Hartlepool drag queen vows to become ‘beacon of acceptance’ for young people in the town
A Hartlepool contestant has landed a runner’s up award for one of the titles in the prestigious Miss Drag UK competition.
Anthony Layton, 21, performs as Celeste St Clair and featured in the final of Miss Drag UK at the weekend.
Despite missing out on the title, Anthony has been recognised as a runner-up for the contest’s Miss Publicity section.
The glamorous finale was filmed with different endings in Kent back in March and contestants ran for the titles of Miss Congeniality, Miss Charity and Miss Publicity as well as the Miss Drag UK title.
Anthony, who has been doing drag since 2016, said: "Just by trying my hardest and not getting the title is not going to stop me. I’m going to keep pushing forward, because it’s important to not keep yourself down.
"Always fight for what you want.”
Anthony now has a new purpose of inspiring young people in the town who are growing up different and have no one to look up to.
He said: “I think for now I’ll be focusing on establishing Celeste in Hartlepool.
"My new focus is on bringing her out in local area, so that she can be a beacon of love, diversity and acceptance for people growing up in Hartlepool, who grow up different like I did.
"It’d be nice to have them have a local icon that they can look up to and be inspired by, because I didn’t have somebody like that growing up, so I want to be that for our area.
Anthony continued: “Surrounding myself with drag and other people who do what I do, it’s easy to forget that drag and what we do is not quite mainstream yet.
“Establishing myself in Teesside can at least make it seen.”
The receptionist, who has previously said that every time he has performed as Celeste in Hartlepool has been “one of the best shows I’ve ever done”, is also looking forward to bringing his drag persona in front of a live audience in his hometown once again.
Celeste will be hosting a fundraising event at the town’s Rovers Club for the women and girls’ team in June.
Anthony said: “It will be a great night of fun, camp entertainment.”
You can follow Celeste on her Facebook page here.