Drag Superstar and self proclaimed “Clown In A Gown” sensation Bianca Del Rio Tells GAYPV Travel Magazine about her first appearance in Puerto Vallarta. The Almar Group is bringing her as part of the entertainment during Puerto Vallarta Gay Pride held May 24-31, 2021. However, she is NOT included in the group of legendary drag superstars headlining the 1st drag cruise stopping in Puerto Vallarta in January 2022.
Was there a catfight over top billing credits Or was it something more deliberate by Bianca Del Rio? Is Lady Bunny pissed and not speaking to Bianca anymore? Find out why here.
Lights! Camera! Green screen! It’s the top five and we’re making an award-winning, boundary-pushing, history-making work of cinema! Or, you know, a silly sketch.
But first! Symone’s “favorite strange little being on Earth” Utica Queen has gone home and Symone is desperate to claw her way back from the bottom. She says she’s determined to figure out how to change something in her head. Oh, my love, if you figure it out let me know the secret!
It’s a new day in the work room and Kandy says the other queens are her best friends — Symone tells her to wait until she watches the confessionals. Ru walks in with a mustache and announces the maxi challenge: a movie called Henny, I Shrunk the Drag Queens.
Symone and Kandy both want to play Dominique, the villain. The other role left is Margarita, the smart one, and while it makes more sense for that to go to Symone, I think her instinct to play against type is wise. Eventually she concedes and all the queens end up in their expected roles — Kandy and Symone joined by Rosé as the funny one, Gottmik as the ditzy one, and Olivia as the sweet one.
The queens are learning their lines and putting together their outfits when they’re interrupted by a video call from Scarlett Johansson. Drag Race is a complicated show to love, but something about this appearance felt gross and cynical even for RuPaul. For those of you who don’t know, in 2018 Scarlett Johansson signed on to play a trans man in a movie called Rub & Tug. When she was criticized for this decision she doubled down saying that all criticism “can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” Not only does this statement ignore the progress made since those cis actors played trans characters, but citing Tambor, a cis man who sexually harassed multiple trans actresses, was especially egregious. This also happened right after she faced similar criticism for playing a character in Ghost in the Shell who was originally Japanese. In a 2019 interview she confirmed her views on casting saying, “As an actor I should be able to play any person, or any animal, or any tree.”
Casting isn’t the only reason Johansson should be critiqued. She’s also more pro-Israel than the UN and the Red Cross and she’s one of the few actors to still adamantly defend Woody Allen who was accused of molesting his daughter Dylan — among a variety of other abusive behaviors all outlined in the stellar HBO docuseries Allen v. Farrow. The fact is Scarlett Johansson should not have been on Drag Race nor should she continue to have her star power. Do you know how hard it is to be Jack Antonoff’s most problematic ex? It’s not even like she’s a good actor. Across eight Marvel movies, she’s shown two emotions. Mickey Rourke hasn’t moved his face since the 90s and he’s still more expressive in Iron Man 2. Johansson’s acting is so wooden as Black Widow maybe her life goal really is to play a tree. Actually, I’d love to see her get a role like that or any role like her career best as the AI voice in Her — basically anything where I no longer have to look at her face.
As if Johansson’s appearance isn’t bad enough, she’s joined by her husband, Colin Jost, who in 2016 blamed trans people for Hillary Clinton losing the election. Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost are the opposite of a power couple. But anyone who knows anyone in Hollywood knows that Jost is about as faithful as Naomi Smalls on All Stars. So when I say they deserve each other, I really, truly mean it.
Anyway, back to the show that wants praise for casting its first transmasc queen during its 13th season. Michelle and Carson are directing the movie and Carson starts by making a joke about small dicks. I’m sure it’s a lot of fun for Gottmik to try and work while experiencing this endless wave of microaggressions!
Symone appears to be struggling. She’s still in her head about losing the part to Kandy and she falls into what Olivia calls “her acting voice.” But Olivia is falling into her own acting voice — sweet diva. Meanwhile, Kandy Muse is chewing scenery as the villain and Rosé is once again showing off that BFA with some legit acting. Also a legit actor? Gottmik! To her own surprise, Gottmik has blossomed into an excellent dramatic performer. And by dramatic performer I mean really selling it as she’s attacked by a giant cat paw with her ass out. She says she’s having so much fun that she maybe wants to become an actor. Wow a real trans actor! With real charisma! Whaddya know!
Back in the workroom, Symone says she wants to do well and to not disappoint anyone. She feels the pressure of living up to Gigi and the level of quality brought by the House of Avalon. In the confessional, she starts to cry saying that she doesn’t want people to say she fizzled out. Symone isn’t the first Capricorn queen but she is the first CAPRICORN queen, for better or worse.
The queens start discussing the first time they saw themselves represented on screen. Olivia cites the Brandy/Whitney Cinderella. Gottmik says she never saw herself on TV. Even when Chaz Bono came out and she started seeing some transmasc representation, she felt alienated by their masculinity. She says if she saw someone like her she could’ve shaved years off her journey. She hopes to be that representation for someone else — evidence that trans people don’t have to be Barbie and Ken. Or, maybe, in her case, that trans men can be Barbie too.
Ru, Michelle, and Carson are joined by an Oscar-nominated actor who actually has talent — Lena Waithe’s mistress Cynthia Erivo! Watch Widows, listen to her version of “I’m Here” from The Color Purple — Cynthia Erivo is amazing. Truly baffling to have Cynthia Erivo literally on set and to conference in Johansson to say: “Acting is all about making a situation that’s unreal feel very real.” Thanks Stanislavski.
The runway theme this week is Haute Pocket. Symone’s entire outfit is a denim pocket with a zipper. She’s wearing an orange wig and says the look is a tribute to Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore — and a fellow Capricorn! She looks amazing even for Symone who always looks amazing. Olivia is in a diamond themed dress that’s pretty but light on pockets. Rosé is in a phenomenal black and white mod dress that she reveals by flinging off an equally phenomenal cape. Kandy is in a Japanese-inspired dress with dangling linked pockets that doesn’t quite work. And Gottmik is wearing a trench coat which she opens to reveal watches for sale and a dress made of watches. It’s such a good look!!
Henny, I Shrunk the Drag Queens is one of the longer sketches the show has ever done, but it held my attention. All the queens were good — including Symone much to my relief — but Rosé and Gottmik were really the stand outs. There are a lot of fun bits like Michelle stealing the queens’ makeup and the cat attack on Gottmik.
