Cooler Than You – Phantasma


My name is Ben, otherwise known as Phantasma, manager at Legends Bar, Club and Hotel. I predominantly run the nights. As one of Brighton’s leading LGBTQ+ venues, it brings me joy to create a safe space for queer people and allies. I am also a drag artist in my spare time, so I take great pleasure in entertaining on stage, when I’m not doing so behind the bar.

I love a good thrift from a charity shop and Brighton markets. A classic fit, that I can tailor or camp up and accessorise. Any local charity shops I pass,  I have a nosey in, even just for fabrics to use. Turn trash into treasure. I love a Vintage kilo sale or have a little snoop in snoopers paradise.

I’m not just a pretty face…I’ve also got a great pair of legs! I don’t know, I’m an open book. Something only my friends know? I’m really flexible and many can vouch for that. Most of those I am close to know that I create my own clothes, I’m a makeup artist, I sculpt my own sfx prosthetics, create wigs, sketch, paint, photograph, edit, design all my looks from concept to catwalk. I’m a firm believer in do it yourself. I create items for my friends and hopefully in the future for prominent figures, to show my unique take on society and gender norms.

For everyday fashion for when I present as he/him I take style influences from artists in popular culture such as David Bowie, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, Elvis, and Johnny Depp, to name a few. I also take a lot of ideas from Tom of Finland drawings, homoerotic art and burlesque, with a specific adoration for Bettie Page. I take artistic inspiration from classic horror movies, as well as John Waters’ and Tim Burton’s filmography. When I  present more feminine for drag or in everyday life and when I make garments I look heavily at Vivienne Westwood’s take on modern punk, as well as 90s Mugler and vintage Versace. Again I look to  pop stars and supermodels like Shalom Harlow, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. One fashion house that I think is very current, thriving and always switching things up is ‘The Blonds’. I’m overwhelmed with inspiration, but these are just a few of my favourites. One of the things I love most about Brighton, other than the sea being a pebble’s throw away, is the people, the irreverent attitude, not giving a fuck, as well as everyone’s accepting and welcoming nature, especially in the LGBTQ+ scene. The history and architecture gives me inspiration for my art and fashion, as well as everyone’s multicultural backgrounds and variety of lifestyles. The coming together of these factors, people and the sharing of stories constantly gives me passion to create and to stay weird. @phantasma_gloria

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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