Sister Sister urges toxic fans not to ruin Drag Race UK for everyone else
Drag Race UK’s Sister Sister addresses the toxic abuse she’s received from viewers of the show – and how things are hopefully changing for the better.
As the UK continues its love affair with Drag Race, toxic habits that have plagued the US show’s fandom are beginning to creep in.
With favourites dropping left, right and centre and the queens’ tightly-wound nerves fraying on screen, certain so-called fans have lobbied abuse at contestants – forgetting that underneath the glitter and eyelashes are human beings just like the rest of us.
Sister Sister spoke out on Monday (22 February) about the abuse she’s received, including one tweet that described “in graphic detail how they would like to see me die and what to do with my body”.
“The toxic fandom have made themselves clear and my mental health has reached rock bottom,” she wrote for The Guardian. “And right now, I’m not OK hun.”
Fortunately, following her elimination, Sister seems to be in a better place – thrilled with the support and response she’s received for speaking out and optimistic for the future.
PinkNews: How did it feel watching your elimination back?
Sister Sister: Well I’ve basically just had the drag equivalent of getting fired! But it was the most fun that I’ve had watching an episode. I’m still coming to terms with why that is – maybe I’m a masochist? – but I thought it was really fun.
The sewing challenge certainly looked fun. Your look – it was out there.
It was stunning, is what you’re saying, it was gorgeous! I categorically stand by it, I think it’s the most beautiful, beautiful outfit ever created. Correct me if I’m wrong, which I don’t think I am [laughs]. I do absolutely love that outfit.
You’d done so well in the reading challenge just before that, too.
I live for comedy roasts, I live for the reading challenge, so I was super excited. It’s all very tongue in cheek, context is everything.
And were you happy with the reads that you received?
I mean, they were all a bit lacklustre weren’t they. I am a bit of a comedy snob.
Do you have much of a comedy background?
I do, I always say that I’m naturally a comedian and I just happen to wear heels and a wig. I grew up on comedy. I didn’t necessarily grow up on drag, that’s something I parlayed into much later on. I live for British comedy. French and Saunders series one to six was the only thing that I took with me when I went to film Drag Race, I took a portable DVD player and the box set. I love Victoria Wood… that good, old, solid comedy sketch stuff that’s a little bit absurdist, very self referential, zeitgeist-y..
Were you gutted when you realised Dawn French was the next guest judge?
I can’t talk about that, honestly [laughs]. We shared a tweet a couple of weeks back, one of those interactions where you just end up throwing emojis at each other that don’t even mean anything. It was like, she sent me a brick and I was like, “Yes Dawn, I agree!” So I’ve always got that.
You wrote an article in The Guardian this week about the abuse you’ve faced from viewers. What’s the response been to that?
There’s been a change in the temperature in the water, which was kind of the point of it. I wanted to hold a mirror up and say, guys, this is what we’re doing as a society. Drag is a melting pot; it’s a reflection of what’s going on in the world at the time, and I don’t think that the hate and the vitriol that comes from our community – because it is our community – I don’t think that is the point of why we do what we do. I really think that we can do better. Every now and then it takes someone to go: Stop, red light, we need a bit of a reset, this is has gotten out of hands. And I’m so happy – so, so thrilled that the the article was so well received. It’s a shame that it had to happen, but I think it resonated with the right people – I hope – because there’s been a massive influx of love and understanding.
I just think in a worst case scenario, the fandom is going to eat itself. And we’re going to end up missing out on some really fantastic drag opportunities as a result – we don’t want to get to that. Why would you want to get to that? That’s stupid. We just have to show a bit more love. The show preaches it, RuPaul literally preaches it.
Does the response make you hopeful for getting out there, getting back into clubs and meeting people in real life?
So much. Just the thought of hugging a stranger is getting me through the days. I think I speak for everyone when I say they can’t wait to go back to the way that it was. I think there’s going to be so much emphasis on fun and everyone’s going to remember the first place they went to after lockdown, the first queen they went to se perform. It’s going to be magic.
Have you got your first night planned out?
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I’ve got my outfit planned! There’s a queer club night in Liverpool, I’m gonna treat myself to going out, getting sweaty and probably necking a stranger. And I can’t wait for some sort of tour to get on the road, I can’t wait to be back with my season two queens.
What’s your relationship like with the other queens? Are you all group chatting?
I’m in contact with Tia every single day, Joe Black, Cherry, Asttina, Ginny Lemon – unfortunately – who’s a support system and a troll at the same time. Ginny sends me a daily nude which keeps me going! We’ve gone through something so unique and so mind-boggling that whether we like it or not, we’re all attached at the hip.
All things considered, are you glad you did it?
Absolutely, no regrets whatsoever. It’s been a wild ride. And I think the fun and novelty of it is that it’s going to continue, it’ll still be a rollercoaster. It’s why we do it, it’s why we get into these ridiculously stupid situations. It beats my office job anyway!
Drag Race UK continues on BBC iPlayer on Thursdays at 7pm.