The judges love Symone, Gottmik, and Rosé. Cynthia tells Rosé that her look is her wet dream and reminds her of Sweet Charity. (This was very exciting to me because I was asked on a podcast this week what musical I’d want to queer and my answer was a trans Sweet Charity!) The judges are harsh on Olivia and Kandy not because they’re bad per say, but because this is the top five and it’s a really stellar group of queens.
Ru then asks them who should go home. They all say Olivia except Olivia who says nothing. It seems like she wants to say herself but eventually she concedes and says Kandy. Gottmik and Symone are safe. Rosé wins! And Olivia and Kandy are lip syncing.
The song is “Strong Enough” by Cher and maybe I’m just feeling sentimental because we’ve been with these queens so long, but this was one of my favorite lip syncs… ever?? Olivia and Kandy just seem to be having so much fun and, more importantly, so much fun together. My favorite lip syncs are when the queens interact either sexually or in friendship. There’s a real fondness between them and it’s a joy to watch. Also Kandy has a glitter moment and who doesn’t love that?
Kandy shantays and Olivia sashays. I love Olivia, but this is pretty much my dream top four! Ru might upset me. The show might upset me. But I love these queens and I love getting to see them work.
Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:
+ Kandy is happy she won last week explicitly because former drag family members Aja and Dahlia never won a challenge on their seasons. I love her.
+ Rosé is wearing butch hair and Kandy says it makes her miss her baby Joey Jay. Cue dreamy montage.
+ If Symone is the quintessential Capricorn drag queen, Hayley Williams is the quintessential Capricorn musician. “The Only Exception” is like the most romantic song ever to me and her two recent solo albums are soooo good and speak to my Capricorn walls soooo much especially “Pure Love.”
+ The movie sketch is filled with fun references, but my favorite is the tiny queens walking by a lipstick with “Dela” written on it.
+ Gottmik says her look was inspired by the guy selling sundials in Hercules rather than, you know, real people selling watches out of their trench coat. I love Gen Z himbo bimbo and future Oscar winner Gottmik!!
+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone
+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Symone
+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: Gottmik being attacked by a giant cat paw
The library has reopened! It’s time for the most painful challenge of the season: the roast. Who will make us laugh? Who will make us cringe? Who will make us laugh and cringe? You truly never know!
But first we begin with Tina’s elimination. Utica says she’s heartbroken, because Tina was such a great sister. She starts to cry and says she thinks Tina deserved to stay. Never! Say! This! Once a queen says something like this it’s proof that they’re ready to go. This competition is too hard to be in it unless you want it with every part of you. But in the confessional Utica is bragging up about sending home a legend?? Utica isn’t just kooky — she’s baffling.
It’s a new day in the work room and Symone is excited to have her fourth win — while Kandy is desperate for her first. The mini challenge is a live make up tutorial selling the new palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills. (Product placement!) They split into pairs — one of them is the face and one is the hands. This leads to more comedy than the actual roast as the queens poke and prod at each other’s faces. Kandy makes a mess of Rosé. Symone sells Olivia’s paint job. And Gottmik is a usual make up tutorial pro but with Utica’s wildly long arms. Rosé and Kandy win!
The roast this season is the Nice Girls Roast. Three Miss Congeniality winners from past seasons — Heidi N Closet, Nina West, and Valentina — are the main subjects. And since Rosé and Kandy won the mini challenge they get to pick the order. For some reason they both want to open?? My only roasting experience is a roast my friends and I foolishly put on in high school that led to A LOT OF DRAMA, but I have watched about 20 seasons of Drag Race and never have the queens been fighting over first and last. Kandy ends up with first and Rosé ends up with last and cheers to their confidence I guess!
The energy in the work room is a delight as the queens get into the roasting spirit. Roasting is my personal love language and it’s such a joy to see these weeks of sisterhood manifest in a barrage of funny insults.
Michelle and Loni Love help the queens in rehearsal. They advise Kandy to think of jokes that won’t require bleeping. (RIP A’whora.) They encourage Gottmik to tell her very funny jokes with confidence. They call out Symone for being an overthinker. And they tell Utica to just… stop? Everything she is doing? She’s being so mean!! Olivia isn’t very good and Rosé is great. Often the rehearsal isn’t indicative of the show… but this time it was!
The Miss Congeniality queens are introduced first. Nina West walks out in a pride flag because she thinks a collar saying “love is love” is activism — the “political queen” bar is on the fucking floor when you’re white. She’s joined by fan favorite Valentina who looks perfect, beautiful, and like Linda Evangelista and Heidi N Closet who is GORGEOUS! It’s so fun seeing queens who had fewer resources fucking shine after their season and Heidi is shining.
Also looking hot? Kandy Muse who opens the show as a blonde. She jokes about Valentina’s appearance in Rent: Live saying her Angel needed an angel. Overall, she absolutely kills. Unfortunately she’s followed by Symone who bombs and Utica who bombs even harder. Neither Symone nor Utica took any of Loni and Michelle’s notes! Jokes about appearance are expected in a Drag Race roast, but they have to be funny and Utica’s are not funny — they’re just fatphobic.
Utica’s performance reminded me of Farrah Moan’s in All Stars 3. Some queens who don’t skew naturally towards mean just cannot figure out the difference between a joke and an attack. And Utica has been struggling with this all season — like when she pulled out a notebook full of reads to share while the queens were on a meal break. Utica’s trying so hard to fit into catty drag queen culture so she can make friends and do well in the competition, but it just does not work for her.
Thankfully, Gottmik follows with a stellar set. She makes a joke about UTIs which just goes to show the variety of material trans queens can bring to the show! The best joke in her set is probably one directed at Ru: “I’m such a big fan of you and your work and all of your hit song.” Ru loves a joke that starts with praise.
Olivia follows and tries to play on her sweet energy as a bit but it just falls flat. And Rosé closes the show — without cards — and kills it. She was better in rehearsal, but at least it wasn’t a case of crushing it in rehearsal and bombing on stage. She gives the impression that even her worst comedy show would be better than most because she is A Pro. She jokes about Heidi trying to fuck her in New York saying, “The only thing thirstier than Heidi N Closet are her make up brushes.”
