Health

Drag queen Ella Vaday plans on ‘bringing camp to the campsite’ in 100km trek

Ella Vaday star Nick Collier will be taking away the drag and trekking with Giovanna Fletcher (Ian West/PA)
Ella Vaday star Nick Collier will be taking away the drag and trekking with Giovanna Fletcher (Ian West/PA) Ella Vaday star Nick Collier will be taking away the drag and trekking with Giovanna Fletcher (Ian West/PA)

RuPaul’s Drag Race star and actor Nick Collier, who performs as Dagenham drag queen Ella Vaday, is embarking on a 100km trek with CoppaFeel! alongside celebs including Frankie Bridge and Giovanna Fletcher.

The 100km trek is raising funds for breast cancer support, and as his mother has been suffering from breast cancer since 2021, Collier is eager to do his bit.

The Drag Race runner-up is really close to his mum.

“I am the eldest of three, and me and my mum are very similar in many ways. I left home at 16 to train in dance and musical theatre, but I am always looking out for my mum.”

“She has had breast cancer since 2021. She’s actually just finished her treatment and she is nearly there with injections,” he explains.

The opportunity to take on this adventure and raise some funds “came at a really great time,” for Collier.

“It’s nice to celebrate my mum, as she has had cancer for a second time. This is my way of giving back, celebrating her journey and also putting myself to the test and raising some money.”

Many may be thinking the hardest part of this trek would be the actual walking, but as a former dog walker and fitness fanatic, Collier isn’t worried about the fitness aspect, instead, his concerns are “the weather and… sleeping in a tent. I am not looking forward to that, but I am bringing the camp to the campsite,” he jokes.

This year, he has taken some time to really focus on his fitness and wellbeing, and is “in the gym five days a week,” improving his strength and stamina as a performer. Since he trained as a performer at Bird College, he has been keen to look and feel good.

Collier has faced the physical demands of Drag Race and taken on that challenge, reaching the final. And, with hindsight, he sees just how intense and physical that challenge was.

In the competition, he flawlessly impersonated much-loved British culinary sensation Nigella Lawson, performed showstopping live vocals and even dressed up as a striking Dagenham Ford worker.

“It was so full on, so intense. You don’t see half of what goes on, with the early mornings and long days, the lack of connection to the normal world. There are elements of mental and physical fatigue,” Collier shares.

“It was the best experience ever and I feel like the trek will be similar.”

But, ahead of the finale, disaster struck Collier as he sustained an injury to his back.

“I was injured for the finale and the morning of the finale I couldn’t even put my socks on, but I had no choice but to get through filming.

“That was a moment I had to fight through, to be able to get home to see my partner, Marco, and my family.”

Having performed on the West End for several years in shows including The Book Of Mormon and Wicked, while also running his dog-walking business, Collier is no stranger to hard work.

His resilience and ability to push through tough times is a trait Collier is proud of, one that will support him in his trek and one that he believes he has really acquired as an LGBTQ+ person.

“We have always been faced with obstacles, the first being having to come out, which really sucks,” he explains.

“The fact I have to tell people what my sexuality is, is an obstacle. Discovering your identity when you are put in a box, is an obstacle to overcome.”

He has also found that despite the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in the entertainment industry, “in the acting world, as an outwardly gay person, it is hard to get chosen for straight roles and it is really frustrating sometimes,” he explains.

This June, Nick Collier will be completing the ‘CoppaTrek! with Gi’ in Hadrian’s Wall Country alongside Giovanna Fletcher, to raise vital funds and awareness for breast cancer charity, CoppaFeel! To donate, please visit coppafeel.org/give.