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Divina De Campo on The Vivienne’s games, politics and what Michelle said that nearly made her quit Drag Race UK

Charlie Jones November 23, 2019
Divina De Campo

Divina De Campo. (BBC)

Divina De Campo lost out on the crown and title of Britain’s first drag superstar by a red hair’s breadth last night.

We caught up with them to chat about mental health, The Vivienne’s strategy and why she nearly quit Drag Race UK.

Congratulations on making it to top two! How did you find out about it?

Thank you very much, I’m really pleased. We all watched together. It was a really nice way to finish the series.

You had the best track record on the show. Were you robbed?

No, I don’t think so. I didn’t try and play any games. Win, lose or draw it didn’t matter.

I wanted to be as true to myself as possible and I think I did that.

What was your winning speech?

[Shouting] BRIGHOUSE MASSIVE. I think that was it [cackles].

The more I’ve watched it the more I think she was playing a game, particularly with me.

Did you think you were going to win?

I didn’t come with any preconceived notion because you’re just setting yourself up for a fall. I had unbelievable support from the public, but Katya had the same and didn’t win.

It’s down to RuPaul’s personal opinion.

Drag Race queens Katya and Divina holding their legs in the air.
Divina De Campo won a sit-down with Drag Race All Stars runner-up Katya. (BBC)

You gave The Vivienne a shady look when she was talking about being humble. Was that a true reaction?

I’ll leave that up to you. I don’t know if you think she’s been humble throughout the competition or not [cackles louder].

Some of the queens think she was playing a game. Do you agree?

The more I’ve watched it the more I think she was playing a game, particularly with me.

I understand how TV works, I knew what the storyline would be.

What do you mean?

Every time she was asked: ‘Who do you think should have won,’ I was like fourth or fifth.

So I think yeah, she was playing a game. And good on her, she came to win and she did.

Divina reacts to The Vivienne calling herself humble (BBC).

Is there any animosity between you two?

Why would there be?

She came here to play a game and I came to play a competition and we did and we got to the top two.

Did you deliberately wear your red wig and silver dress as a rebuttal to The Vivienne’s put-down of it?

Of course. I understand how TV works, I knew what the storyline would be.

I think it’s very difficult to really call yourself a drag queen without having a good understanding of politics.

Was there anything that didn’t make it to air that you were surprised not to see?

Oh god, loads! There’s so much that happens.

It’s like writing a song, you have to be really careful about what you put in there or it doesn’t make sense to the audience.

Divina De Campo
Divina De Campo wins a RuPeter badge. (BBC)

You were an important voice for queer issues on the show. Do you think this election is vital?

I do, actually.

Austerity causes a rise of the far right. It leads to minorities and LGBTQ people being persecuted.

The voices we have at the moment are much further right than we’ve seen for a very long time.

Can I tell some jokes now? Is that what I’m meant to be doing?

The Vivienne told us this morning she wasn’t sure who she would be voting for because she didn’t know enough about politics to comment. Do you think the drag scene should be more educated on that?

I think it’s very difficult to really call yourself a drag queen without having a good understanding of politics.

All drag is politics.

If you’re privileged enough to say: ‘I don’t have to worry about it,’ then I’m not sure you’re doing what needs to be done as a drag queen.

Baga Chipz
Divina De Campo. (BBC)

Who would you encourage your fans to vote for?

Go and read the manifestos and see you who think is the lesser of five million evils.

Who is that is for you?

Proabably Labour.

Purely because they’re taking the climate emergency really seriously.

Twelve years is the tipping point of no return and new research says it could be much shorter.

We need someone in charge who is willing to take that seriously and radically alter the economy.

Capitalism isn’t working for everybody and the UK is becoming more and more unequal.

I’ll probably declare bankruptcy by the end of the month.

Did you always intend to talk about Section 28 or was it organic?

Oh, everything that happened on the show was really organic.

The American one can feel clunky because it’s very driven by the production team.