But even Rosé jokes about Nina West’s size and while again jokes about appearance are to be expected — and can work when they’re actually clever — it still felt lazy to me. Why make fun of Nina’s shoulders when she looks like the spawn of a DNC drag brunch and Old Navy’s Pride Collection? I can think of few queens more deserving of some proper digs than Nina and she got none. This is why I’m disappointed Symone didn’t do better. Instead of tripping her up with overthinking, Symone’s intelligence could’ve led to deeper jokes than the other queens.
The judges mostly say what’s expected but frankly are nicer to the queens who bombed than they deserve. They point out that Symone still looks incredible even if her comedy sucked which is correct and true. Loni praises Rosé while acknowledging that she did better in rehearsal. Michelle agrees but still compares her to Bianca del Rio.
Rosé is safe. Gottmik is safe. And Kandy finally gets that win!! I love Kandy and I love being right. I’ve loved her from the beginning and it’s been a joy to watch her grow as a person and a queen. Based on Twitter discourse, people still seem to really hate her, but who cares because those are random people on Twitter and she is a top five RPDR queen! Never doubt someone with lesbian moms!
Olivia is safe. Symone and Utica lip sync to “No Tears Left to Cry.” Thank God Symone kills it because I really do have no tears left to cry — I have a follow up eye doctor appointment about it next week. Utica is sent away and we have our top five.
While I’d swap Denali in for Olivia — yeah I’m still not over it! — I think this is possibly the best top five since season three. We’re coming to the end and I feel air welling up in my empty tear ducts.
Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:
+ Who was the top five of season three? Carmen Carrera, Yara Sofia, Alexis Mateo, Manila Luzon, and Raja. Throw in Shangela at six and you get why it is and will probably always be my favorite season of the show.
+ Have you seen Heidi N Closet’s WAP parody, GAP, featuring Widow Von Du??
+ Speaking of Heidi, I love that Ru spent her whole season saying that her name sucked and she should change it and she… just… didn’t. Obsessed.
+ If you think I’m being harsh on Nina, I’d like to remind you of the time she appeared on The View to call Meghan McCain an honorary Ru girl. This would bother me from any queen, but I find it especially unconscionable given Nina markets herself as an activist. It’s really disappointing that Monet X Change did the segment as well but I think it angers me less with her because she never made “LGBT Rights” her whole thing. Or maybe I’m just making excuses because I like Monet? The fact is it was really disappointing from both of them and Nina continues to annoy me. She has the political intelligence of a Prop 8-era GSA president.
+ If you want a queen who is actually political look to Bob, look to Peppermint, look to The Vixen who deserved so much better from this show and its fans.
+ Kandy’s bleeped joke was calling Valentina Miss Cuntgeniality.
+ After being told to shantay, Symone said, “Not again. Not again.” And I believe her.
+ During Untucked, Utica continues to baffle, but admits that there are things she should’ve worked out for herself personally before coming on the show. I’m not sure what she’s talking about and I’ll respect her by not speculating, but I truly wish her the best as she navigates her newfound fame. Valentina tells the queens that the hardest part of the experience isn’t filming, but figuring out your career in its aftermath. I feel like Utica could really struggle or really come into herself and I hope it’s the latter!
+ Before leaving, Utica admits that she asked Olivia out on a date and Olivia said yes! I would like more details about whether this date has happened! Did they meet in the park with masks on and have a picnic six feet apart??? Did they get tested and fuck in a hotel room??? The options are endless.
Two contestants of Drag Race Down Under now face charges of racism from fellow contestants.
Scarlet Adams and Karen from Finance, two current contenders on the program, both issued apologies for past behavior. In the case of Adams, a series of old social media posts resurfaced showing the drag performer wearing a Native American headdress, a burka, and–most disturbingly–yellow and blackface as part of previous drag outfits. The images came to light after a fellow drag performer, Felicia Foxx, reposted them on social media.
“It makes me sick to my core to see numerous people in the LGBTQ+ community who are profiting off of making a mockery and disrespecting peoples cultures,” Foxx wrote in an Instagram post. “My people & our culture is not a joke for anyone, especially privileged dominating cultures to make a mockery out of us!”
Adams made a quick apology facing social media blowback. She had previously apologized for the drag looks in July 2020.
“There is no way to sugar-coat it, when I was a teenager roughly 8 years ago I performed in blackface/cultural appropriation. I was young and I was ignorant. I am no longer that person,” Adams said in her new apology via Instagram stories. “I know I will never understand what it’s like to be a person of color, But I have been hurt before and to think that I made someone else feel that way is an unfathomable feeling.”
Related: 10 Things This Season Of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Taught Us About Gay Racism
“Felicia, I’m so sorry you had to see this and I feel awful, I have so much respect for you. I have addressed this a few times,” Adams also wrote in a direct apology to Foxx. “It’s on my Instagram at the very top under highlights. It’s a past I’m very not proud of and wish I could go back and not do. I have spent my career trying to right these wrongs from my teenage years. And will continue to strive to be a better person and ally for all marginalized communities. I’m not that person anymore. I am sorry.”
Meanwhile, fellow Drag Race Down Under contender Karen from Finance issued an apology for a tattoo of a golliwog doll, a rag doll traditionally used as a caricature of black people. She originally claimed to have gotten the tattoo as a memorial of her golliwog dolls growing up.
“In the spirit of being open and upfront with my friends, family and followers I would like to address and formally apologize for a part of my past – something that I’ve long been remorseful for and admittedly ashamed to share,” she wrote. “Eleven years ago, I had a collection of golliwog dolls – a collection that began when I was two years old – and I made the uninformed, ignorant and regrettable decision to have one of these dolls tattooed. In the years following, and more notably after being interviewed by someone writing an opinion piece in a tattoo magazine, I realized how insensitive and hurtful this was.”
“Even though there was of course never any intention of malice,” she continued, “I realized how irresponsible and stupid I had been and so I disposed of the dolls to landfill and had my tattoo covered. Since then, I’ve committed to an ongoing journey of accountability, activism and education, and to uncover and unlearn any and all racial bias – conscious or unconscious – that may or may not be embedded within me. It has always been important to me that I use my platform for good whilst ensuring a safe community for anyone I am fortunate enough to have follow my journey.”
“I can’t change the past,” Karen concluded, “but I can and will work on the present and do better in the future, and with that you forever have my word.”
The apologies come just over a week since the announcement of the first Drag Race Down Under roster, which includes both Adams and Karen from Finance. World of Wonder, the company behind the Drag Race franchise has yet to respond to allegations against either queen.
