'It's given me an extra layer of confidence': Rob turns things upside down as he takes to the poles

Robert, whose drag name is “Robyn Hearts”, works as a make-up artist during the day but says his moonlighting gig has become a positive creative outlet.
'It's given me an extra layer of confidence': Rob turns things upside down as he takes to the poles

Robert Morley (aka Robyn Hearts) striking a pose Angels strip club on Leitrim Street where he performs with drag performance troupe Poppin pasties. Photo Credit: 7thseal (Dave Costello)

A CORK man has lifted the lid on life in a strip club after managing to combine his loves of drag and pole dancing.

Robert Morley from Waterfall said that he had always wondered what performing in a strip club might be like. Now, the 23-year-old is doing just that as part of the drag group Poppin’ Pasties. The performance troupe, run by Poppy De Scrace, features a blend of drag and burlesque artists who perform regularly at Angels strip club on Leitrim Street.

Robert, whose drag name is “Robyn Hearts”, works as a make-up artist during the day but says his moonlighting gig has become a positive creative outlet.

“Entering this fantasy world where people are shoving fives and tens into your corset is a surreal experience,” he said. “When I’m getting changed I’ll feel all this money falling out. It’s like something you’d see in a movie. I’m living the life and performing drag in a way I never thought I would be.” The make-up artist and fashion designer said entertaining has positively impacted his confidence.

“Drag has opened up so many opportunities to me. Now, I have this extra layer of confidence I never had before that I can carry into my everyday life.”

Robert said his family isn’t phased by his decisions and are extremely supportive of the artist’s talent.

“Dad drives me to Angels every night that I’m performing. My family are very supportive of anything that helps me with my creative progression. I came out to them at 13 so any struggle I had I managed to get past at a very young age.” Robert is even known for practising his act around the house.

“One Christmas day I was creating a video of myself in drag for an online drag competition. I sat down with them for Christmas dinner in full costume.” The 23-year-old spoke of his family help nurture his creativity.

“They trust me to make good decisions for myself. I could imagine my dad was more worried than my mum about me performing in a strip club. Of course, he had his questions but he now knows that it is nothing to worry about. He trained to be a psychotherapist and realises anything that anything that brings me joy and happiness is a positive thing.”

He described how the troupe began performing in Angels.

“I trained in pole fitness but I never had the opportunity to do both. We starting performing during lockdown when the club wasn’t able to do any business. We were just recording ourselves doing performances from this empty room.” The group was able to stage their first live performance when restrictions lifted.

“It’s advertised as a queer space where we get all kinds of people from all walks of life including drag kings, pole dance and aerial acts.”

The drag artist creates all his own costumes.

“Every single thing I have has been made by myself. Whatever I draw in the morning I can hold by the end of the day. I can never find anything to fit me perfectly because the proportions in drag queen costumes are always extreme. This way is cheaper. My dream is to have my own independent fashion brand one day.”

Robert laughed that he is the last person one would expect to see in a strip club.

“You can just see the look of confusion on people’s faces when they see the man in the dress,” he laughed. “Luckily, I’ve never had a negative experience.”

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