British-Iraqi drag performer Amrou Al-Kadhi shares first look at ‘radical’ queer love story Layla

A side-by-side image showing Layla creator Amrou Al-Khadi aka Glamrou wearing white makeup and showing a unicorn tattoo on their chest, and lead actor Bilal Hasna wearing a black t-shirt

Award-winning British-Iraqi drag performer Amrou Al-Kadhi, aka Glamrou, has shared a first look at their debut feature film Layla.

The film, starring Bilal Hasna as Layla and Louis Greatorex as Max, follows the story of Layla as British-Palestinian drag artist as they embark on a thrilling romance. 

The plot is set into motion after Layla performs at a belittling corporate Pride event but after meeting Max their confident facade is soon unravelled.

As Layla and Max’s worlds collide the film explores desire and identity, and will feature British drag stars such as Drag Race UK’s Baby and queer music star Self Esteem, aka Rebecca Lucy Taylor. 

Layla draws on Al-Kadhi’s own experiences as drag performer Glamrou, an area which they have explored in their award-winning memoir Life As A Unicorn: A Journey from Shame to Pride, and Everything in Between.

Al-Kadhi hopes to put on an “unapologetically joyous fairytale” to challenge the “trauma [which] is at the centre of so many of our stories on screen”.

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First look of Bilal Hasna as Layla. (Rob Baker Ashton)

They added: “In the current political climate, it feels like a radical act to tell a story that celebrates the queer experience. 

“Within what I hope will be an uplifting film for many, sits a story that explores the conflict between desire and identity; how does who we desire affect who we are, and in fact change who we are? 

“Layla’s thrilling romance with Max will make them question every aspect of themselves, in the way that only love can.”

Producer Savannah James-Bayly echoed these words, adding that it celebrates “the power of drag that unities humour and pathos in a way that will be familiar to anyone who has followed [Glamrou’s] career thus far.”

The film will showcase “vulnerability, comedy and sizzling chemistry,” she concluded.

Hasna and Greatorex star alongside Safiyya Ingar (What’s Love Got to Do with It?), Terique Jarrett (Find Me in Paris), Darkwah and Sarah Agha (Into the Badlands).

The film’s release date is still to be announced.