Here they would occasionally introduce the subjects but it was very much led by us.

Divina De Campo, The Vivienne and Baga Chipz
Divina De Campo, The Vivienne and Baga Chipz made it to the top three of Drag Race UK. BBC)

Were you surprised by the lack of diversity on the show?

I think the diversity on the show reflects the drag scene in a lot of ways.

You’ve got myself who is non-binary, you’ve got a black queen, an Asian queen. And a lot of this is about who applies. There are so many incredible queens out there.

But not all are good at editing a video!

There is diversity there but sometimes that gets overlooked because you see a white face. I totally understand I have a position of privilege in my life as I’m mostly male presenting, and white.

Can I tell some jokes now? Is that what I’m meant to be doing?

Sorry, we’ve gone down a little rabbit hole, haven’t we?

In that case, what did you think about Michelle saying you had questionable fashion choices on the runway?

Well I questioned her last night about it, and there was nothing forthcoming. Listen, a yellow mac has been a staple of the British tradition!

All it takes is a little snake rattle to make you look an absolute k**bhead.

How much did you spend to come on to Drag Race?

About ten thousand pounds.

DI DDC (BBC).

Have you made it back?

No. [Cackles loudest] I’ll probably declare bankruptcy by the end of the month.

Are you receiving royalties from The Frock Destroyers?

Yes but I’ve got to sign a bit of paper. I don’t imagine it’ll be very much, I’ll probably get about £10.50 but I don’t mind.

I nearly went home. I just thought to myself: ‘I don’t need to put myself through this. I already have a good career.’

And you’ve released a single?

It’s called A Drag Race Song. Because everybody releases a song and they all sound the same: ‘I’m walking, I’m walking, I’m so fierce.’

So, it’s a pastiche on that. A drag song of a drag song.

Drag Race UK queens Blu Hydrangea, Divina De Campo and Baga Chipz dressed as the Frock Destroyers
Drag Race UK introduced us to the Frock Destroyers. (BBC)

Did you have any reservations about coming on to Drag Race UK?

Yes, absolutely. All it takes is a little snake rattle to make you look an absolute k**bhead.

But they’ve been so nice to me, the production crew, and it’s an incredible stressful situation. But what do you lose?

You don’t die.

I really struggled post-show. My mental health has been really fractured.

What was your worst moment on the show?

Can I tell you something you didn’t see?

When I was crying in week two that was the worst moment. I nearly left, I nearly went home. I just thought to myself: ‘I don’t need to put myself through this. I already have a good career.’

What you didn’t see is that in the line-up you had Cheryl [Hole], Crystal, Scaredy [Kat], myself and then Blu [Hydrangea].

When Michelle said to Scaredy: ‘Are we always going to see this makeup on you?

‘Because you have these amazing makeup artists around you – why don’t you ask Cheryl or Crystal or Blu for some advice?’

And that really f***d me up for the entire competition, it really f****d with my head. Then every single one of the judges ripped my outfit to shreds. I just thought: ‘This is not it. I didn’t come here to do this.’

That’s why I was crying but the audience didn’t see that – so I looked like a crazy person!

Drag Race UK queen Divina De Campo
Divina De Campo discussing Section 28 on Drag Race UK. (BBC)

Did you speak to the producers about how you were feeling?

I should have done but I didn’t. I really struggled post-show.

My mental health has been really fractured. I feel great now.

I’m not dangling off the end of a rope or anything. I’m just a very anxious little creature.

What was your worst ever Christmas present?

My dad gave me a video of Elton John’s Greatest Hits that came free in Hello. On VHS! In 2009!

Divina De Campo will appear at London’s Troxy on November 29 as part of the RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season One Tour. Click here for tickets and info.

 

 

 

 

 

More: Blu Hydrangea, cheryl hole, climate change, diversity, Divina de Campo, Michelle Visage, Politics, rupaul, RuPaul's Drag Race, the labour party, the vivienne

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