FINALLY Rupaul’s Drag Race has arrived in the UK and I was SO excited. Mother Ru on the BBC showing off the incredibly diverse and impressive drag that we have in every corner of the UK. Sadly though, it’s clear I was a bit deluded in thinking that RuPaul had any concern about actually presenting diverse and impressive talent. Instead, we are faced we a bunch of white, young, and frankly unimpressive drag-queens. As someone who has worked extensively in the drag scene across London and Oxford, let me tell you that I can think of a dozen queen who are twice as talented as any of these wayward queens Ru has chosen for UK’s first season.
The line-up lacks diversity in literally every way. Gay white twinky little cis-men have been the centre of all LGBTQ+ discussion for a long while, and turns out Ru doesn’t have all that much desire to change that. Out of the ten contestants, only two are POCs. Most of them are from England, making this more Drag Race England than UK, and most weirdly for me actually, none were over 35. This latter point is just baffling because one of the most noticeable things about the drag scene in the UK in my experience, is that it has always been older, more seasoned queens (normally comedy queens) who absolutely slay the game. Of course, it’s ridiculous to only have 2 POCs, because representation of gay white drag queens is hardly lacking. There were of course no Drag Kings, though there is a younger queen, Scaredy Cat, who identifies as very sexually fluid and currently has a girlfriend, an exciting moment to question the traditionally gay-identifying sexuality of drag queens. The line-up of judges seems to also be mostly white, leaving Ru often the only POC on the panel. It really baffles me how someone who is a pioneering, gender bending, stereotype challenging, proud POC seems to be indifferent to actually tackling the racist underbelly that plagues the LGBTQ+ scene. How are the no fems, masc4masc, white-only, twinky-only, and the literally endless prejudices that seem to span every corner of the LGBTQ+ community going to be tackled when pioneers like Ru refuses to recognise the importance of them?
Well I’ll tell you how! As always, POCs find their own way, make their own spaces, and produce ICONIC shows like POSE to make ourselves visible. And we will make ourselves visible, no matter how much people try to ignore us. So, Ru leaving us behind is just more incentive to work and be seen.
Now to review the frankly clapped looks of the queens in the ‘Meet The Queens’ video –
Baga Chipz –
Describing her own style as more ‘old school’ and ‘cabaret’, she seemed to forget that in her look for the video, instead choosing a hideous cow print, with red lining and cheap frills, to make an impression. Maybe it was Cruella de Vil inspired, but darling fix the hair, the leggings, fix the shape of the skirt… The makeup was boring, with slugs for eyeborws, and a half-baked black smoky-eye. ‘Old school’ seemingly means she’s ignored the last 10 years of makeup evolution. Great name though, and she definitely seems funny…
Blu Hydrangea –
The token Irish queen, there is some potential in the look, with an interesting clash between bright orange, and electric blue/turquoise. However, where is the shape? There some random skin popping out on the side of the chest, no shape at all for any kind of chest, the waist is half-cinched – what are you doing? She describes herself as ‘GCSE’ and she certainly isn’t wrong there – underdeveloped and poorly executed but with a half-decent idea. We do LOVE a good pair of chaps though. The makeup is fine, though blending seems to have been a bit of a problem, and the wig line is a mess. Let’s try get to A level standard Blu?
Divina De Campo –
She describes herself with ‘old school glamour’ and to be fair, unlike Baga Chipz, she does embody that. Gorgeous big red hair that falls into her boa, and a decent little champagne gown underneath. She started the video by bragging which is always a fun sign, but then did the annoying ‘I hate competitions’. Sashay away now hunny, because this isn’t Rupaul’s Best Friend Race. Bye bitch!
To be honest, she isn’t that bad. She sounds a bit boring, and seemed less excited about her drag than I am. But she had a nice little Sia/early Gaga hair on, and a bit of a latex number. Those shoes are also iconic that is a REAL number there. The makeup is fine, but the long bottom lash is so 2015… But hey, maybe there is some potential here?
Sum Ting Wong –
A POC and she had some serious breasts going in that intro hunny!! Some strange teal dressing gown which is frankly lazy, but we loved that popping breast number going on there (even though the breast plate is SO obvious). However, what on earth is that makeup. She looked like she’d smeared the bottom of her face in mud I feel SICK. Get on YouTube and learn how to contour because hunny, that is NOT cute.
Cheryl Hole –
What an iconic name… We do love Cheryl Cole, though latest work she’s had done was a serious mistake (watch that trash music video she released earlier this year if you don’t believe me…). Other than that, this is all a bit boring. She managed to find a matching nude for her chest which I like, but the green number was just dull. Plain old thigh high boots, which would have been much more iconic if they were also bright green or yellow. Hair fine, makeup boring, contour unblended. Where is the excitement? At least she showed some competitive spirit though.
Gothy Kendoll –
Finally a LOOK! Good makeup, fun goth-look covered in love hearts. And we LOVE a leather moment… She clearly has a brain and dropped in her dissertation, and the makeup is at least polished. But, what on earth is ‘I am not a performance queen’? ‘I don’t have much experience in performing’, can’t dance, can’t lipsync… Well hunny I don’t think you’re gonna get much experience on this show because low and behold, it’s a performance… One of the one’s with some potential literally admits she doesn’t perform. *slow-clap*
Vinegar Strokes –
The oldest queen and another POC, with a great story of how she has been influenced by the fierce women in her own life. She seems full of life and full of comedy, and there’s clearly a soft heart there. The makeup is fine, with a great pink sparkle on the eye. BUT, the outift… Hunny, no. As in, just no. Not at all. Not ever. No even a little bit. No.
Scaredy Kat –
I literally can’t be bothered to begin here. The makeup is good, individual, and polished, and the outfit is fine. But I have no time for a 19-year-old queen, who literally has no experience, who sounds about 12, and who has made a brand out of being a ‘nervous flamingo’. I have no interest in people who just have undeveloped talent where there were endless queens here who could have aced this. You don’t learn how to do drag when on the show – ‘it might be fun to be on it’. Can’t sew, can’t act, can’t name any discernible talents. There may be potential here in a few years, but for now, CANCELLED.
The Vivienne –
Liverpudlian queen with some of that good hair on. Clearly funny and the outfit is definitely polished, though a bit cheap looking. I did love the Kim Woodburn impression it was spot on, and she says she is a lip-sync queen. She also admits to being competitive and recognises only the best win – finally a fierce queen! At last maybe there is ONE I like…
Basically, after years of waiting and watching this show, this couldn’t be more of a disappointment. I don’t even know if I can be bothered to watch it. POCs how about we just come up with our own show now?
“You’re perfect. You’re beautiful. You look like Linda Evangelista. You’re a model.” — Aja