The Queen of Heartbreak opens up about her colourful artistry, charity shop gowns and silly, witty sense of humour.
What began as a means to make back the money lost from a withdrawn university scholarship for EVE HOWLETT (the result of a streaking session in her first year of studies) has now fully bloomed into a career as a life model, poet, wardrobe designer and performer.
As a member of The Secret Circus, Eve performed at an Alice In Wonderland themed event as an anti-love poet. And so, The Queen of Heartbreak was born. She is charming, quick-witted and just a little daft. “Pardon my alliteration,” she laughs, “but my performance poetry is piled high with puns and punchlines – period.”
Combining all of her creative endeavours, Howlett is a unique and fabulous artist emerging in Liverpool. “I would describe myself as an over-the-top colourful creative,” she says, “who has fingers in far too many pies and a wig collection so big, they’re arguing over who gets teased the most.” Her style, inspired by her parents’ fancy dress shop and whatever “diamond bargains” she can find at a car boot sale, is consistently quirky, bold and joyful. Performing at events such as Eat Me + Preach and A Lovely Word, Howlett showcases her fantastic handmade wardrobe with heels and eyelashes that could make RuPaul gag.
Howlett’s poetry is packed with hilarity and a jovial need to enjoy life. “I usually find some small spark,” she explains, “a fleeting funny moment, like a pigeon flying into my room or something, and I blurt out a poem. Or, I’ll take something that pisses me off and turn it something comedic to take the power away from it. I’ve always looked for the joke in everything to make myself laugh even if no one else is.”
At a time where we could all use a few more laughs, Howlett is coming into the spotlight with an ability to not be consumed by the anxiety pressing down on all of us. Reflecting on these uncertain times Howlett shares: “Years of financial anxiety prepared me for the pandemic.” She further explains: “Being self-employed and freelance since university, I think I’d got used to having to be adaptable when you don’t know where the next pay check is coming from.” Although naturally an unsettling time, Howlett acknowledges some positives taken from lockdown. “Having a lot of time on my hands suddenly did give me the time and space to develop The Queen of Heartbreak as opposed to doing a half-arsed last-minute version of my original vision like I had done in the past. Being able to connect with people around the world and perform for events I would never be able to is a massive silver lining.”
Her artistic career so far is packed with wild and wonderful adventures, with her experiences as a life model sparking a lot of joy and laughter for both Howlett and her fellow artists. “I’ve been talked into all kinds of mad stuff,” she reflects playfully, “like walking around in nothing but wellies filled with ink and water, pose on a trapeze, dance to YMCA and pretend to cook cardboard carrots in a cardboard pan.” As silly and wacky as these experiences have been, life modelling has been an enriching time for Howlett over the years. “After spending hours on end with nothing but yourself for company you have no choice but to experience every thought and feeling and, literally, sit with it,” she explains. “These are usually the times that I have time to think about creative ideas, write poems and think about what costume I’m going to wear next.”
Howlett has no intention of slowing down with plans of releasing her own poetry book and a Queen Of Heartbreak vajazzle collection. With a resolute ambition to constantly do things her way, Howlett is sure to continue on her path as an original, authentic artist. “The way I write my poems, the way I do my make-up, the outfits I put together, it’s rarely by consciously following influences,” she explains. “I’ve always been someone who just does whatever they feel is right.” Inspired by herself, Howlett is an ambassador for people speaking their own truth. “I’m not sure I ever grew out of doing everything my own way,” she says, and we hope she never does.
During a time of uncertainty where the worth of the arts has been called into question, Howlett reminds us that we are not as fragile as we may sometimes feel. “If you feel you have a bit to give, share the work of other artists, buy from independents and creatives, see if you can skill swap, see if you can collaborate,” she says. “And protest anything that tries to undermine the importance of creativity.” Howlett reminds us that we are not alone, we are valued and we matter. Our worth does not lie in the opinion of others and our validation comes only from within ourselves. She continues to encourage us to trust what our gut is urging us to do, and to smile while we are doing it.
Eve Howlett’s w0rk will be displayed at 92 Degrees Coffee as part of Liverpool Nudes 2 exhibition. Now extended until 31st October.