Drag Race Down Under will air later this year, though a final release date has yet to be announced.
Theatre kids, this is our moment. Get a ride from an upperclassman, sit next to your crush at IHOP, rank your favorite songs from Rent, and complain about your part, because, baby, we’re doing a Rusical!
Okay, I know Snatch Game is the episode most Drag Race fans look forward to each year, but I’m a gay musical theatre nerd and nothing brings me more joy than some drag show tunes. Why do you think my Youtube search history is filled with Jinkx Monsoon singing Sondheim? Anyway, I was very excited for this episode AND IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT.
We begin with LaLa’s elimination and tensions are high. Utica says she’s helping others succeed beyond her. Denali is mad she wasn’t in the top. The queens are getting catty and anyone could go home.
But that’s not going to stop the lovefest! The next week Kandy talks about how after the competition they should all get a house together in California. Only sensible Capricon Symone shoots down the idea. Rosé says the trade would be ridiculous and Kandy reveals herself to be monogamous for her one and only Joey Jay. Cue dreamy Joey Jay montage.
The Rusical this year is social media themed. Denali wants to be either Lady Tweets or the sexy character Foxy. After giving her preferred part to Olivia last week, Utica insists — she’s playing Lady Tweets. But Rosé is a musical theatre queen and Foxy is the lead role and now she’s insisting too! As Denali and Rosé fight, Gemini Utica says, “I feel like I caused all this drama and I love it.” Elliott suggests they audition and Rosé gets the part. Denali is stuck being a Russian bot with Gottmik.
The queens receive a (virtual) guest visit from the Hollywood star with the biggest theatre kid energy — Anne Hathaway!! I am baffled that Anne Hathaway is a controversial figure as I have always loved her, but maybe that’s just because of my own theatre kid energy and because I’ve seen Rachel Getting Married. The queens are all geeking out in their confessionals and while others cite The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, Symone cites my childhood fave Ella Enchanted, because Symone is the best.
Rosé asks Anne if she’s ever had to fight for a part and she reveals that she was the 9th choice for The Devil Wears Prada. Worried about her scene partner, Gottmik then asks for her advice if you don’t get the part you want. Anne says you steal the show anyway. Denali follows up for accent tips and she tells her instead of playing an accent play a character who happens to have that accent. She ends by saying, “One last thing: Don’t f… orget to have fun!” She’s such a geek. I love her.
The queens record their singing parts and Tina again accuses Olivia of being a secret diva. If by “secret diva” she means Olivia can sing, then she’s right, because turns out Olivia Can Sing! Symone, unfortunately, cannot and so begins her struggles for the episode.
During the choreography session, Jamal Sims tells Symone that she needs to stop worrying about her technique and fake her way through it with energy. Meanwhile, Rosé has enough energy for everyone, because I have never seen a queen want to win a challenge so badly. Denali appears in better spirits after her Hatha-wake-up-call and Gottmik struggles to keep up with the far better dancer. But they’re both having a good time with their goofy Russian accents. Tina says they sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but at least they don’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tina Burner.
The producer prompt this week — asked ever so authentically by Utica — is whether the queens have become jaded with social media. Kandy says that after Aja’s famous Linda Evangelista speech, Valentina fans came for Aja and her whole family including Kandy — for years. Rosé then brings up Tina being Graham Norton’s ex, a true thing that is true! Denali then pivots the conversation to one of my favorite topics: celebrity crushes. Symone says hers is Mr. Nicole Ari Parker himself Boris Kodjoe. Tina says Uncle Jesse which I assume means John Stamos. And Denali — who remember brought up this topic — says the animated Hercules and Aladdin. Look, I’m not judging. Whomst among us didn’t have animated Disney crushes? (Shoutout to Belle, Megara, and not Disney but very important to me Anastasia.)
RUSICAL TIME! Tina is playing the Emshe and look I know I like to rag on Tina, but I am going to do so once again, because how can you remove all the sex appeal out of a Fosse reference?? Olivia is dressed in Mark Zuckerberg drag which means casual college student and it’s very hot. Rosé is doing a sort of sexy Eduardo Saverin thing and the duo just really did a lot for me.
It then turns into a “Cell Block Tango” reference with the different social media platforms. Symone is Instagram and for the first time in the competition falls flat. She keeps her sunglasses on the whole time and her insecurities are obvious. Utica is playing Twitter and her bit is a parody of “Modern Major General.” It’s a lot of words and a lot of wacky choreo but she nails it. Kandy is LinkedIn and is SO HOT. I know, I know — shocker that I’m turned on by the queen playing a businesswoman, but oh my. Elliott is TikTok and is supposed to be doing a Billie Eilish thing but is just boring.
Then Rosé comes back out complaining that her accounts keep getting suspended for showing too much skin. It’s a parody of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” and she does Barbra proud. Then Gottmik and Denali come out as the bots and they both do so good in their parody of “America” from West Side Story. It’s then revealed that Tina was Friendster the whole time, but the moment falls a bit flat because Tina is a bit flat. Finally, the whole thing ends with a Les Mis parody about the noble pursuit of truth and weeding out online lies. Overall, a strong Rusical if not quite among the top tier.
The runway theme is yellow! Tina and Elliott are both taxis and I wish someone would drive them off the runway. Olivia is beyond gorgeous in a stunning gown and big ostrich feather puffs. Symone describes her look as “Big Bird went to the hood and got transformed into a pimp” and lucky for me and all of us that includes suspenders. Utica is wearing a 14th century sideless gown and has a whole geeky backstory about it which is very cute. Denali is a python princess, Medusa-hair included. Gottmik is a bondage crash dummy. Kandy is beautiful in an homage to “Hold Up” Beyoncé with added sunflowers in her hair. And Rosé is dressed like Jim Carrey in The Mask. She describes herself as a cartoon character come to life, so I bet Denali was into it.
Utica, Olivia, and Elliott (ugh) are safe. Tina, Symone, and Kandy (??) are in the bottom. And Rosé and the Russian bots are the top. I honestly don’t remember most of the judges’ critiques because I was SO NERVOUS. I know I love Kandy more than most, but I really didn’t understand how she was in the bottom over Elliott! This is drag. Why would anyone want consistent mediocrity over someone hot with heart and personality??
Rosé wins and I was thrilled for her. Last year, the show broke Jan when she didn’t win the Rusical, and I’m glad that didn’t happen to another of Stephanie’s children! But this is when the celebration ceased. Because Tina fucking Burner was declared safe, which meant Kandy and Symone were left to lip sync for their life.
