We chat to Ali, YDSA (Your Dad Sells Avon) event Founder. Read about how the company began and all about their next epic queer event below.
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So, tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get into running queer events?
My name is Ali and I live in Manchester. I’m of Iranian heritage and I’m very proud of that and try to integrate that into my life and image as much as possible.
I started to Gogo Dance post Lockdown at a bar in the village. From there, I got booked for more events and venues and with my day job, I rarely get a day off but I love it that way! I studied business and finance and work in Treasury in the day. I’ve always been involved different LGBTQ+ projects, especially for Charities like George House Trust and the LGBT Foundation.
After some Press attention I kind of became the Gogo guy and from there, the legend, Sophie Bee, who I call Queen Bee or essentially my events mum, offered me a role at this year’s HomoBloc to book and manage artists.
Quite recently I was offered the Events and Promotions role at the New club opening in the village called Area but was unable to do full time so I accepted the role of Performer & Artist Liaison at the weekends.
Talk to us through YDSA Events, how did that come about?
Well, I started to notice the lack of presence of POC, Non-Binary, Trans and Fat (I say fat because Fat isn’t a bad word, society made us believe it is) dancers and characters being featured on the posters, working in bars whether it be behind the bar or Gogo dancing on top of the bar.
There are so many artists and performers of the minority groups in LGBTQ+ community that are being looked over or exploited by established bars and venues and being paid in “Exposure” for 5 hour’s work doing a photoshoot or sent on the streets to flyer in full drag, sometimes in the rain for less than minimum wage.
I always wanted to start my own club night, so I bite the bullet and started a night called Your Dad Sells Avon // Queer Rave and only Exclusively hired Black, Trans, Non Binary and Fat/Thin Dancers, DJs, Photographer etc etc and featured them on all the social media, posters, flyers and campaigns. The YDSA Family is made up of Myself, Alexa Allana, Ruari Davis, Meme Gold, Ivy Profemme and Gert.
I agreed a very fair fee with everyone before the event but ended up paying everyone more as the night was a HUGE success and it sold out.
I basically have 2 goals with this brand. One is to give all talented queer artists a platform to showcase their magic and be paid for it and the other is to push for charity contributions. £1 from each ticket sale was donated to the George House Trust at the first event and this time we’ve chosen The LGBT Foundation.
I was telling Gert who is in the YDSA Fam, on Saturday that if I ever lose sight of what is important and why I started YDSA Events, please slap me and bring me back to this moment and refocus me and they laughed and agreed.
What is your coming out story? Sorry, but everyone loves a coming out story.
Honestly, I don’t have one. I went to college and came out as bi to friends and dated both girls and boys then got my first boyfriend at 18 and I guess I never looked back.
I was so lucky to have such loving and liberal parents (as being gay in Iran is punishable by death) to understand and accept me as I am. I didn’t have the same experience as many other middle eastern LGBTQ+ people who get thrown out of their home or disowned or stay in the closet and lead a “straight” life. For that, I count my blessing.
I never actually came out to parents. My mum kind of always knew as I grew up carrying a barbie, wearing dresses and despising everything football and football adjacent. I used to pretend I was Cinderella or Cosette from Les Miserable and clean the floor in a scullery maid’s outfit (Don’t ask why I had that but I did).
If you could use a magic telephone to call yourself at 15 years old what would you say?
Always trust your instinct and invest in Bitcoin. Oh, and moisturise.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I have a couple of pieces of advice and mantras that I follow daily.
My mum always said, “Don’t do things you don’t want to, just to please others” and I vibe with that.
In an interview Kate Moss said that Johnny Depp gave her a piece of advice that she’s always followed and that’s to “Always keep Private”, and I have followed this for the past 15 years. Not many people know the real me. Or should I say I don’t show the real me to many people. You will only see what I want you to see and I like that. Bit like Paris Hilton and her voice.
Worthy of mentioning is Oscar Wilde’s quote “The only thing worse than being talked about is, not being talked about”. More of a quote than a personal advice to me but I still go by it.
What do you think of the queer scene in Manchester, where do you go out?
The talent is unparalleled. The calibre of Queer artists, performers, creators, organisers and so on, is top notch! Having said that, the Queer nightlife is not what it was pre-lockdown. The village itself is COMPLETELY in void of any queer energy or representation. Some clubs are trying to use the Queer name to stay relevant but don’t hire any queer artist or performers or create a safe space for their POC staff.
Who’s your celebrity crush and why?
Kate Moss. The Marilyn Monroe of our generation. Don’t care what you say. Next.
When is your next event?
It is on the Saturday 04th February 2023.
This time I have listened to the previous customers and have acted on all of their feedback such as cloakroom, location, and last orders to name a few. Your Dad Sells Avon II is going to be at the Deaf Institute on Oxford Street featuring 7 DJs, 15 Dancers and performers, Laser show and other surprises across 3 floors playing 3 different genres. And a FvckPig Disco in the basement.
Tickets on sale now via www.ydsaevents.com
It’s gonna pop off. I just know it.
Thanks for chatting to the team Ali. Read about more Queer Events in our events section.
Last Updated on 21st December 2022 by Nonchalant Magazine