Who is the “The Beyoncé Experience”?

Aaron Carty’s dream was to be a superhero for his community. He initially began his career as a police officer at 18, but today he is an inspiration for many as the UK’s biggest Beyoncé tribute drag queen.

However, his path to drag was quite accidental. He was on holiday in Spain for Sitges Pride 2014 traipsing around in “a plastic wig and the most awful clothes for the drag night walk around a park. We looked atrocious, but as we were walking to the beach, people kept asking me, ‘Are you the Beyoncé act?’ Then the organisers said that if I performed that Saturday, they would give me, and my friends VIP passes for the entire week.”

Aaron Carty on Britain's Got Talent in 2015Things really snowballed fast after that debut performance for Aaron. In 2015, he gained a lot of publicity attention as he got through to the second round of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent performing as Beyoncé, “The headlines at the time were along the lines of ‘Police officer becomes Beyoncé drag queen on BGT.’”

His experience on Britain’s Got Talent kickstarted his stage act “The Beyoncé Experience”, which includes a dance troupe and travelling the world. Aaron’s “The Beyoncé Experience” is the focus in Blaise Singh’s documentary by the same name premiering on Together TV Tuesday 19th October at 7pm. The film was supported and funded by Together TV’s Diverse Film Fund, which included four other documentaries about the stories on being Black, British and Breaking Boundaries.

Aaron’s influence as a role model stems from wanting to be a positive role model for the Black Queer community by raising awareness of diversity. He began volunteering with UK Black Pride in 2018, once again by accident. “I was performing for Pride in London in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. But I went to the wrong stage – so discovered UK Black Pride and thought, ‘This organization needs my help,’ so I started volunteering for them and worked on giving them a digital presence, working on websites, social media and marketing.”

As a child, Aaron felt much further behind his straight peers. “As a young man, I felt like, as a gay person, I was 10 years behind everybody else, because it takes so long to come to terms with yourself.”

Aaron Carty in his police officer uniformThis unpreparedness propelled him to his superhero-work for the police force. Although, he identifies his mum and Tailor by trade grandmother as his creative inspiration for Beyoncé. They taught him the joys of dressing up and creating looks. “We’d go to a charity shop; buy a sequined cocktail dress, and she’d turn it into a bodysuit for me. Being brought up by two very, very strong female role models definitely inspired my drag act.”

For Aaron, Drag is escapism from his day job. “It’s really moved me when people have told me that seeing someone ordinary like me doing something completely different on stage has either encouraged them to come out, as I am Black and Gay, or has just inspired them to be themselves.”

“I hope my story shows people that life doesn’t have to be all about going to university after school and being made to decide so young who and what you want to be. There are other options and other paths out there and I really want to be part of changing the conventional narrative for life.

Watch The Beyoncé Experience as part of Together TV’s celebration of Black History Month from 19th October at 7pm. Together TV is available on Freeview 82, Sky 170, Virgin 269 and Freesat 164. Read a full interview with Aaron Carty on Yahoo! by Harriet Bullough for PA Real Life here.

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