The RuPaul’s Drag Race winner, 28, on working with pop royalty, becoming a West End star, and shedding the pounds.
So, what are you up to?
I’m in isolation, blow-drying a wig…
Because you’re becoming a West End star!
Well, I had a one-woman show at Christmas but bless Covid… I’m very excited about my upcoming show, Drag Queens Of Pop, with me, Veronica Green and Tia Kofi.
Did you know Tia and Veronica already?
Yeah. Tia’s in the video for my new single and I’ve done Facebook Live with Veronica. It’s going to be a mixture of our own material, covers, stuff together.
It’s all live, which is a nice nod to good old British drag. I’ll be sticking to my roots with a bit of comedy as well.
What covers can we expect?
Some of my classics: Pete Burns, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi. And I want to learn some new stuff, musical theatre, but keep it poppy. As for the others, it’s up to them. And we need to figure out what group numbers we’re going to do.
And you have a new single…
Yes! It’s called Bitch On Heels and it comes from the legendary writer Diane Warren, which is one of the most insane things that’s happened. It means me and Diane have become good friends.
I never dreamed that would happen. She’s written for Aerosmith and Cher and Lady Gaga. To sing a song by that legend! And the song is the best thing I’ve ever done. It fits my drag character so well.
It doesn’t sound like a typical drag queen record: I didn’t want to be singing about wigs and heels even though it’s called Bitch On Heels.
You’ve been watching Tia and Veronica in Drag Race UK this year. How does it compare with the year you won?
It’s completely different. It’s an amazing series but the queens were a lot younger and so a lot more fashion-forward and with a very worthy winner in Lawrence Chaney.
We were Team Bimini…
I think I was Team Bimini but you have to remember that these people are human beings and so it wasn’t nice that there was so much negativity on social media.
It’s the nature of the beast: it’s reality and drag always comes with a bit of that. Drag queens can be bitchy with each other but it’s tongue in cheek.
Drag Race is like the extension of a dressing room and you’re having a drink and we’re all in on the joke. But when the fans get involved, it does become bullying.
How’s your year been since you’ve been crowned?
It’s been amazing. Obviously Covid has got in the way but it hasn’t put a stop to everything. I’ve been able to work from home, do TV shows.
What’s the reaction of people in the street? More recognition?
Because of Covid, being at home for a year, I kind of forgot about the recognition, but now…
I was walking through town the other day and two older fellas saw us and went, ‘Can we get a picture?’
I thought they were taking the pbut then they went, ‘We loved you on the show’ and I was, ‘Oh, sorry, I forgot!’ So we had to get round the new rule of selfies and stand two metres apart.
Staying at home must have been a relief in that you can let your eyebrows grow out.
I still shave my eyebrows off! The whole thing was great for the first month, because it felt like a holiday, but you get to the point where you just want to get back on stage. Thank God I’ve got my husband David and my dog Panda keeping me sane.
Has the look transformed over the past year?
My look is always changing but I’m getting to play a lot with costume now as I’ve lost about four stone in lockdown.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of weight on someone but after Drag Race it just got to the point where I was looking at pictures and not recognising myself, so we’re on 1,700 calories a day. We’ve done zero exercise but just watch what we’re putting in our mouths.
So you have the show, the single…
And hopefully my solo show. It was a Christmas show and we paid for costumes and dancers and everything, so it’ll be a shame not to do that. And then there’s my solo Cher show…
I’ve been a Cher impersonator for years. The show was supposed to be in November but we’re trying to reschedule.
It’ll be a full hour-and-a-half recreation of her last tour with dancers coming down from the ceiling and Bob Mackie replica outfits… all for my own enjoyment, obviously!
Drag Queens Of Pop is at Vaudeville Theatre, London, from May 17, nimaxtheatres.com. Single Bitch On Heels is out now.