Irn-Bru: Why Lawrence Chaney is perfect as the Fairy Godmaw for new Christmas campaign

From being paid £15 a gig to becoming the face of Irn-Bru, it’s been a big year for a certain drag queen from Helensburgh.
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"Oh, for festive ginger bells!”

This is, I assume, exactly what Lawrence Chaney exclaimed when given the news they would become the star of Irn-Bru’s latest Christmas campaign.

It’s a Scottish institution, Scotland’s other national drink, and its Christmas adverts are the stuff of legend.

Lawrence Chaney stars as the Fairy Godmaw in Irn Bru's Christmas campaign (Irn-Bru)Lawrence Chaney stars as the Fairy Godmaw in Irn Bru's Christmas campaign (Irn-Bru)
Lawrence Chaney stars as the Fairy Godmaw in Irn Bru's Christmas campaign (Irn-Bru)
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But it’s time to give The Snowman a shove into the Firth of Forth. All hail our new festive overlord: the Fairy Godmaw.

She is the vibrant orange and blue spirit summoned to grant a much-needed extra sparkle this Christmas.

So it was only fitting to cast the queen of Scottish drag to play a pantomime dame, one of the UK’s most cherished forms of drag.

It coincides with a bumper year for Irn-Bru, which – despite production worries after a carbon dioxide shortage – bounced back and became the it-drink of COP26.

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For those who may not know, Chaney won RuPaul’s Drag Race UK at what seems like the beginning of time – but was, in fact, earlier this year.

Hailing from Helensburgh, their early life resembled more Cinderella than the Fairy Godmother. Lawrence has previously spoken about being bullied, tied to a tree and chased in the streets.

Even after making it onto the enormously popular show, they struggled during a break of filming for Covid, admitting they were on Universal Credit and could barely afford food.

This then must feel pretty momentous for the 25-year-old. Almost like...a dream come true? (Sorry.)

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It’s hard not to root for Lawrence. I’ve only interviewed them twice – once before they won and once after – but they were warm and hilarious as they seem, and even remembered my name. Granted, it was probably because I share a first name with Ginny Lemon, a fellow drag queen.

Back then, Lawrence said just making it to the final of Drag Race was a “testament to queer people in general”. Since winning, they’ve released a book and are filming a mini-series in Hollywood.

And now it's wonderful to see them at the centre of one of Scotland’s biggest advertising campaigns. Well done, hen.

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