandmother's help.

"It's so cool that Grandma helps me because she knows what she's doing. I am just starting out really. We’re a great team – especially because we have very different ideas about which fabrics and garments look good,” says Jeppe.

Jeppe Og Mormor

When Jeppe was only three years old, he asked for a princess dress as a birthday present.

Later, on Shrove Tuesday in the fourth grade, Jeppe showed up at school as Roberta for the first time. This performance kick-started his interest in drag.

He says he thinks it is cool to transform himself into Roberta, as it is fun to play with gender and look completely different. But there’s more about Roberta that is important to him.

"For me, it is also about being really, really beautiful. I don’t think that I am not beautiful. But as Roberta, I am, you might say, a classic beauty," says Jeppe.

And how would he describe Roberta's style? Jeppe makes no bones about Roberta.

 

"Of course, it depends on the occasion, but she loves glitter and rhinestones. And she really likes to have bare arms – and prefers to wear trousers," says Jeppe.

He wears his outfits on all sorts of occasions, from theme parties at school to performances across Denmark.

Jeppe is not yet old enough to enter drag queen competitions, but he enjoys performing at shows. Here he "lip syncs", i.e. mimes to, popular songs along with choreography.

Birgit is so proud of her grandson. She admires Jeppe for voicing an opinion about what he wants to do and for treading a different path than other 13-year-olds.

"You can really sense that he feels great when he's in costume. There is a big difference between Jeppe and Roberta," Birgit explains.

However, what she is most proud of is that Jeppe has the courage to be himself.

"Jeppe shows great courage with his friends and family. He makes no secret of the fact that he enjoys putting on make up and dressing up. He makes no bones about it. He just goes ahead and says ’this is who I am’,” Birgit says.

Watch a video about Jeppe and Birgit here.

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