Ponyboy on creating gender euphoria through music and fashion
Fast becoming one of Glasgow’s most iconic queer club nights, we speak to Reece Marshall and Dill Dowdall of Ponyboy ahead of their Stereo takeover
Ponyboy, its name a nod to the late SOPHIE, is run by hairstylist Reece Marshall and their partner Dill Dowdall. The couple’s symbiotic talents came together in 2022, creating what has fast grown into a love letter to Glasgow’s trans community. Its presence combines queer aesthetics and clubs under one roof. Ponyboy leads the way in creating a space to platform and amplify queer beauty. While providing a service for Glasgow’s queer community through their studio, Reece creates queer accessible hairstyling, unique and ultimately scarce throughout the UK.
Trans inclusivity is paramount to Ponyboy. Dill and Reece have set boundaries to always include an inclusivity roster comprising of multiple people contained under the trans umbrella. From this Dill and Reece create their showcases. They describe their thought process – "We filter our versions for the look through the aesthetic of each person we work with. We want our performers to feel comfortable and the finished looks to feel like a fully realised collaborative spectacle. Our showcases aim to inspire gender euphoria wherever possible."
Since Ponyboy’s inception and debut showcase in November 2022, an emphasis on documenting the showcase’s looks has become integral to the night. Dill says: "We work with various photographers with the aim of contributing to the archives of queer beauty, as it pertains to Glasgow’s queer scene and other scenes we collaborate with." This element of the archival has recently attracted the nightclub Stereo to invite Ponyboy to curate a showcase on 10 February.
Stereo Presents: LSDXOXO x Ponyboy is one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by Dill and Reece, with a total of 20 DJs and performers on the line-up. Dill conceptualised the creative direction for the evening as ‘Freaks Deserve Love Too’. Ponyboy has also invited Glasgow makeup-artist MV Brown as a resident for 2023. Known for their high impact looks, this additional member of the Ponyboy showcase team will be sure to help elevate Reece and Dill’s runway-ready visions.
Dill leaks the planned collaborations for the showcase stating, "For Stereo, we wanted to showcase some of the amazing queer nights happening across Glasgow, like Orisha and Mojxmma at Bonjour and Joey Mousepad’s night Fast Muzik at Stereo, working collaboratively with the producers for each night to create something that feels fully realised and fun."
Aside from looking after 20 artists on the night of the 10th, Ponyboy, staying true to its core values, will create a safe space for queer bodies so that they can be their true authentic selves. Dill says: "The people attending will be encouraged to embody what they perceive to be a freak and what they perceive to be freaky within them. Whether that’s like fetish wear or as a moving art installation. We are going to try and create an evening that is slightly otherworldly, like alien. Think gender fuckery looks. But we’ll also be exploring different aesthetics. So, it’ll be like different iterations of freakiness basically."
Within Scotland there’s a minute number of nights offering what Ponyboy is. Alternating themes and aesthetics for parties, while offering a haven for queer people. Reece and Dill’s showcases come parties are strategically planned down to the smallest of details; a party which aims to warp perceptions of dwellers' experiences within a club environment. Dislocating normal club flows by breaking the evening up with wild performances, while effortlessly flowing into 160+ BPM pounding music.
The future for Ponyboy looks to be thrilling considering its first showcase was in November 2022 – rumours of a future exhibit documenting Reece and Dill's incredible looks seems to be at the forefront for the organisation, with a heavy desire to create a lookbook in the future. Subsequently, they plan to announce more residents to join Ponyboy’s permanent roster including DJs and artists. Vital to the couple is the continuing support for Bonjour, which is an extension of many Glaswegian queer people’s chosen family and are huge supporters of Ponyboy’s undertakings.
I asked Dill, what could future projects look like and is Ponyboy solely for Glasgow? "Primarily our showcases will happen in Glasgow at Bonjour as it is somewhere we can always guarantee to be a safe place. We are very much an embodiment of the coming together of the aesthetics of Glasgow’s queer scene and therefore it makes sense being here. But we also want to take opportunities on occasions to inspire other parts of the UK with the beauty and talent that exists here. We’d love to give our residents the opportunity to play in other cities and book some fun people to introduce to our community – encouraging cross-city queer networking, this is the future."
Photos by Tiu Makkonen