I express myself through the art of Drag: a work-life balance interview with Blake Thomas

With Pride Month 2021 in full swing, we caught up with Client Services Technician Blake to talk all things Drag, getting to work in Tanzania and what he's learned about himself in lockdown.

What has surprised you most about lockdown?

Maybe not so much now, I guess as everyone is on their last tether, but it was beautiful to see the country unite as one, especially throughout the first lockdown, there was so much love and support throughout communities, hopefully we can carry this on when this is finally OVER!

What have you learned about yourself in this time?

I’ve learned that I am quite nifty with a makeup brush. I am not as patient as I once was; I assume that comes with age? But my main thing is I have learned to love myself again, corny I know.

Do you think Love Island is TV gold or TV Fail and why?

I guess a bit of both. Well done for the people who created it, they have earned themselves a lot of money. However and it’s a big HOWEVER, I think the effect it has on mental health, both contestants and viewers is quite awful – especially when it comes to what the ideal man/women should look like.

What was your last google search?

Elizabeth Bathory – I saw an article earlier on in the day called “The real life history referenced in every American Horror Story “ so thought I’d do further research!

What, from this time, would like to keep in the new normal?

That a dressing gown is not frowned upon when wearing them all day, every day!

How did you get into insurance?

I started out temping for Aon on the outbound new business team, I only got in to insurance for the experience as I had only been a manager in retail. From there I was employed full time in the new business team and I had the fun job of looking after accountants and their PI. I then worked my way up to client advisor on the Multinational Global retail team. After a year I thought I would come and see what all the fuss was about working for an insurer.

Night owl or Early Bird?

Neither, if sleep is an option, sleep wins EVERYTIME!

What’s your Karaoke song?

I have a few, these are my favourite!

School of Rock from School of Rock

Welcome to the Sixties – Hairspray

You can’t stop the beat – Hairspray

It’s all over – Dreamgirls ( My #1)

What change would you like to see at RSA in the next 3 years?

To see clear representation of diverse groups across all levels of the business.

What is your main priority at the moment?

The obvious cliché answer, staying healthy and safe, but my main priority is to send some positivity in the world! That’s why through the lockdown I have been expressing myself through the art of Drag.

It’s the one thing in lockdown which has kept me focused and sane and it’s been great being able to share my journey with family, friends and colleagues.

I’m at my happiest when…

Snuggled on the Sofa with my fiancé & cats with a Banana Tree take away! I’d also say getting into Drag, however that can be extremely stressful, especially when I am doing my eyeliner!

What is your best travel memory?

When I was 21 I spent 10 weeks in Tanzania working with a sustainable development organisation where we focused on the community and environment. The 10 weeks were honestly the best of my life. It was such a hard challenge both mentally and physically, however the memoires I made I will have for life!

What new skill would you most like to learn?

The next step on my Drag path is learning to sew. I am currently on the lookout for a sewing machine as well as any classes available – So if anyone has any recommendations please let me know!

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

I wouldn’t wish this on anyone! However my partner seems to think I look like Cheyenne Jackson.

What would be your ideal dinner party menu?

Starter – Anything with cheese, I do like a good stuffed mushroom!

Mains – Lobster and steak – Hold the peppercorn sauce

Dessert – CAKE CAKE CAKE! Just not a fruit cake!

What is your happiest memory at RSA?

My team and a few others from the office played a 2 week long prank on me, where they hid my Toy Story rocket cup and decided to take picture of it in different places, whether that be somewhere in the office, in reception or even at some people’s homes!

They then printed off the photos and left them on my desk whenever I walked away! Thankfully it was returned, along with some sweets and a new alien friend!

What would you say to someone considering a career in insurance?

Firstly, be yourself, I tried to act “straight” in my first Insurance role and that wasn’t a fun 6 months!

Secondly play devil’s advocate – If you think there could be a better way make sure you voice your opinion!

Lastly, put some money aside for new work clothes as the chances are you’ll go up a few inches/dress size!

What are your three top tips for maintaining a healthy work life balance?

  1. Take a lunch
  2. Try not to work crazy hours every evening
  3. Be open if you’re struggling, as you’ll find you are not the only one!

Career highlight to date is?

Being able to hold multiple sessions on D&I topics such as International Men’s & Women’s day, LGBTQ+ history and unconscious bias.

What are you currently binge-watching/listening/reading?

I am currently watching anything that has a strong female lead, so over the past few months I have watched;

  • How to get away with Murder
  • Scandal
  • Queen of the South
  • Pretty Little Liars (2nd time)
  • Desperate Housewives (100th time)
  • Broad City (better than Friends)
  • 2 Dope Girls

Tell us a joke!

Did you hear about the disappearing Mexican Magician?

He said Uno, Dos and then vanished without a Tres.