I WAS SO SAD. I watched the performance dreading the outcome either way — while, yes, also hoping they would at least make out before one of them went home. No make outs, but their performance of Fifth Harmony’s “Bo$$” was very good. Thankfully, the Symone that was missing throughout the episode fully returned when it counted most. Obviously, between Symone and Kandy I wanted Symone to stay. But I was still devastated.
I’d really given up all hope because this season started with three episodes that didn’t have any eliminations. And double saves are usually only for lip syncs like Brooke and Yvie, which this certainly was not. Ru even goes as far as telling Kandy to sashay away! But the only thing Ru loves more than breaking my heart is a manufactured TV moment and as Kandy is walking away she shouts, “Kandy, Kandy, wait! Stop. I’m not ready for you to go. Not yet. You are safe to slay another day.” I SCREAMED!!!!!! PURE JOY!!!!!!
Next week, there isn’t a new episode — instead there’s a documentary about filming the season during the pandemic. Give me all the double saves, all the documentary specials, all the tricks and episodes. May this season last all year long. What else are we doing?
Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:
+ This was such a horny episode! And I’m not just talking about my musical theatre feelings! In addition, to Kandy bringing up Joey again, in Untucked Olivia asks Utica to take her on a date after the show. And apparently in the van Olivia and Utica were next to each other and Olivia called it a date. And on Twitter tonight Olivia tweeted at Utica: Date night? Then if that wasn’t enough, Rosé comes over to clear the air with Denali and love on her a bit and in the confessional admits it’s partially because she thinks Denali is cute! I’m obsessed with all of it.
+ The safe queens are talking about nicknames and Elliott says she heard Gottmik call her clique the mean girls. They replay the footage confirming that, in fact, Tina called them the mean girls, Kandy repeated it, and Gottmik pointedly did not. I wonder why Elliott was blaming that on Gottmik! Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Bitch.
+ Today is Rihanna’s birthday — watch this video of Symone getting a DM from her!
+ If Symone had been the top instead of the bottom this week, my headline would’ve been: I’m Changing My Major to Symone.
+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone (and also everyone except Elliott and Tina)
+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Symone, Denali, Kandy, Rosé, Olivia
+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: I’ve absolutely masturbated to that video of Jinkx singing “Last Midnight.” It’s been a long quarantine leave me alone. (Also here she is singing “Origin of Love” from Hedwig if your vibrator needs a second song.)
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Don’t leave me this way, Tamisha Iman. The problem with having a cast this strong is almost every week is going to hurt. I may love the drama, but I hate the goodbyes! Alas, this is apparently a “reality competition show” and people have to lose. But first! Disco!
We begin in the aftermath of Joey’s elimination. Kandy says her boyfriend went home, but she’ll for sure sleep with the bitch after. My support to all the Drag Race quarantine girlfriends. Olivia brings up last week’s chaotic Untucked and there’s a bit more bickering between Tamisha and Kandy.
The next week, Elliott suggests they leave the fighting in the past and Gottmik says “wishful saying.” Ru enters the workroom and compares himself to Charles Nelson Reilly — none of the queens get the reference, the first of many they won’t get this week. Reilly was a musical theatre legend and the host of Match Game aka the inspiration for Snatch Game. And he was gay! Anyway, Ru explains that the mini challenge is making dresses out of wallpaper.
The teams for the mini challenge will also be the teams for the main challenge, and as last week’s winner Gottmik gets to be a third for whichever pair she likes — and who wouldn’t want Gottmik as their third. The other queens scramble into teams and Gottmik chooses her besties Kandy and Tina. This is having major Rolaskatox energy to me — I think it’s just a matter of time before Michelle warns Gottmik about the clique. But for now she seems happy to be with the cool kids. Paired off rejects Tamisha and Elliott win the mini challenge with a Carole Baskin reference, because Ru loves to give the underdogs a mini challenge win to shake things up.
RuPaul’s queer history lessons have been… let’s say inconsistent throughout the show. His love for easy liberalism often results in a very hetero-palatable framing of queer past. But luckily those impulses weren’t too bad in this educational disco episode!
My ex was in a play about disco, so I was lucky enough to get a pretty thorough history lesson early in my queerness. I’d previously held a lot of the misconceptions that many share and I was surprised to learn my Saturday Night Fever-understanding was a whitewashed and straightwashed version of an era that was so meaningful for Black people and queer people. Or in Ru-speak: “freedom, divas, and bringing people together!”
Denali says she loves disco and this is hers to win. I love Denali, because every episode she truly believes it’s hers to win. She’s paired with Rosé and she’s excited that they’re both dancers and can push each other to perfection. We also learn that Denali used to figure skate on a cruise ship, which is the only thing that could get me on a cruise other than Olivia Cruises standing for Olivia Lux.
Olivia is on a team with Utica and their dynamic is surprisingly delightful. Utica jokes to Olivia that Tina’s wig makes her look small and Olivia tells her to say that to Tina. Utica obeys her new crush and I loved it.
Ru starts walking around the workroom grilling the queens on disco and cracking up at their lack of knowledge. Ru explains Disco Demolition Night when DJ Steve Dahl rallied people to burn disco records. He says the powers to be were scared of the unbridled passion of disco — especially since it was associated with gay people and Black people. It’s really important that queer people know our history, but there’s no shame in the learning! Our history is pointedly kept from us and it takes effort to know even the most basic things. Hopefully, the queens — and viewers at home — appreciated the lesson.
The queens are choreographed by Miguel Zarate who is a RPDR first timer. I hope he comes back, he has such a good rapport with the queens. He encourages them to not take themselves too seriously and to just have fun with it. Tamisha struggles with a hula hoop and reveals in the confessional that she has an ostomy bag that limits her movements. She hasn’t told anyone because she doesn’t want any special treatment. It reminds me of when Yvie Oddly wasn’t disclosing having Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. I wish the queens felt like they could be open about their illnesses and disabilities on the show without feeling like they’d be judged for it!
Elimination day! Rosé rides into the workroom on Gottmik’s back. And Tina has Kandy and Gottmik say “mean girls” on three. (Gottmik rolls her eyes instead of saying it.) It’s nice that Gottmik is not only casually accepted among the queens but actively desired. Then again she’s an adorable little twink so I’m not going to give any of the cis queens too many ally points.
