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Vinegar Strokes on diversity in Drag Race, tips from Bianca Del Rio and why she’s so glad *that* TFL dress was axed

Charlie Jones October 18, 2019

Vinegar Strokes struts her final runway (BBC).

Vinegar Strokes was the third queen to sashay away from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK last night.

She used her background as a West End performer – with Michelle Visage and Bianca Del Rio in Everybody’s Talking About Jamieto delight in last week’s Downton Draggy.

She sent wigs – and Gothy Kendoll – flying in week one during a lip sync to Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’, but was sent packing by friend Sum Ting Wong last night to Eurythmic’s ‘Would I Lie To You’.

We caught up with her to chat about the cast’s diversity, the infamous edit and all things hodgepodge.

What’s the reaction been like?

Shock, horror, disbelief, love. It’s been awesome, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support, it’s been great.

I’d love to see the whole Fenty Beauty line on the show.

Do you still think of your drag as hodgepodge?

Eight months ago I didn’t think hodgepodge was a phrase I would ever hear, ever! But looking back… Jesus, yeah, It was a little bit hodgepodge. Looks-wise I was missing a point of view. I’ve definitely got a point of view now.

So hodgepodge? Yeah, I get it. But when you’re still finding your feet it is a bit hodgepodge and that’s fine. So I’m embracing hodgepodge. I’m the queen of hodgepodge!

Why didn’t they let you wear that amazing London underground dress?

Vinegar Strokes' London hometown look on RuPaul's Drag Race UK
Vinegar Strokes’ London hometown look on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. (BBC Three)

I didn’t realise the Victoria line was trademarked! But to be honest it was a massive favour to me that it got cut, because if I’d worn it I would have been safe. Who wants to be safe? There are certain things that would never have happened that are now part of my drag legacy like having the first ever bottom two moment. And the response online to the dress has been insane.

Was the show true to memory? 

I remember things so differently to how it was. To see it on screen is quite crazy because you go: ‘Oh, I wasn’t pissed off at that point,’ or ‘I was pissed off, I didn’t realise I was pissed off.’ So it’s funny to see it with the edit and go: ‘Oh, this is how it actually was.’

This show has had so much heat about trans contestants, and non-binary, and everyone other.

But was it how it actually was, or have the editors been shady?

Um, the edit serves a storyline. You need to get from A to B with some interesting content. I was so happy with my edit, I think they captured that part of me really well. They showed off my generosity and my niceness.

Other people are getting certain edits through this, but it all serves a storyline. It also serves their journey. If someone starts off as a bitch or annoying, I’m pretty sure they’ll have a resolution.

Cheryl has been criticised for being a girl too loud (BBC).

Do you think there was enough diversity in the cast?

In terms of talent, absolutely. If you’re referring to what I think you’re referring to, you can only work with what you’ve been given.

I’d much rather see people of colour on the show who are talented and have the chops. I’d hate to see people on there because they’re black or Chinese or Indian or whatever. Let’s get the best people in the room, and if the bulk are one shade then fine, that’s how it is.

I’d love to see the whole Fenty Beauty line on the show. I know two black girls who are perfect but didn’t even apply, so you can only work with what’s handed to you.

Fabric does not make a drag queen.

What about trans contestants?

This show has had so much heat about trans contestants, and non-binary, and everyone other.

I would love to see some more trans contestants. If you are a great performer and drag queen you should have a chance to be part of something.

Or if not this, what other platforms are there? Everyone is so focussed on this one show. There are other things that can be created to launch other types of people into the mainstream.

How much did you spend preparing for Drag Race UK?

(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)

How much? I spent enough. I’m not going into how much I actually spent. Enough to make sure I went in with stuff I was happy with.

Do you think the amount of money you have to spend can be a barrier for working class queens like yourself to compete?

No. Look at Chi Chi DeVayne. She was working three jobs and was bankrupt. She got to the top four. She had no money and basic outfits, but she still turned it.

I’m very fortunate I worked and got the West End credit and saved a pot of money to enable me to do this to a level I thought was great.

But you really don’t need money to do drag. If you’ve got a great personality, heart, talent and perform the house down that’s all you need.

Fabric is fabric, fabric does not make a drag queen.

Did Michelle or Bianca give you any tips while performing Jamie? 

Vinegar Strokes
Vinegar Strokes won best entrance line. (BBC)

Michelle gave me zero tips. Bianca gave me a lot of tips after the show. She basically told me how to sell yourself afterwards.

Finally, should MPs pass Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal?

I’m about as political as my left foot.

More: bianca del rio, Drag Race UK, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, rupaul, TfL, Vinegar strokes

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