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Film and TV

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is ‘like an eff-you to all the bigots’

Josh Milton September 18, 2019
(L-R) Vinegar Strokes, Baga Chipz, The Vivienne, Cheryl Hole, Gothy Kendoll, Scaredy Kat, Divina De Campo, Sum Ting Wong, Blu Hydrangea, Scarlett Moffatt and Crystal at the RuPaul's Drag Race UK launch. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

(L-R) Vinegar Strokes, Baga Chipz, The Vivienne, Cheryl Hole, Gothy Kendoll, Scaredy Kat, Divina De Campo, Sum Ting Wong, Blu Hydrangea, Scarlett Moffatt and Crystal at the RuPaul's Drag Race UK launch. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK premiered at an exclusive event last night, and many of the queens and guests rapped politics as they strutted the pink carpet.

The queens were joined by a colourful array of celebrities attending the launch in London, many expressing how they wished the show was around when they grew up – highlighting the immense impact the show has had.

Derry Girls actress Nicola Coughlan told Sky News that Drag Race is “like an eff-you to all the bigots”.

“It’s showing that you should be celebrating, you should be fabulous. It’s sending out the most positive message. If you can’t get on board with that then get in the bin.”

Also in attendance was TV presenter Scarlett Moffatt. She said: “I feel like I am a bit different.

“I just wish it was around when I was a kid because it just embraces everybody and makes everybody feel like it’s okay to be different.”

While Drag Race contestant Divina de Campo said: “The UK’s been ready for Drag Race for 25 years.”

What happened at the Drag Race UK launch?

In the style of a beauty pageant, the queens were introduced one-by-one prior to the screening of the first episode.

Each then gave a sashay down the runway carpet to a song of their choice – anything by Ariana Grande was obligatory.

But while all the event-goers happily posed for the cameras, a few took the time to speak about why Drag Race is important to them, and what they hope the UK spin-off will achieve.

Sky News spoke to some of the 10 contestants who will make herstory as the UK spin-off’s first set of queens.

Many explained that they hope their presence on the show will spark conversations outside of TV and laptop screens about LGBT+ issues.

Sum Ting Wong at the RuPaul's Drag Race UK launch event. (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Sum Ting Wong at the RuPaul’s Drag Race UK launch event. (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Sum Ting Wong, 30, is a British-Vietnamese queen who adopted her drag name as a “kind of reclamation”.

“I want other Vietnamese, Oriental, Chinese kids to be, like, ‘I can be just like her – overweight and on telly,'” she joked.

“It’s the best way to tackle racism.”

“The idea that someone could be debating whether or not I exist is offensive to me,” Crystal says.

Wong was not the only queen hoping to whip up debate. Blu Hydrangea echoed how immeasurable the show’s impact will when it hits airwaves on 3 October.

The Northern Irish queen told the broadcaster: “Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK that doesn’t have equal marriage and I feel like that should be shouted from the rooftops.

Blu Hydrangea at the RuPaul's Drag Race UK launch. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Blu Hydrangea at the RuPaul’s Drag Race UK launch. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

“Me being able to express myself in a country where we are oppressed will really help young kids from Belfast that look at me and say: ‘That guy is being his authentic self in drag on nationwide TV.'”

Drag Race has, over the years, discussed a wide range of issues that impact the queer community in the US and beyond.

And for the UK, where parents have picketed and protested against LGBT+ sex and relationships lessons being taught in schools, the queens are on a mission to bring queer topics to the forefront of the nation.

“The idea that someone could be debating whether or not I exist is offensive to me,” said Crystal,

“The show is really important because it’s showcasing queer stories […] even though we’re dressing up like silly, silly things, if you’re paying attention there’s a lot of parts to it.”

More: derry girls, Drag Race UK, rupaul, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK

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