Part-time teacher and burlesque performer feared for her life after performing on stage in just her KNICKERS
“I don’t think they had a problem with me performing in nipple tassels, they knew that was coming. Really they were trying to silence me about my outspoken views.”
A female drag queen who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent was chased out of India by armed police when she performed on stage – in just her knickers!
Andrea Smith, 40, a part-time teacher from Birmingham, left organisers of an anti-domestic violence conference fuming after she played a rape victim onstage wearing only underwear and nipple tassels.
She says she was forced to flee the country after being told military police were hunting for her following her “indecent” performance at the Women’s Economic Forum, in New Delhi.
Andrea’s act, ‘Finding Your Voice Through Art’, was designed to spread a message about domestic violence through her alter-ego ‘Swingerella’ earlier this month.
It saw her appear lying on stage in fishnet tights and burlesque nipple covers before she launches into an hour-long spoken-word performance about sexual abuse.
But the next day the mum-of-two claims she had to dodge police waiting for her at the show and flee back to the UK after organisers threatened her with jail.
Andrea said: “My show is outrageous, but they had all my videos and would have known what to expect.
“I performed it and everyone in the audience loved it.
“The organiser wasn’t there, but the next day someone told me he had refused to put a video of the performance on YouTube.
“Then the organiser called me over as I was leaving and said they could take my passport off me and put me in jail for a long time for what I did.
“I said: ‘Why are you body shaming me?’ But he said what I did was illegal in India.
“He told me it was indecent and deeply offensive in their culture.
“He made me feel really ashamed of my body and my act. I was trying to give women a voice and here they were trying to suppress mine.
“I walked off and went home, but the next morning I got a tip off that I should leave the hotel because the military guards were going to arrest me. I was petrified.
“I went to the British Embassy, because apparently they were waiting for me at the show, but they told me if I’d broken the law I’d have to face it.
“So I got my friend to get me a lift straight to the airport and paid £800 for the quickest flight back.
“Being threatened with jail and hunted by armed police is one of the most terrifying things that has ever happened to me. It was very scary.”
Andrea, who auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent in February last year and has also appeared on ‘Come Dine With Me’, says she suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from a past abusive relationship.
Now she draws on her experiences to perform across the UK and has appeared previously at the Edinburgh Festival.
Andrea added: “I think my performance was a bit of a culture shock to them, but it is about domestic abuse.
“Swingerella’s dark fairy tale is showing how when we are abused we pretend to be OK when we are not. It has been described as burlesque but it’s not indecent.
“I don’t think they had a problem with me performing in nipple tassels, they knew that was coming. Really they were trying to silence me about my outspoken views.
“I was asking why there were women getting paid next to nothing to clean the toilets at a Women’s Economic Forum and raising transgender issues.
“Although it was in India, there were women from 75 countries there and I thought it was an open forum to talk about these issues.
“But the organiser, whose wife was dressed like Barbie, seemed to want women to talk and behave a certain way – which I didn’t.
“I just think it’s such a shame, because I was meant to be helping raise awareness of victims of acid attacks in the country until 30th May, but now I can’t do that.
“There are bigger issues here than a middle age woman in tights on stage.”