Olivia says that as a teenager she was 300 pounds. It was a dark time for her and it wasn’t until she found theatre and drama that she was able to feel confident in her body and self. Thankfully, she notes that she doesn’t look at scales anymore and just cares if she feels amazing, but this part still felt gross to me. Since the beginning, RPDR has not been a kind show to its fat queens, so framing a thin queen’s past weight in this way is disappointing. The point of her narrative is far more about struggling as a closeted teen and I wish that had been emphasized more than her weight.
Kandy and Tamisha also open up about adolescence. Kandy says her mom was in and out of jail so she had to take care of herself. She was always trying to maintain control of her anger, but she still struggles with it. Tamisha talks about a woman who started a cheerleading crew and invited her to join. Her grandma was upset when she found out she was doing gay stuff, but the woman still encouraged her. Sometimes these segments can dip into reality TV exploitation, but I really enjoy getting a window into different gay pasts.
Mama Ru is on the radio and ready to take us through her disco history lesson. Tina, Kandy, and Gottmik start us off with the birth of disco. Then Tamisha and Elliott get into disco and sex. Olivia and Utica go to Studio 54. Rosé and Denali show off disco fashion. All the queens do one big group number. And finally Symone and LaLa dance their way through the end of the era. I thought everyone was really solid, but Symone and LaLa were my favorite. Rosé and Denali are the best dancers, but they needed to focus less on being technically perfect and more on showing off their personalities. It ends with everyone doing a Soul Train line to “We Are Family” and I just really enjoyed the whole thing!
The runway category is little black dress. Loni Love is back as a guest judge with Michelle and Carson. The standouts are exactly who you’d think they’d be! Gottmik has the littlest black dress imaginable aka it is just covering her crotch. Symone has big blonde hair referencing Ru’s look in the “Back to My Roots” video and is wearing a dress made of braided hair. And Denali murdered me in her black widow-inspired dress with a web on the back and extra spider eyes on her forehead. Olivia also dazzles in a simple strapless dress paired with gorgeous big hair.
Somehow Symone, LaLa, and Denali are just safe along with Gottmik and Rosé (I would happily take this group as our top five!) — Tina, Elliott, and Olivia are the top, which I found to be just baffling. Meanwhile, Kandy, Tamisha, and Utica were the bottom which made me really sad, but no one did bad this episode, so I can’t complain. I obviously would’ve loved to see Elliott in the bottom, but this was a dancing challenge and she’s a dancer.
After weeks of being safe, Olivia finally gets a much deserved win and shows herself to be a top competitor. Meanwhile, the producers get their wish and last week’s feud becomes this week’s lip sync. Neither Tamisha nor Kandy are word perfect with Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” but they both do okay. What Kandy lacks in technical prowess, she makes up for with intense drive. Tamisha loses.
I might be the only person on the internet who didn’t think this was the wrong call. But my fondness for Tamisha aside, I just respond to Kandy’s competitive energy. I like a queen who wants to win! Tamisha says she’s going to go home, finish her recovery, and get ready for All Stars. And that’s what I’m talking about! I look forward to seeing everyone’s drag mother ready to win All Stars 7.
Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some More Random Thoughts:
+ Elliott says her mom put her in dance class as a kid after she was bullied, which gives me a new reason to hate Elliott: jealousy.
+ Gottmik’s parents have a video message for her on Untucked talking about how they’re so proud of her art and the person she’s become. It’s nice until Gottmik says that the message was the first time they called her by her name, Kade. Ru loves family reunion/family breakthrough moments, but if it took your trans child being on TV for you to use their name, you don’t deserve any praise. It’s easy for people to accept their queer and trans children when they’ve proven themselves exceptional. In my opinion, by that point it’s too late.
+ Tamisha and Kandy reconciled before their big lip sync. Tamisha says the challenge brought them together and that she doesn’t hold grudges. It’s sweet and makes their hug after Tamisha’s elimination all the more poignant. I’m sorry, I’m still rooting for Kandy! I have a soft spot for loud insecure queers.
+ During Untucked, Utica asks if Olivia wants some glitter and then hugs her. Olivia says they should play in the sandbox later and Utica says “I’ll take you on a date.” Excuse me???? What a strange pair and I am absolutely obsessed.
+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone and Denali
+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Denali and Olivia
+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: Okay so nothing weird about having sexual feelings for Olivia, but they were at their peak when she was encouraging Utica to be mean and that might need some processing.
Maybe this really is RuPaul’s Best Friend Race?? After the premiere’s dalliance in psychological torture, we return this week with just about the most wholesome Drag Race episode in the show’s 13 seasons.
But first! We must wrap up the psychological torture! The queens in the Porkchop Loading Dock are voting one of their own out with lipsticks All Stars-style. They didn’t even get to see each other’s lip syncs so this is based entirely on first impressions. Joey votes Elliott. Denali votes Joey. Kahmora votes Utica. The rest remain anonymous to the viewers but Elliott and Utica tie for the bottom. They do a re-vote and bye-bye Elliott — two Ts, three eliminations, one hour on Drag Race. Impressive stats.
Not to be that girl, but I’ve watched enough Drag Race to know this wasn’t the end for Elliott. Still, the queens seem so convinced! Rosé the Gemini has a comically cold confessional where she’s basically like oh well.
But enough about the losers! Back in the workroom the winners are starting their first real day. Ru pops up on the screen to congratulate them on a job well done and Olivia flashes the cutest little self-satisfied smile!! Have I mentioned I have a crush on Olivia and her smile? I have a crush on Olivia and her smile.
Ru joins them in the workroom and who does he introduce? Elliott! With 2 Ts! Ru gives an inspirational speech about how they’re all winners and how they shouldn’t let anyone make them feel bad about themselves and it’s like okay but you just psychologically tortured them you terrifying fracker.
All of the other queens are immediately paranoid about Elliott and Elliott doesn’t help by immediately talking shit to the shit talker herself, Kandy Muse. This was a big episode for Gottmik re: trans stuff, but I am also very closely tracking her romantic possibilities, and I must say she seemed delighted by Elliott creating drama.
The mini challenge is two runway looks which is often the first challenge in premieres. I always love this, because it acts as a great introduction to the queens’ aesthetics and leads to some truly iconic looks. (Remember Violet Chachki’s reveal??) The first category is Daytime Drama Mama and the queens do not disappoint — especially Gottmik and Symone. Gottmik wears a latex dress with a rainbow on the bottom and a bright blue sky on top. Symone wears a fabulous multicolored suit.
