Chewing the fat with Gloria Swansong
This year my annual beauty pageant for fatties Burger Queen stepped up a gear - Amy sat her fat ass on Channel 4's '10 O'Clock Live', Vanessa invited Scottee on to talk fat kids and mothering (?), the readers of the Guardian told us we should eat more carrots in response to our interview and Channel 5's 'The Wright Stuff' dropped us for having an opinion! This years crown was awarded to Gloria Swansong who wowed us with her version of 'Bitch' and floored the judges with 'those brownies' - I caught up with Gloria to find out why she left Broadway for Ealing Broadway...

Gloria if this was This Morning and I was Holly I would start with 'Gloria tell us your back story...'
I was born is Anchorage, Alaska several decades ago a product of free love and cold weather.  I moved all over the USA growing up, which I supposed got me rather accustomed to a 'Gypsy' lifestyle quite early on.  When I moved (back) to Germany in 1998 to work in Musicals (again) I realised that I had, at that point, literally moved once a year for every year of my life.  I have slowly managed to change those averages down - I have become a lot more interested in settling in the last 10 years or so.

Why did you move to the UK?
It's an interesting aspect of myself that I've always been a bit of an Anglophile and somehow knew I would end up in the UK one day.  I followed a man to get here - when he decided to return to Germany and we decided to split, I wanted to stay, and so I have...

Tell us about your past exploits on the stage, we hear you were in big in the world of opera?
I have tread the boards in one form or other since I was 5 years old. I started out in a silent role in the opera 'Madame Butterfly' but loved the smell of greasepaint so much I never left.  Musicals and Drama had been my focus for most of my life and then at some point after the first Three Tenors concert, I realised I could (sort of) do what they were doing, I was even considered pretty good at it, but I found the art-form a bit restricting and a truly great artist has got to be determined and single-minded (and frankly a bit precious with their voice) and I missed musicals, so I returned to that and made a good living at that for several years, before moving off to work on cruise ships!

Have you always been a larger lady?
I have always be a person of size - it's been a lifelong battle.  When I was able to work in musicals and dance and sing and act 8 shows a week and remain active, I managed to keep it to a 'reasonable' level that didn't seem to affect my health a great deal. Many people commented how much energy I always seemed to have - part of the reason I retired from the musical theatre was that I injured my back on stage several years back and this laid me up for a very long time and kept me from activity for even longer - this was when my weight ballooned to a size even larger than I am now.  I have managed to get to what I consider a more manageable and healthy size again, which has allowed me to get back on stage again.

I'm really interested to know why you or in fact anyone enters Burger Queen? What made you take the plunge?
Partly, I wanted to prove to myself that I could still do it - still perform and get an audience on 'my side'. I am also sick and tired of fat people being blamed for every ill in society and for the collapse of western civilisation.  I'm also rather bored with thin, fit and so-called 'healthy' people telling me there is something horribly wrong with us and that we need fixing.

What are your personal thoughts on 'fat' and pro-fat events like Burger Queen?
I want to be really careful here - cause I don't agree with all aspects of 'fat' culture - but I don't want to pronounce judgement on others lifestyles any more than I want people doing this to me - basically, I believe and stand up for people learning to accept themselves and others as they are and trying to live as healthy and happy an existence as they can.  Bigotry in any form is just plain wrong!

You stole the Burger Queen crown with the best brownies I've ever eaten; will you share with BQ lovers your recipe?

Cheesecake Brownies
For the Brownie Mix
175g Dark Chocolate
125g Butter
225g Caster Sugar
2 Medium Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
150g Plain Flour - sifted
For the Cheesecake Mix
400g Cream Cheese
2 Egg Yolk
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
100g Caster Sugar
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees and grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin. Start by melting together the Chocolate and Butter until you have a completely smooth mixture. (I use a glass bowl over a small amount of water in a saucepan for a homemade 'bain marie' but a double-boiler will work) Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes before continuing with the next step.

Next stir in the Caster Sugar, Eggs, Vanilla Essence & Flour. Mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps of flour. Your mixture should be a thick, heavy, sticky consistency. Once finished, set aside and make the cheesecake mix. Combine the Cream Cheese, Sugar, Eggs and Vanilla Essence in a separate bowl and mix until you get a runny consistency.

This is the fun part! Pour 1/2 to 2/3 of your brownie mixture into the lined baking tin, and then pour the Cheesecake mixture over the top. Next, spoon the remaining Brownie Mixture in small dollops over the Cheesecake mixture. Run a knife through the mixture in random directions, dragging the Brownie mixture through the Cheesecake mixture creating a marble effect.

Now pop your amazing Cheesecake Brownies into middle of the oven for approx. 30 minutes. You will know that they are done when the Cream Cheese mixture starts to lightly brown. They should seem slightly wet still. In my oven 30 minutes is just right and they firm up as they cool - but this way they stay nice and moist. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling tray before cutting into squares.

What is your mission statement as Burger Queen 2012?
Spread as much love as possible and get people to start thinking about how they treat and perceive others - big job I know!

Gloria's first public appearance since her coronation will be at CAMP on 21st and 28th April - Book tickets here

Burger Queen is back on 5th October with 'Burger Queen - Extra Portions' a special one off with my fav acts from the last two years! 

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