Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward, better known as Bananarama have been best friends for nearly 50 years!
With hits from 1981 to the present, they brought girl power to the forefront, long before those spicey gals. They’ve just finished the autobiography they’ve been working on for the last few years and spoke to the UK’s Pink News.
When did you first realise that Bananarama appealed to a gay audience?
Sara: I think in LA when we went to K-Rock, the radio station, and somebody said, ‘You guys are so camp’, and I had to look up the word because I didn’t know what it meant. [Both laugh] What does that mean?
That would have been around mid-80s. I never really put my finger on why they love us. But I’m glad they do. ‘They!’ [Laughs] I’m glad people do.
But perhaps you could shed some light on that.
Keren: I think there was one point in our lives, where we just seemed to be surrounded by gay men, nights out, on stage. And we very much gravitated to it.
S: Yes, you’d go out to have fun and a great time and it’s all-inclusive. Or at least that’s how it seemed to me. My favorite nights were in Heaven, I mean, that was just the ultimate nightclub. It was so brilliant. I absolutely loved nights out there.
K: We had the most amazing time. And also, I want to say ‘cutting’ but no – the sort of asides and the sense of humour definitely worked in those situations and maybe people saw that side of us in interviews, I don’t know. But it certainly wasn’t an intentional thing.
S: I think WOW! could be interpreted as appealing more to a camp audience, but I don’t think Cruel Summer was particularly camp, was it?
S: Can you think of anything we’ve done that’s particularly gay?
The Brit Awards? [They performed live with 14 male dancers in their underwear]
K: Oh God yes.
Dawn French has recently confirmed that she signed up for season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. You were asked to do series one – so what’s the latest?
S: We have been asked to do it but then there was a lockdown. The pandemic struck so we couldn’t, it was cancelled. And then we couldn’t get the exact dates for the next one.
So hopefully, we’ll do the next time around because I love RuPaul.
K: We did DragCon with him, which was fantastic fun. Where we just sat on stage and were interviewed or just chatted with him. And that was great fun. We really want to do it.
I hate to harp on about it, we’ve been really busy doing the book.
The art of drag – and seeing yourselves as drag queens – crops up in the book. What’s been your favorite drag versions of yourselves?
S: Tokyo, just because they look so great. They look really attractive and fun. They just look brilliant. And they’ve got great voices.
K: The most surprising one, I think it was in Bangkok where it was a full Comic Relief performance [of their 1989 charity single, “Help!”] including French and Saunders and Raw Sex and everyone so they had the whole lot.That was a corker. I didn’t really expect that to end up on the stage over there from almost a copy of the TV show.
Have you heard from [tribute drag act] Bearnanarama in recent years?
K: We’ve met them. Several times! They make me laugh so much.
They always jump up and down like a couple of toddlers at a birthday party. [Laughs] They’re so much fun. We have, on occasion, invited them backstage and had drinks with them.
They’re great. I mean, the effort they put into what they do is extraordinary.
Really Saying Something: Sara & Keren is out now.
(via Pink News)