The next category is Nighttime. Gottmik is once again the standout, with a long black dress with a slit up the side and one of her nipples only covered with a pasty. She says that since she had top surgery she loves to have her nipples out and what a gift for us all. Tina says with her outfit she was trying to show her sexy side — it’s helpful when queens explain their high concept looks. Elliott similarly touts her sexiness saying she belongs in a Gentlemen’s Club — I think in this case the gentleman is Tim Burton. (I’m sorry, but if Ru is going to be nice this episode I’m going to be mean!)
The main challenge is a new version of Ru’s song “Condragulations.” The queens will each write a verse and choreograph the number together. We learn that Tina was in a boy band and that Olivia writes music and plays piano! “Who’s ready to be the star student? Me!” she exclaims. Adorable.
No one wants to take charge of the choreography, so Tina takes over by default. Elliott is literally a choreographer, but she is intimidated as the loser of the bunch. I get that, but also she should’ve shown what she can do! And her plan backfires because eventually she does swoop in and her initial hesitation just makes everyone more suspicious of her. Gottmik is thrown when they start choreographing her section because her lyrics start “I was born a girl” and she hasn’t disclosed to the cast yet. She suddenly feels really dysphoric in a way that surprises her and she’s worried it will hold her back.
The next day Gottmik is feeling a bit better and confides in Olivia. Olivia’s so supportive!! She says her pronouns are she in drag, he out of drag and asks Gottmik for hers. Gottmik says hers are the same and she feels clocked when people overcompensate and he/him her in drag. It’s a really nice moment and endeared me to both queens even more. As a trans woman who hangs out in a lot of overtly cis dykey spaces I feel a kinship to Gottmik inserting herself into such an aggressively AMAB space. I’m sure doing it on television is even harder. It makes total sense that she’d have new waves of imposter syndrome-induced dysphoria.
The simmering drama with the newly dubbed “Elliott the Spy” simmers down to nothing after she explains what really happened in the Porkchop Loading Dock. LaLa points out that Elliott got eliminated three times and suspicion sort of just turns to sympathy. The queens are more concerned that the others weren’t actually sent home which is very silly to me, because of course they weren’t. They talk about who they would send home of each other and give the pageant girl answer of saying their biggest threats. The consensus? Tina and Gottmik are the biggest threats. But Olivia thinks they shouldn’t underestimate her.
The new version of “Condragulations” is fun, but the song isn’t great to begin with and the queens don’t quite reach the level of last year’s incredible “I’m That Bitch.” That said, LaLa and Symone were the two standouts and everyone at least did pretty well.
The runway category is Lamé You Stay and once again Gottmik and Symone wow. Symone is dressed as a sexy boxer. Much like her bestie/roommate Gigi Goode, Symone refuses to rest on her looks and instead loves a concept. Personally, I love when people are beautiful and clever, because then I don’t have to admit to being shallow.
Ru, Michelle, and Ross are joined this episode by choreographer Jamal Sims. Michelle has a grey streak in her hair and it really did a lot for me. For some reason all four judges are So Nice. They point out a few missteps among the queens, but mostly their notes are just encouragement and jokes about poppers.
Backstage during Untucked the queens also have a lovefest. Symone gushes over LaLa, Gottmik officially discloses to everyone else to lovely feedback, and everyone talks about how much they love each other. Is this what quarantine has done? Everyone is so starved for human connection that you put a couple of catty drag queens in a room together for a week and they’re ready to elope like Clare and Dale on The Bachelorette??
I don’t mean to sound disappointed. I love to see the queens thrive and get along. And it would’ve felt wrong for anyone other than Elliott to go home this week. Instead having Symone and Olivia lip syncing for the win and $5K was a treat. They’re both sexy and campy and just pure entertainment. And I was thrilled for Symone to get another win.
But I’d be lying if I wasn’t daydreaming of next week when the insecure losers are at each other’s throats — or the week after when the two teams come together. Maybe this is all part of Ru’s long game of psychological torture. Create hierarchies, create alliances, force Gottmik to do another round of disclosures.
I’m sorry I doubted you, Ru. The library will soon be open.
Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:
+ Tina mentions that back in New York, Kandy created a lot of unnecessary drama. But Elliott came for her pretty aggressively and she kept her cool. I guess we’ll see…
+ Symone compares her second runway look to The Matrix Revolutions which feels pretty trans to me.
+ An ad for Boy Butter! On TV! You love to see it.
+ The main challenge was sponsored by the Werq the World Tour — Ru never fails to be Ru.
+ When Gottmik disclosed during Untucked, I was so confused, because I felt like her lyrics were obviously a disclosure. But nope! LaLa admits to having no idea from the lyrics that Gottmik is trans.
+ Ru jokes that this week there no bottoms, only tops, except the judges. I’m sorry but I refuse to believe Michelle Visage is anything less than a top-leaning switch. I’m actually fully convinced she topped Adore Delano while they were on tour and that’s why Adore was so hurt when she was mean to her on All Stars 2. Is this based on anything but vibes? No. But please don’t take this fanfic away from me.
+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone (is she the frontrunner now??)
+Queen I have the biggest crush on: Olivia Lux, Gottmik, and the thought of Olivia Lux and Gottmik together
+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack:The grey streak in Michelle Visage’s hair
A high-profile, right-wing pastor with a history of anti-LGBTQ statements has done it again.
Virginia’s E.W. Jackson runs his own radio show and streams via Facebook to his followers. On his Facebook show, “The Wisdom Meditation” last week, he discussed the Bible, but then went off on a tangent about Drag Queen Story Hour, which occurs in libraries around the country.
“This is child abuse to take these children to be entertained by these perverse individuals whose lives are a moral sewer,” Jackson, 68, said.
Related: Gay people can’t be judges as they can’t be ‘fair and objective’ says pastor
“You want to live that way, it’s a free country, live that way. If adults want to be a part of such gross, disgusting entertainment, you have a right to do that. But child abuse is what I would call taking children to see one of these freaks go through a whole lot of sexual garbage trying to instill this mess in the minds of toddlers and kindergartners.
“I have no patience with this mess,” the Protestant Minister continued. “That person needs God, that person needs to be saved, that person needs to be delivered. God wants that person to be a normal human being. A drag queen is not a normal human being.”
“And the stupid parents who take their children into this mess need to be dope slapped. They need to have their children taken away from them.
