Following a near death experience, Jonny Woo, the ringleader of East London and a founding member of the area’s unconscious 90s explosion, decided to pull his life together and became the self-elected commander of a new drag army. Shaking Shoreditch in a cloud of killer heels, glitter and duct tape Woo and his cross-dressing clique became the McQueens of the night and a point of focus for the fashion press. A sextet of alternative stars were born: Jonny Woo, Scottee, Holestar, Pia, Amber, and John Sizzle.
After a brief introduction on the history of London’s alternative drag phenomenon from the key players themselves, Dressed as a Girl showcases its carousel of principal characters – and quickly emerges that each sequined clutch bag comes with its own cluster of secrets. Rothbart rubs away at the make-up to reveal the personal demons and paranoia that the paparazzi cannot capture. For the next five years, in his feature film debut, Rothbart is given never-before-granted access into the private lives of East London’s elite, from boob jobs and breakdowns, to religious battles and rape convictions, public sex and private rows - all that glitters is not gold. We meet the cast’s parents too, the quiet unassuming cul-de-sacs that gave birth to London’s wackiest party animals. But, as unlikely as its cast, the film is a fast-paced comedy an audiences are treated to a barrage of backstage in-jokes and raucous rumps at Lovebox Festival, Glastonbury notorious NYC Downlow and momentous events at The Royal Opera House, Hackney Empire and “The Shed”.
Dressed as a Girl is an inspirational and important documentary, occasionally heart-breaking, casually shocking, completely rocking and ceaselessly entertaining. Not only does the film’s insight give instruction to satellite gay communities, but it sends out a message to all creeds that when the party’s over - peace lies in being true to yourself.