Meet the skateboard coach that also combines rap with drag

Lewis/Barby Wire, a skateboard coach who performs as a rapper when in drag.

Lewis/Barby Wire, a skateboard coach who performs as a rapper when in drag. - Credit: Charlie Prothero

A 25-year-old who is a skateboard coach by day and a drag rapper by night hopes to show others they do not have to choose between their passions. 

Lewis, 25, who lives in Ipswich, has his own skateboard coaching company, but also is a performer, drag rapper Barby Wire.

The Ipswich resident has been an avid skater since the age of 10.

He said: "Skateboarding is such a fun thing and it never ends. There is so much to learn and it's a great community to be involved in."

In 2018, Lewis started his own business called 'Two-Toed Skateboards', a company which teaches people how to skate all around Suffolk. 

"I love teaching and did it throughout previous jobs.

"In 2017 I volunteered as a skate coach in Kesgrave for a summer skate school. I got qualified as a skate coach and then decided I really liked it and wanted to do something myself."

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Lewis has also been writing his own music since he was 16.

"I started writing raps for fun mostly and would do them for my friends for a laugh. I started to enjoy that more and more and always wanted to do something with music.

"When it comes to drag, I always felt a bit, dare I say different, and even in high school, I occasionally wore women's clothes and would get some comments about that.

Lewis set up his own company called 'Two Toed Skateboards". She also performs drag going by the name Barby Wire

Lewis set up his own company called 'Two Toed Skateboards". She also performs drag going by the name Barby Wire - Credit: Charlie Prothero

"I watched a lot of [Ru Paul's] Drag Race but didn't see drag as an option myself until I watched other styles of drag and saw Dragula.

"I dabbled around with drag and decided in October 2019 to go out in drag for the first time to my work's Halloween party.

"I started drag a bit more but always wanted to perform. Then I realised, what would I do? I'm a horrible dancer and I can't lip sync. So this is when I thought I would merge my music and drag together.

"It took me time to really think of who I am and what my music is. I can certainly say that now, I don't define and separate myself and my fashion in and out of drag, although I still call it drag, I see my drag as an extension of myself rather than a persona or something. It's all just me."