“Do you think toddlers and kindergartners are [asking] to go to Drag Queen Story Hour?,” Jackson asked.
“Taking your children to church is not abuse. It’s what God commands us to do. But taking your children to Drag Queen Story Hour is abuse of a magnitude that is hard to overstate. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the equivalent of pedophilia, and it should be treated the same way.”
Jackson has previously asserted that homosexuality is “unnatural” and “gross”. Earlier this year, he said that besides concerns over the coronavirus, families should worry about the spread of the “homovirus”: Or what he regards as the militant LGBTQ movement to destroy the traditional family unit.
Related: Beware the “homovirus” warns right-wing pastor in unhinged coronavirus rant
In 2019, Jackson claimed that the United States would become a “homocracy” if Mayor Pete Buttigieg won the Presidency.
Jackson was the Republican Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in the 2013 election and a Republican primary candidate for the United States Senate in Virginia in the 2012 and 2018 elections. Although he commands a sizeable, grassroots following within the state, he failed in each of these election bids.
Ellie Diamond, Asttina Mandella and Ginny Lemon from Drag Race UK season two. (BBC)
The Drag Race UK season two queens are finally here.
After feverish anticipation, frustrating delays and the small matter of a global pandemic, Drag Race UK season two is ready to spread its tuppence all over your screen.
Returning 14 January on BBC iPlayer, the new season will see RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Alan Carr and Graham Norton preside over a diverse new cast of queens, including the franchise’s first Welsh and Scottish contestants.
Expect glamour, spook, vocals, veganism and a whole lot of regional dialects for RuPaul to smile and nod at.
The twelve competing queens are: Tayce, Joe Black, A’Whora, Tia Kofi, Ellie Diamond, Sister Sister, Veronica Green, Bimini Bon Boulash, Ginny Lemon and Asttina Mandella.
Also announced Wednesday (16 December) was Drag Race UK: Queens on Lockdown, a mid-series special uncovering how the queens spent their time during the long, pandemic-mandated break in filming.
Tayce, 26, from London via Newport.
Drag Race UK’s first Welsh queen is a “girl on the go” who describes her drag as “modelesque, very villainous, dark, punky, edgy… a sexy owl here to peck your face away with my claws”.
Well-known on the London drag scene, Tayce is “here, queer and ready to let these girls have it”.
Like a few girls this season, Tayce has an aversion to the sewing machine, but doesn’t expect that will stop her from making it to very end “by hook or by crook”.
Joe Black, 30, from Brighton.
Joe has been performing for 13 years and comes from the world of burlesque and cabaret – “all ostrich feathers and glitter and strippers”.
She is bringing “all the eye shadow and the wonky eyebrows of the traditional seaside drag, with a bit of haunted glamour”.
A’whora, 23, from London via Nottinghamshire.
A’whora is the “fashion queen of the London scene” determined to prove that she’s a lot more than just her incredible looks.
“I wanna walk into a club and people be intimidated”, says the plastic surgery enthusiast, whose next procedure is getting her “fingers done”.
Tia Kofi, 30, from from London via Essex and Nottingham.
Tia Kofi is one-third of drag girl group The Vixens, but is entering Drag Race UK to “Beyoncé myself”.
Proud to be representing British queens of colour, Tia Kofi is bringing you “end of the pier Blackpool”.
“She’s live singing, she’s all dancing, she’s camp, she’s glamour, she’s also a mess.”
Ellie Diamond, 21, from Dundee.
Standing 6’4 out of drag, Ellie is “a really big queen – literally – in a tiny little pond”.
She joins Drag Race UK season two having performed outside of Dundee only once before.
She currently works in a drive-thru, and describes her drag as a “cartoon character came to life”.
Sister Sister, 32 from Liverpool.
A Sister Sister show is about “wacky monsters going for it”, inspired by old-school, Victoria Wood-style British comedy.
She can sew, turn a look, dance – although “not well” – and is here to represent a unique part of Liverpool’s drag scene
“You have the gorgeous queens of Dragtown, you have the queer scene who like to get down dark and dirty, and then you have me just plonked in the middle.”
Veronica Green, 34, from London via Rochdale.
“Gorgeous, goofy and professional”, Veronica Green has been in the industry as a theatre and opera singer for 15 years.
Although her dream of singing in Wicked hasn’t come true (yet), she’s ready to take the Drag Race UK crown.
“I am the most competitive person I know, and I will fight you on that if you disagree.”
Bimini Bon Boulash, 26, from London via Norfolk.
“East London’s bendiest b***h,” Bimini grew up in Norfolk but is now a staple of the capital’s “diverse, vibrant, colourful” drag scene.
Incredibly, Bimini invented veganism “about seven years ago”, and fancies herself the dancing queen of the season.
“I wanna show that you don’t have to be shady, be super b***hy to prove that you’ve got something.”
Ginny Lemon, 31 from Worcestershire.
Fancy a slice? Ginny Lemon is the “hairiest woman in showbiz” and “the only non-binary drag queen in the UK… with a sense of humour”.
Her ideal look is a “90s daytime TV presenter on acid”, she’s bringing you a “down o earth, working class sense of humour”.
“You’ll get high energy, madness, the unplanned.”
Asttina Mandella, 27 from London.
A backing dancer for the likes of Hercules and Love Affair, Pussycat Dolls, Little Mix and Kanye West, Asttina is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, vogue, whacking, hip-hop and street dance – but she’s also “a big geek”.
“Now it’s my time to be on the poster,” she says.
“I’m Serena Williams and Naomi Campbell if they had a baby, plus Azealia Banks at the same time.”
Cherry Valentine, 26 from Darlington.
Cherry Valentine only started doing drag a year ago, but tells her haters: “I’ve been doing it as long as I need.”
“She’s glamour, she’s club kid, she’s dark, she’s gothic,” she says of her drag.
When she’s not serving body and face, Cherry is a qualified mental health nurse, something she credits with helping her on her drag journey.
Lawrence Chaney, 23 from Glasgow.
Inspired by Lady Gaga, Madonna and Michelle McManus, Lawrence is “every single stereoytpe you are thinking right now of what a Scottish person is”.
“I’m almost the fat b****d of drag from Austin Powers,” she says, and is here to represent the big queens.
“I really wanna show that a big girl can enter the competition and really showcase the inner beauty and the outer beauty that we all heave. Not wear leotards with fringe on them.”