Bimini on why drag is about so much more than brunches: ‘I hope it never loses that edge’
Nobody works a red carpet better than a drag queen, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a drag queen that does it better than Bimini Bon Boulash.
The Drag Race UK superstar was a vision in sculptural white lace when they co-hosted EE’s BAFTAs watch party with Clara Amfo this past Sunday (13 March) – stylist Ella Lynch dressed them in a gown by London-based brand Yuhan Wang, accessorised with ankle-strapped, satin heels, platinum waves and a pair of blue chiffon opera gloves.
Clearly, they nailed the assignment – a fact proven when none other than Lady Gaga rocked up on the red carpet with the same hair.
“The last time I saw her was at the House of Gucci premiere, and we had the same shoes on then,” Bimini tells PinkNews. “I really wanted to interview her at the BAFTAs, I felt like it was our time to meet each other properly. She definitely saw me there, though. She looked at me. She knows I’m coming!”
Bimini’s looks was less well-received by the Daily Mail, which called their outfit “medical-looking.”
“They put me on their worst-dressed list,” Bimini cackles. “Put it this way, if I’m ever on the Daily Mail’s best-dressed list, I’m doing something wrong!”
Moments like these are important to Bimini, who happily throws a middle finger up at gendered fashion rules at every opportunity. It’s this anarchic spirit that underpins their gloriously fluid drag, which can more accurately be described as “mythical, ethereal creation” than straight-up “female illusion.”
“I sometimes wear a corset, but I don’t really pad or tuck for the most part,” says Bimini, who said in a recent interview with musician Yungblud they’re “not really sure they’re doing drag any more.”
Drag is just one of many tools in their arsenal, which they use with the wider intention of disrupting gendered norms. This has always been the point of drag, a deliciously queer art form intended to f**k with preconceived notions of what masculinity and femininity look like.
“Drag is punk,” says Bimini. “People go to drag brunches – and I’ve worked the brunches, I love the brunches and I have so much respect for the huns – and think that’s all drag is about, but it’s about going against society. It’s about creating new rules and taking the p**s out of masculinity and femininity, basically. I hope it never loses that political edge.”
Now, Bimini disrupts at every chance they get. As a queer, working-class, fashion-obsessed kid growing up in Norfolk, they never imagined they’d have a dream team of designers gagging to dress them. (“I definitely know a few more people now,” they say modestly of their fashion black book).
“I want people to never know what I’m going to wear, and I think you can pull that off if you’re able to be quite fluid,” Bimini says. “I was in Paris at the weekend, so I did really short, black 80s hair with dark eyes, and that was way more androgynous. For the BAFTAs, I had these platinum Hollywood waves, so I decided I would play with that look without boxing it into a certain style or gender.”
As well as Gaga, supermodel Naomi Campbell also crossed Bimini’s path. “I saw her look at me, and I swear my soul left my body,” Bimini recalls with their trademark exuberant laugh.
Don’t be a d**k!
Bimini’s ‘90s supermodel aesthetic has earned comparisons to Kate Moss, and Tayce – their Drag Race UK co-star and long-time friend – to Naomi Campbell.
“People say that we’re the Kate and Naomi of drag, so we just laugh at it,” explains Bimini. “I’ve seen Tayce hustling, and we both came up on the UK drag scene together working every weekend, so I love spending time with them and working with them. We’re on the same level and we just get each other, so I’m excited to see what else we can do together.”
This long-term friendship might surprise Drag Race UK viewers, though. “I think the show doesn’t want viewers to think we have all these pre-existing relationships, but I was already friends with a lot of them – I can say that now I’m out of contract,” they say with a mischievous chuckle, alluding to the show’s notoriously strict contracts. “The producers never really made a thing of these friendships, but I think they thought they would just get me out on the first episode, so they didn’t really have a storyline for me!”
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Thankfully, Bimini stayed past the first episode – “it’s a good job, I’m definitely a grower, not a shower,” they laugh – and went on to open up vital conversations about drag, gender fluidity and non-binary representation.
Plenty of these discussions also made it into their debut book, Release The Beast, a major mainstream landmark for representation of gender non-conformity.
“I think some people get it, some aren’t going to,” says Bimini. “You’re always going to ruffle some feathers. I don’t care if someone doesn’t believe it or doesn’t want to, because to me, being non-binary means rejecting the way society has created labels, stereotypes and barriers for people based on gender. I reject that entirely.”
As well as working on new music (“there’s a few really exciting collaborations, and the new material definitely won’t be what anyone would expect from a Drag Race queen”), Bimini is hellbent on using their platform to keep pushing these conversations forward, and to keep fucking with pre-established norms.
“I always think about how different my life would have been if gender norms and rules weren’t forced on me,” they explain. “I’m very lucky to be in a place where I’m happy and confident in myself, but I know not everyone can get there. In fact, I haven’t always been there! I’ve been through depression and anxiety and it’s been a rollercoaster, but I’m here now, so I know it is possible.”
Tapping into the joyous freedom of self-expression has brought them this far, and Bimini is paying these life lessons forward to fans.
“There are no rules, really,” they conclude. “Be who you are and wear what you want, just always be kind to people. Basically, don’t be a d**k!”