The RuPaul’s Drag Race UK queens are finally here
The BBC has finally unveiled the cast of queens competing in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.
Ten queens will enter a brand new werk room for the first UK edition of the global phenomenon.
Hand-picked by Mamu Ru herself, the cast includes a West End performer, a Girls Aloud impersonator, and a queen whose drag is largely confined to her bedroom.
The queens competing are Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, Crystal, Cheryl Hole, Divina De Campo, Gothy Kendoll, Sum Ting Wong, Scaredy Kat, The Vivienne and Vinegar Strokes.
RuPaul said: “Each of the UK queens is so unique, so courageous and so special. I can’t wait for the UK – and the world – to fall in love with them the same way I did.”
The queens will make their first official appearance at Manchester Pride on Saturday, August 24. But until then, here’s the tea on an all ten.
Baga Chipz is a “pub queen, a tart with a heart, not one of these gorgeous beautiful Kate Moss lookalike drag queens”.
Hailing from Walthamstow, London, the 29-year-old says her greatest strengths are her comedy and wit.
“I might not have the best outfits or makeup, but put me on a stage and I will entertain the absolute s***e out of the room.”
Blu Hydrangea describes her look as “like a GCSE art project, high fashion from outer space, a cartoon character – with muppet realness”.
A make-up artist by day, the Belfast queen says she’ll use her platform to talk about LGBT+ life in Northern Ireland.
“My partner and I have been together for four and a half years. I would love to marry him but it’s not even legal. So hopefully, I’ll inspire people and hopefully, one day we’ll be able to get married in our own country.”
Divina De Campo
Drag Race UK is Divina De Campo’s second bite of the reality TV cherry.
Earlier this year, the West Yorkshire queen appeared as a judge on the BBC singing competition ‘All Together Now’. However, the 35-year-old says she isn’t sure how she’ll fare on the other side of the judging table.
“I know how intense this whole experience is going to be! I don’t know whether I’m good competitive or come across as a horrible person. I’m very competitive with myself – I always want to be better.”
Originally from Canada, Crystal has been living in London for the past 10 years and is a British citizen through her mother.
The 34-year-old calls herself a “gender bending, ‘mess with your brain’ kinda drag queen” who “stands for tearing down gender constructs using creativity, looks, and fashion and crazy performances”.
“I do aerial circus, I can crack a whip, put cigarettes out on my tongue – it’s a freak show. It’s unexpected. It’s nothing you have ever seen before.”
Sum Ting Wong
Sum Ting Wong’s drag career began five years ago, when she entered the annual Drag Idol UK competition.
“It was my first time on stage and I came third in the UK for my first time in drag. So hopefully, I’ll come third in this – or even better.”
The 30-year-old says that her “cheeky” name was inspired by a meme about a missing Asian plane and is designed to reflect her British Vietnamese heritage.
“It was a meme about a missing Asian plane and all the names of the missing crew were plays on Chinese names, such as Sum Ting Wong and Wi Tu Lo, and another was Ho Lee Fuk. It was wrong in so many was, and that was why I chose my name, as my own act of reclamation!”
Essex queen Cheryl Hole has appointed herself the series’ lip sync assassin.
“I’d like to see any of these girls try and out lip sync me as this is what I do. I’m quite well known for my death drop and dancing skills so girl you better watch out as I’m gonna bring the exclamation mark of the dance moves to the dance floor!”
The 25-year-old, who performs in a Girls Aloud tribute act, says that her drag style is “that Essex glamour with a touch of showgirl”.
“Everything’s got a bling, a touch of vajazzle but a real girl at heart.”
Gothy Kendoll, 21 from Leicester, wrote the book on drag – choosing the topic for her dissertation.
She says that her drag is “dark, contemporary, striking and unique, and everything that is cool and fresh about UK drag now”.
“I’m inspired by Grace Jones, Annie Lennox, people in the 80s who were redefining what gender is and what gender can be.”
Vinegar Strokes is a “straight up comedy queen” who describes herself as “Tina Turner meets Lizzo meets Kat Slater”.
The 35-year-old started her career as an actor and recently appeared in the West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie alongside judge Michelle Visage — something she says won’t give her an edge.
“I did dance with Michelle Visage every single night, but I’ve already been clearly told there’s going to be no favouritism and this will be a level playing field. She won’t be allowing me any airs or graces when it comes to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK – I better come correct!”
At 20, Scaredy Kat is the youngest queen to ever appear on Drag Race.
Hailing from Wiltshire – a village she says has no gay bars and certainly no drag scene – she got into drag about a year ago.
“I was with my girlfriend trying to have a laugh. It was quite embarrassing but it went quite well for a first try.”
The university student acknowledges that people may find her sexuality “a bit weird for a drag queen,” as she identifies as bisexual.
“I’m not actually gay. I would call it bi, I guess. I’ll go out with anyone that I really like and I really fancy.”
She says that most of her drag takes place at home.
“I’ve made quite a lot of videos – music videos, lip-sync videos, arty stuff and pictures, creative things.
“I want to change that and I need to be on a stage in front of millions of people because the attention just has to be on me right now.”
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The Vivienne describes her style as “like a Scouse wife who has come into money, she moved to LA and blew it all and then she’s had to move back to Liverpool”.
The comedy queen has already been crowned by RuPaul once before, after she won a competition to become a UK ambassador for Drag Race.
“Being crowned by RuPaul was the most crazy experience, I’m a huge fan of the show and RuPaul himself. He’s the absolute queen of the world so being crowned was the most nuts experience, but I don’t think it it’s going to give me a head start in this competition. I had to audition like everyone else and I’m coming to slay, like everyone else.”
She says that her greatest strengths are her impersonations, her singing voice, and the fact that she can drink a whole bottle of Jägermeister in 20 seconds flat.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK arrives on BBC iPlayer in October.