University College School boy stars in sister's drag queen music video
PUBLISHED: 15:48 19 July 2013 | UPDATED: 15:49 19 July 2013
A day in the life of three young drag queens is not something you might expect from a folk pop music video.
But for director Gabriella Sonabend, 22, marching her teenage brother through the streets of Primrose Hill in a wig, dress and make-up seemed an obvious choice for singer-songwriter Kal Lavelle’s newest promo.
University College School pupil Raphael Sonabend, 17, was transformed into blonde bombshell KoKo Oh-No! by his sister for her latest video to accompany Ms Lavelle’s new song Sing!
The Hampstead teenager stars alongside seasoned drag queens Harmony Ivy and Ciara Leone – both friends of Ms Sonabend – in the video, which follows the three of them as they embark on a day of fun and frolic in Primrose Hill and ends inside famed Soho drag club Madame JoJo’s.
Raphael only found out about his sister’s video plans after a spontaneous call from the young director asking him to meet her at a nail bar for a manicure.
“She came over and gave me a dress, a wig and tights, and said, ‘Don’t think about it – just do it,” said Raphael.
“The next thing I knew, I was sat down having my make-up done!”
Over the course of the day last month, Raphael and his glamorous co-stars were filmed lounging on the grass while sipping champagne among crowds on Primrose Hill.
The video then follows the sassy trio as they stumble over to Soho for a night on the tiles alongside a host of well-known drag queens in Madame JoJo’s nightclub.
Reflecting on his cross-dressing antics, Raphael said: “It was a new experience, I love acting so it was good fun. But I found it quite intimidating because I felt the other queens were better actors than me.
“The whole point of the video is that I look up to these two people. I was staring at them a lot to see how they talked and how they walked. I thought it was great acting.”
Praising her brother’s efforts, Ms Sonabend said: “It was quite a shock to his system but he’s like all UCS boys – up for anything! They tend to be quite boisterous and adventurous.”
But she insisted that, while the video was very much about having a good time, it does carry a more serious message.
“It’s very much embracing this idea that maybe it’s OK for guys to just get dressed up and have fun,” said Ms Sonabend.
“It’s an important message for me – that this could be fun. Why shouldn’t this be acceptable?”
To check out the video to Kal Lavelle’s new song Sing!, visit the YouTube website.