The last decade has been a journey for House Mothers, their children, and the ballrooms where their craft sits centre stage. Instead of being laughed at and pointed at,” Devine, the west coast mother of the House of Gorgeous Gucci, says, we are admired and revered for our beauty and talent to the point where people see the worth in it.” 

The publics perception of these illuminating people has changed significantly. Part of that boils down to how often, and where, we see them in contemporary society. With the reality competition show Legendary killing it on HBO, a house music resurgence underway, in which the voices of ball and voguing cultures most prolific figures a la Paris is Burning are sampled (see: Fierce by Azealia Banks) and the mainstream success of FXs Pose, our curiosity in the effervescent art form is greater than ever. 

Those living in large cities might stumble into gay clubs quite often, but finding a ball – a far more energetic, impulsive setting with roots that stretch back decades – is rare. To find them – and participate within them – requires a certain amount of knowhow and respect for the scene. 

Whether youre a fresh-faced beginner or already have plenty of knowledge of how things go down on the ball scene, the CÎROC Ball, held this Thursday 30 June at Londons Koko, looks set to be a bombastic and exciting experience, as five Mothers from across the globe bring their houses to Camden for one night only. They include the aforementioned Devine; Lola, the overall Mother of House of Gorgeous Gucci; Sinia Alaïa of the House of Alaïa; Ms Black America winner Stasha Sanchez; and ballroom commentator Jusss Kelly. 

Jusss Kelly

Held in celebration of the 50th anniversary of London Pride – and with proceeds from the event being donated to Not A Phase, a charity supporting safe spaces for trans and gender non-conforming people – these five stars will be bringing their houses to the stage to compete in a ballroom to end all ballrooms. Overseeing the whole affair will be scene mainstay-slash-Pose star and executive producer, Jack Mizrahi, alongside co-hosts Shon Faye and Jonny Woo. 

The House Mothers all have their game faces on: The objective of my CÎROC Iconic Ball House is to represent ballroom at its finest by bringing the energy and feeling of what its like to be a house family with talents and highlighting them in such a way that you can never forget the moment or a time in history,” House of Gorgeous Guccis Mother Lola says. We are bringing fashion, glamour and unity.”

Jusss puts it more simply: The other houses are not ready!”

Stasha Sanchez

Theyre all competing in five categories (one for each decade of London Pride), sending forth their most worthy children to incite hysteria and full marks from the judges. Its time to Vogue for the 1970s, through which the houses will honour Ted Brown, one of London Prides founders who famously staged a mass kiss-in at Trafalgar Square. Sinia is the House Mother to watch here: She reckons she and her children will sweep the boards here, but we love any category we can where we can serve our fierce ferociousness,” she adds. The 1980s, of course, are all about fashion, celebrating the power looks of the iconic DJ Ritu. To mark the arrival of the UKs gay culture explosion, the 1990s are all about Face. (Lola is legendary when it comes to dominating the Face category: Its only right I send out my pearls,” she says.) For the new millennia, the Houses will celebrate the transgender community in a Best Dressed category (pink, white and blue colours only!), inspired by pioneering club night founder Vicki Lee, before rounding it out with a full-bodied rainbow runway moment for the 2010s. 

This stage and platform, inside a huge, storied venue like Koko, is a sign of gears shifting in the ballroom scene. Stasha Sanchez has been part of the scene since the mid-90s, and has seen many different iterations of it throughout that time. When she first started, I wanted to showcase the glamour, the rhinestones, the feathers, the furs, the sculpted hair, the jewellery and all that, and I think the most significant change for me is how people crave that now when they didnt want to see it at one point,” she says.

The platforms are getting bigger. The house mothers and their children are taking up more space, as they should. It just shows that the world gets to see that were so glamorous and were beautiful,” Stasha adds, shouting out her trans sisters and brothers. The world gets to see the beauty of all of us.”

The CÎROC Ultra-Premium Vodka Iconic Ball will be held on 30 June at KOKO in Camden