Sum Ting Wong on coming out to her parents, Chick-fil-A and being a ‘k**bhead in a stamp’
Sum Ting Wong became the fourth queen to sashay away from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK after one of the tightest Snatch Game’s in herstory.
We caught up with her to see whether she thought she’d been robbed, how her parents reacted to watching the show and why you shouldn’t eat at Chick-fil-A.
What’s the reaction been like?
Oh my God, overwhelming, heart-warming, incredible. I never went on to be like: “I’m really cool, I’m going to make everyone cry, I need to tell my story.” I just went on as myself because I’m an absolute d**khead normally. And I just wanted to bumble around on TV.
Do you think you were robbed in week one?
I thought I was going to be in the bottom! When Ru called out who was safe and it was only the tops and bottoms left I was like: “Oh f**k, I’m bottom two.” But when they gave their comments I didn’t know how to take it because I was just a k**bhead in a stamp.
You did a lovely article on that when you said I was dressed in a less than glamorous outfit.
I thought The Vivienne’s queen was stunning, so was her Pete Burns. At no point was anyone like: “I should have won that, I was robbed.” There was nothing but love.
Should you have chosen Nigella Lawson instead of David Attenborough for Snatch Game?
No, when I set my mind to something I’m really stubborn, because I’m a Taurus. I felt like I could give my best with that impression. It’s like what I said about the suit last week: “If I go home like this, I’m happy.”
When I did the show I hadn’t come out, and I have since.
Also, I have a load of mates who are scientists and they don’t watch Drag Race – as Geri said, I’m bringing worlds together – and they said they’ll try to surround the whole of the ecology unit and make David see it. And you know what, I did an absolutely spot on impression. If he ever watches he’ll be like: “I like Sum Ting Wong, she’s really cool.”
How much did you spend preparing for Drag Race UK?
Not as much as I thought I would, because I buy everything from very cheap websites. The runway is such a small part of the show, I’ve always watched Drag Race for the stories, the people behind the mask. Allowing people to see me as a person was the scariest part.
The storyline with your parents helped us see the real you, and it touched a lot of people. Have they watched Drag Race UK?
I believe they have. But in very Asian style, we don’t talk about it. I believe they’ve been fully updated. But when I did the show I hadn’t come out, and I have since.
How did it go?
I called my dad and said: “Hey dad! I’m bringing back my boyfriend this weekend.”And he was like: “You meant girlfriend, right?” A bit confused, and I said: “No, no, I meant boyfriend.” And dad was like: “OK, I’ll see you this weekend.”
I called my mum and said: “I’m bringing back my boyfriend this weekend.” And she was like: “Yeah, you told us already. What food do you want to eat?” And they were fine.
If we rally together we are unstoppable.
It’s been a real struggle because I’m the first one in the family to be openly – I say gay, but I’m actually pansexual, I just wanted to hit them with gay first because you know, it’s a learning curve – and my dad has always wanted a daughter in law.
But not every LGBT+ kid needs the acceptance of their parents, because we make our own family in the queer community. I just wanted that for my own validation.
What did you mean when you tweeted about people harassing them?
I didn’t think I’d have to say this but like I saw a comment on my live that really weirded me out.
But If you do see my mom and dad out, can you not like harass them it’s a bit weird thx….. or like any of my family really it’s quite weird and intrusive :/
— Sum Ting Wong (@IsSumTingWong) October 24, 2019
I was on Instagram Live, and someone in the comments said my mum’s name. You don’t do that. I signed up for this competition, not my parents. Bearing in mind just weeks ago I was straight and now all of a sudden I’m a drag queen. They need time to adjust. I thought that was really intrusive. I don’t even give my name out in real life, I’m like Rumpelstiltskin, if you know my name I lose my power. But it felt gross.
Do you think there was enough diversity on Drag Race UK?
I don’t want to be a checklist item. I want to be there on my own merit. My name’s Sum Ting Wong, for Christ sakes, but I don’t want to put it in people’s heads every week that it’s just about: “I’m Sum Ting Wong and I’m Asian excellence.” I feel like everyone was cast for their own merit.
What about Drag Race UK opening up to trans contestants?
Ru’s opened it up! She backtracked on the Olympics thing [when RuPaul compared trans contestants to doping athletes] almost instantly. And I don’t think the BBC have an anti-trans policy either.
Look, one of the drag kings who taught me f****g everything was LoUis CYfer. He and Baga Chipz are pretty much the reason why I’m a drag queen. So I cannot wait to see what season two brings!
Why did you decide to protest against Chick-fil-A opening up a branch in Reading?
You did a lovely article on that when you said I was dressed in a less than glamorous outfit. I had been DJing since 5am. I couldn’t come in drag so I tried to go incognito in a beanie and a hat. I think you got a picture of me in the article and it looks like I’m just standing there lost.
But there are plenty of other places we can go to. This is why I’m trying to be vegan too. Like, we only have one planet guys. We need to eat as well as possible, not use single-use plastics. And Honest Burger do such a good vegan burger! I thought they’d given me the wrong one.
So, it was more about eating less meat than it was about donations to anti-queer organisations?
No, the thing is everyone can do everything to be a better person. We can make choices in what we do. The pink pound is important. If we rally together we are unstoppable.