Saturday 7 December 2019

Me, Myself and I: Rory O'Neill (Drag Queen Panti Bliss)

Rory O'Neill Me Myself I Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File
Rory O'Neill Me Myself I Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File
Rory O'Neill as Panti Bliss

Alison O'Riordan

'Learning not to care what others think of you is a process.'

The book that changed my life

'The Black Stallion'. It's a children's book that I read and reread as a child and I still return to it on occasion now. It has everything that the childhood me wanted: a desert island, a boy surviving alone, a magnificent horse and a glorious triumph.

The quote that keeps me sane

RuPaul: "What other people think of me is none of my business." Learning not to care what other people (who don't know you) think about you is a process, but this quote from RuPaul helps.

The film I've watched again and again

'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' starring Maggie Smith. Smith is amazing in this Oscar-winning performance, in the movie adapted from the novel by Muriel Spark. Smith's performance as Brodie has hugely influenced the creation of Panti – from her wardrobe to her demeanour.

The song I want played at my funeral

'Here You Come Again' sung by Dolly Parton. I love Dolly and although this song was (unusually) not written by Dolly, it's a Dolly classic. And never fails to cheer me up.

The scent that evokes pleasant memories

My mother's brown bread freshly baked, cooling on the kitchen counter. It smells of home.

The piece of furniture that will become an heirloom

It'll be a fight to the death with my siblings for my parents' "military chest".

The picture that is worth a thousand words

I have a picture of my nieces and nephew all diving into a pool on holiday in France. I wasn't even there when it was taken and it's not technically a great photo, but it brings me great pleasure. It's a picture of simple joy.

The item that takes pride of place in my wardrobe

I have a pair of expensive soft leather boots, and whenever I wear them I feel like a proper grown up.

The sentimental piece of jewellery

A handmade "golden briquette" pendant, one of a number made for the team who worked on Alternative Miss Ireland to mark the final ever pageant. The "Golden Briquette" was the tongue-in-cheek award given to the First Runner Up in the Alternative Miss Ireland.

The item I would save in a fire

My dog! Penny.

The characteristic I most like in myself

I'm not afraid of change.

And least

I'm a procrastinator. I've never seen a deadline I didn't stumble to.

My first kiss

Catch and kiss in the field behind our house: Hilda Hughes.

The last time I cried

Last time I got dumped. No! Second last time I got dumped. The last one was fine 'cos I was secretly over it myself.

It was the best of times

I was on a mule going down the Grand Canyon with my best friends. The mule decided to step off the precarious cliff path. I didn't die.

It was the worst of times

I was on a primary school trip with the school band when my grandmother died. It was my first experience of death. Travelling home, it was the not knowing what to expect. Would it be a house full of crying adults? A prospect that terrified me.

The person I call when things go pear shaped

My friend Phillip who also directs my theatre shows. He likes to "manage" me.

My death row dinner

Roast chicken and roast potatoes, gravy, apple pie. I'm so boring.

Pet peeves

That you can only buy painkillers in annoying "blister packs" of 24. And if you want something stronger than aspirin you have to go under cross-examination. I'm a 45-year-old man who has survived this long without waltzing accidentally off a cliff – I think I can decide if I need a painkiller.

My four-legged friend

My dog Penny. My sweet, timid, stupid, lonely constant companion.

Rory O'Neill recently launched 'Know the Score: Get Tested!'. The campaign, developed by Janssen in partnership with the Gay Men's Health Network, aims to encourage gay and bisexual men to get tested or to retest for HIV, and to stress the advantage of knowing your HIV status. A new locator map on and Dublinaid shows exactly where you can get a free HIV or STI test in Ireland.

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