Cheryl Hole on swapping Drag Race UK for milking goats and mucking out the celebrity farm
Cheryl Hole is swapping the glitz and hair-flips of Drag Race UK for the altogether less glam Celebs On The Farm.
Reflecting on the experience to PinkNews, she said her time on Drag Race UK was a “crazy, exciting, once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, and she’s excited that the franchise has grown to encompass and showcase “queens all around the world”.
“It’s just so great to highlight the queer talent around the world,” she said.
“No one drag queen is the same – we’re all very unique and special individuals.”
Since the series aired many of its queens have gone on to become reality TV staples: Baga Chipz has competed on Celebrity Masterchef, while The Vivienne recently showed off her skills on The Great British Sewing Bee.
Cheryl thinks it’s incredible that drag queens are “getting to showcase ourselves on shows outside of our specialisms”.
“There are so many transferable skills that could be put onto other shows,” she said, noting that Drag Race highlights “all the talents of a drag artist”.
“You could be the best chef in the world and be a drag queen and go on MasterChef.”
And it’s not just drag queens. Cheryl is thrilled “that the world is changing” and giving the LGBT+ community more opportunities.
“I love seeing so much more representation of the LGBTQ community, like with Nicola on Strictly Come Dancing and H [Ian H Watkins] from the Steps and Dancing on Ice.
“It’s progression that has been needed, and I’m so grateful to see it.”
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Cheryl Hole always wants to represent.
Whenever she’s doing a project, Cheryl Hole wants to represent “our communities in the best way possible” because “we need positivity in the world”.
The LGBT+ community needs to “share our stories, our truths and our experiences to educate people”, she said.
Cheryl highlighted the groundbreaking hit show It’s a Sin, which tells the story of young gay men who move to London during the AIDs crisis in the 80s. She said, because of the show, there’s a whole new generation of people who are learning about the AIDs crisis.
Cheryl said LGBT+ voices “still need to be heard” because the “fight and struggle” for equality is still going on. She said: “I want to use my platform for positivity, but I also want to educate.
“It’s always conversations that some people are too scared to have that I’m more than happy to have and educate others.”
Part of the fight is to platform a wider range of voices from within the community – not just cis, white gay men. Cheryl explained she would like to see more representation of trans stories played by trans actors, and more lesbian and non-binary stories as well.
Even though there’s been a lot of progress, “there’s still so much more room for everybody, and there’s more talent to be heard from”.
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Getting down and dirty for TV
One of the crown jewels of Cheryl Hole’s time post-Drag Race is joining the third series of Celebs On The Farm.
She explained that, while being on the show, she realised how vital agriculture and farming were for life in the UK.
“I’ve said from day dark that I’ve never been an outdoors person or animal person because I never really had pets growing up,” Cheryl explained. “Growing up, I was never really playing in the mud with the boys.
“So to shove me on a North Yorkshire countryside farm, I was like, ‘Well, we’re going to give it our best’.”
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In the show, ten celebrity farmhands will compete in a series of team and individual challenges to win the prize of being named the supreme champion farmer. The series is filmed on a real farm in the Yorkshire Dales and celebs will have to participate in real farming duties including animal handling, goat milking and manual work.
Cheryl said the show has “so much heart and warmth”. And because it’s on TV, she said, it’s also education. Cheryl explained: “People will see how farms and agriculture work and how much of our daily lives are changed by what farming brings to our society.
“I’m very excited for everybody to see what sort of things we have to do on a farm to make sure that they can have meat and dairy products, produce and whatnot.”
Celebs On The Farm moves to MTV for its third series, starting on Monday (8 February) at 9pm.