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Bimini Bon Boulash on protest, politics and why Drag Race UK producers had to tell her off behind the scenes

Reiss Smith March 18, 2021
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Bimini Bon Boulash: This year Trans Pride is 'more important than ever'

Bimini Bon Boulash draped in a Trans Pride flag. (Twitter/BiminiBabes)

For Bimini Bon Boulash fans, Drag Race UK is just the beginning. They want her for prime minister next.

Over the course of the past nine weeks Bimini has laid out her manifesto in spectacular fashion: dismantle the patriarchy; don’t be scared to embrace the femme; even if you like it rough, your lentils must be tender.

East London’s most famous vegan won a legion of fans with her sharp wit and intelligence, reminding Drag Race viewers that drag is, fundamentally, about sticking two fingers up to the system.

“Drag is political in itself,” Bimini says. “The heart of drag has always been protest. It’s always been used to parody and take the mickey out of society and what’s going on. And I think I’ll always do that with my drag.”

With its phenomenal success, Drag Race UK has fast become a national forum to untangle the big topics of gender, sexuality and queer body politics, a safe space far removed from the Good Morning Britains of the world.

“There are conversations that are maybe hard for people or that people don’t get to hear a lot,” Bimini Bon Boulash reflects. “I think what Drag Race is good at is making them accessible to a wider audience…. it’s toying queer culture in the mainstream.

“Eighty per cent of the people watching [Drag Race UK] would probably go to a performance in somewhere like east London and be like, what is going on? But they’re able to relate to the drag that they seen on TV because it’s easier to digest.”

One of the most celebrated episodes of the season saw Bimini and fellow contestant Ginny Lemon speak about their experiences as non-binary people, winning praise for their candour and for succinctly explaining what non-binary means to them.

Bimini Bon Boulash
Bimini Bon Boulash. (BBC)

“Non-binary isn’t a new thing, it’s just a new term,” Bimini said on the show. “It’s just basically someone that doesn’t feel like they are either masculine or feminine, they kind of float between the two.”

Reflecting on the reaction it received, Bimini says: “I think that’s why the whole thing with me and Ginny really worked so well because there was no arguing or no debating about how people feel. And it allowed people to relate to that.”

“I’m happy to debate and discuss with people. But I’d never want it to come from a place of kind of anger or attack or intimidating, because I feel like we never progress when that happens.”

That’s not Bimini’s style, anyway. She describes herself as fairly diplomatic and reveals that in the werk room, she’d often try to defuse tense moments.

“I did actually get told though by one of the producers: ‘We love you and you’re really lovely but let people argue,'” she laughs.

Winning the competition would be a “full circle moment” for Bimini Bon Boulash. In week one she found herself in the bottom two, but after the COVID-mandated production break came back to win four out of five main challenges.

Even in that first week, Bimini says, she was quietly confident. “I knew what I was capable of. I was always quite confident when I was younger, and then I went through a phase of really low mental health where I lost a lot of that. And I was working on that over the years and drag allowed me to get that back a bit. So I kind of knew that if I put my mind to it, I can do whatever I want to do.”

She adds: “As an artist it would be great [to win] because I did just go on there and do myself, and if people love that, that’s all you could ever want.”

The RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season two finale drops on BBC iPlayer at 7pm, with the full series available to stream.

Related topics: bimini bon boulash, Drag Race UK, non-binary

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