Ant and Dec in drag: ‘This will change LGBTQ+ children’s lives’


A make-up artist behind Ant and Dec's drag transformation says their primetime TV performance will help young people see LGBTQ+ representation in a positive light.

Ellis Atlantis joined RuPaul's make-up mogul Raven in serving looks for Ant and Dec's drag alter egos Lady Antoinette and Miss Donna Lee on ITV's Saturday Night Takeaway.

"While I was doing Dec's make-up I said to him: 'You might not realise this, but when you go out there in drag and you do this song on a mainstream stage it's going to change so many young queer children's lives'. And he totally got it," said Ellis.

Ant and Dec performed on stage during their Saturday night show with Drag Race UK winners The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Krystal Versace in a performance of We Werk Together – a single to raise money for food bank charity The Trussell Trust.

They were praised for bringing drag to a mainstream audience with Takeaway, which can pull in more than 8m viewers an episode.

Ellis Atlantis with Raven and Ant and Dec in DragEllis Atlantis

Ellis, winner of the first series of BBC Three's make-up competition Glow Up, said he was blown away by the positive response to the drag set from parents on social media.

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One mum posted an emotional video on Twitter saying her 12-year-old son is bullied for wearing make-up.

Thank you Ant & Dec! #SaturdayNightTakeaway pic.twitter.com/vumNKFtAoj

— mummabear0803 (@ladiesfootball5) February 19, 2022

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

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In a message to Ant and Dec, she said: "What you've done tonight is just amazing. It's going to show everyone around the world it's ok to be who you want to be."

Reacting to her video, Ellis told Newsbeat: "It's really personal to me as my mum is my biggest supporter.

"It reminds me how lucky I am and shows me that the world is changing and parents are showing up and accepting their children as being who they were born to be.

"I never saw any drag when I was growing up and I hope that this will help the way children feel about themselves and what they are capable of and help them be more inspired for their future."

'They wanted to pay respect'

Ellis AtlantisEllis Atlantis

The 27-year-old said one of his biggest fears as a gay man or when wearing drag was being ridiculed by straight men.

"To be alone in a dressing room with a straight man doing his make-up I almost felt vulnerable but Dec was so welcoming, warm and friendly and he really understood," said Ellis.

"He told me they'd had the idea to do a drag performance for a while and originally they were going to go off stage and come back on in drag in four minutes.

"But they decided if they were going to do it they wanted to do it properly and pay respect to the drag community and that in itself was really reassuring."

no cause i can’t stop watching ant and dec doing drag like to have two huge presenters on prime time tv celebrating drag rather that ridiculing it is so special pic.twitter.com/TUc6fNT7wW

— kasey ✟ sampire (@HONEYCASTlEL) February 21, 2022

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

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A wonderful moment – bringing drag into mainstream TV for families all over the country to experience. A positive step in making sure our young people know they can be themselves and being different is exciting! Bravo @antanddec @ITV @RuPaul #DragRaceUK pic.twitter.com/FjMRWWQ85d

— Lauren Duffy she/her 🏳️‍🌈 #TVTTagTeam (@ScotinManc) February 20, 2022

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

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Ellis, who grew up in Bradford and now lives in Manchester, said his transformation of Dec took just under two hours while Raven painted Ant in another dressing room.

He said: "Having two straight men on mainstream TV doing drag alongside actual working drag queens is such a fabulous thing.

"They're showing it's fun. Anyone and everyone should try drag once in their lives, it's such a liberating, freeing feeling.

"You get to become someone else while still being yourself."

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