Harry Potter: How one drag queen became 31 JK Rowling characters

By Michael Baggs
Newsbeat reporter

  • Published
Jaremi Carey / Phi Phi O'Hara as Harry Potter charactersImage source, Jaremi Carey

Some people might know Jaremi Carey as drag queen Phi Phi O'Hara.

Others might recognise him as Hermione Granger, Professor McGonagall, Dobby, Sirius Black or Rubeus Hagrid from the Harry Potter movies.

That's because he's spent October 2019 sharing photos of his transformations into some of JK Rowling's fantasy characters on social media.

"I'm a Harry Potter fan first off, so it wasn't a stretch for me to do," Jaremi tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

He'd already been performing as Helena Bonham Carter's character, Bellatrix Lestrange, in his live shows, and the idea for something bigger and more magical came to him during a trip to the UK.

'I loved it, but I hated the process'

"When I was in London, I did the Harry Potter tour and I was gifted all these wands and asked if I would do anything with them," he says.

Image source, Jaremi Carey
Image caption,
It wasn't just the good guys who were represented in Jaremi's month-long project

What he's done this month follows his 2016 project to present 365 drag looks in one year.

He started work on his Harry Potter project in August, leading to two months work preparing the costumes before kicking-off Halloween month with his Dolores Umbridge makeover.

Other characters he's portrayed include Moaning Myrtle, Draco Malfoy, Lord Voldemort, Luna Lovegood and of course, Harry Potter himself.

Some of the looks he created with wigs, costumes and make-up while others required prosthetics which covered his entire face.

Image source, Jaremi Carey
Image caption,
Hermione, Harry and Dobby were part of Jaremi's October transformation

But there was one character that he discovered he didn't need much make-up wizardry to turn into.

"My personal favourite is probably Professor Sprout," he says.

"I do have makeup on in the photo - but it's just me making a silly face and it happens to look a lot like hers."

Image source, Jaremi Carey
Image caption,
Jaremi says he transformed easily into Miriam Margolyes' character

And the one that caused the biggest problems was Peter Pettigrew.

"I hated Pettigrew. I love the outcome but during it I don't think I've cussed so much in my entire life," he says.

"I was gluing hair to my body and to my fingers - it was just disgusting. It was the only prosthetic that I couldn't breathe out of through my nose.

"It came out great. I loved it, but I hated the process.

"I felt bad because my husband took every single one of the pictures and I was like: 'Hurry up, take this, move that light, hurry up, do it' - because I just couldn't handle it."

Image source, Jaremi Carey
Image caption,
Jaremi says the process of making himself up as Peter Pettigrew was "disgusting"

There was, sadly, one character that ended up on the drag scrapheap: Fawkes, Albus Dumbledore's pet phoenix.

"It looked like a flaming hot Cheetos bird. It was really bad," he says.

During October, Jaremi says he's had approval from Dawn French (who played the second 'Fat Lady' in the Harry Potter movies) and Chris Rankin, the actor who played Percy Weasley.

Image source, Jaremi Carey
Image caption,
Jaremi has had the seal of approval from at least one Weasley actor

"I'm Weasley approved!" Jaremi says.

To finish off the series, the drag star had one final trick up his sleeve.

His final photo features him as none other than Harry Potter's creator JK Rowling.

Image source, Jaremi Carey
Image caption,
In his final photo, Jaremi is made-up as Harry Potter creator JK Rowling

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