Cis female queen TeTe Bang spills the tea on Drag Race ‘tokenism’ as she launches new sneaker range

TeTe Bang.

Drag queen and Drag SOS star TeTe Bang is here to break down barriers in the male-dominated sneaker world.

The cis gendered female drag performer has teamed up with eBay to celebrate and advocate for “bae sizing”.

The concept of bae sizing emerged after many female sneaker lovers had to opt for male sneakers in small sizes, due to a lack of choice from female collections.

She’s curated her own edit of sneakers on the marketplace, which is home to more than 30,000 pairs of women’s sneakers.

TeTe wants to highlight the collections so sneaker lovers can find inclusive and unique designs for their personal style, drag outfits and more.

We’ve caught up with her to chat everything about the eBay collection, as well as her experiences as a cis gendered female drag performer and what she thinks about inclusiveness on Drag Race UK.

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As a sneaker fan yourself, is shopping for them something that you’ve struggled with as a cis woman?

It’s something that I personally have had to deal with my entire life, often the high street just doesn’t cater towards women. Most of the really cool styles and exciting releases are all for men, so quite often we have to wear small men’s sizes. This is the only way to not settle for bland shoes, be a part of the sneakerhead movement and express our personal style.

Do you feel like the sneakerhead movement has always been a male dominated space?

It’s so traditionally male and it’s not until you start wanting to express yourself and have fun with your fashion that you really realise. We’ve becoming less gendered with the way we dress and women are getting really into sneakers in the same way that men were. Men have traditionally taken up that space, but now we want to have a go. When I wear heels it destroys me so I literally only wear trainers.

Tell us more about bae sizing and teaming up with eBay for your own edit?

We’re trying to advocate for more diverse sizes, so that we have part in the game. It’s really great to be able to have something like eBay marketplace where you can buy a huge variety of shoes and other items that sell out and know that they’re authentic and good quality. eBay give you access to amazing collections of shoes, including one-offs and collabs, and they get them independently authenticated to make sure they’re the real deal, so you’re not buying knock-off shoes – which I have done in the past because they look great, but then they fall apart in a few weeks

Why would you recommend eBay for sneaker shopping as opposed to high street chains and online fast fashion brands?

The British high street in particular is not good for women’s sneakers at all, it’s so drab in terms of the colours and styles, I feel like brands don’t want to take risks with women’s shoes as much. It’s all about being thrifty too, I’ve bought second hand shoes, I’ve upcycled and you can get those on eBay too so we can be eco-friendly while shopping.

Does eBay’s sneaker selection feature inclusive sizes for all women?

It’s super broad – I’m a size seven so I can sometimes fit into men’s – but there’s sizes for everyone in every style. And not everyone has the money to buy really high end exclusives, there’s really something for everyone.

TeTe Bang has curated her own edit of women's sneakers with eBay featuring inclusive sizes.

TeTe Bang has curated her own edit of women’s sneakers with eBay featuring inclusive sizes.

You appeared on Channel 4’s Drag SOS and recently Victoria Scone was a contestant on Drag Race UK, which is great for representation, but do you feel like mainstream television still has a long way to go?

People often tell us “shut up, be happy, you got what you wanted”, but there’s still much tokenism involved in it. Can you imagine how it must have felt for Victoria Scone going in completely alone into that situation, knowing that there was nobody there that had the same experience as she did, nobody saw the world the way that she saw the world. When you put somebody who is a minority in a situation with 10 predominantly cis men that’s still tokenism, it’s not equality.

Do you feel like this lack of representation on queer television shows is a detriment to viewers?

People that have had different life experiences have different stories to tell. I love a twink in a wig! But there’s only so much 10 twinks in a wig can say, they have the same experiences, the same outlook on life. So by having a more diverse cast, you’re having more narratives and perceptions so the show you produce is going to be more interesting.

Since Drag Race UK launched, there’s been an appetite for live drag shows across the country, do you feel like this gives performers who aren’t on the show more opportunities, particularly minorities?

I’m cast on these shows as an outsider, it’s not my tour. We only have a certain amount of things we can do to create more diversity and most of the time that’s just being visible, we would love to see those people who have the power advocate for more diversity and look at their lineups and be like “ok does this represent the entire community or does this only represent 10 percent” and they’re the ones that have the power to do that.

People ask us all the time “what should we be doing”, but minorities are not the ones with the power, the big bosses are. Sometimes you get offered these gigs and you know you’re the token, but it’s like “if I don’t do it then there’s not going to be any diversity on the lineup”, so you have a battle with yourself: “I know I’m playing into this thing, but ultimately if I don’t do it who’s going to do it?” It’s difficult.

To shop TeTe’s edit of women’s sneakers head to eBay here.