“It’s gaggedy, giggedy, gaggedy goo,” says Ella Vaday. “You best test that gag reflex because we’re going for it this season!” Hyped yet? Is that even a question? We’re speaking with the cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three (!), which arrives just seven months after 17-year-old Worcester icon Ginny Lemon fled the stage mid lip-sync, the United Kingdolls bing bang bong’d the nation and Lawrence Chaney conquered over Tayce and Bimini. Not a joke, just a fact: it was one of the most chaotic and entertainting seasons in the show’s herstory. If you missed tuning in every Thursday and revelling in all the memes on Gay Twitter, you’re in luck because season three is about to bless viewers with “more twists than a cheese twist in a bakery”. Loves it.
Next month, 12 more fierce queens – Anubis, Charity Kase, Choriza May, Elektra Fence, Ella Vaday, Kitty Scott-Claus, Krystal Versace, River Medway, Scarlett Harlett, Vanity Milan, Veronica Green and Victoria Scone, the franchise’s first ever cis-gender female competitor – will stomp into the werkroom to showcase their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. As per, they will compete week-after-week in various bonkers maxi-challenges, stomp the runway in high-fashion ensembles and throw down in lip-sync smackdowns to earn
a cash prize and the coveted title of the UK’s Next Drag Superstar.
Like the past two acclaimed seasons, which have been streamed over 35 million times on BBC iPlayer, the third season will see the return of RuPaul and Seduction singer Michelle Visage, as well as rotating panellists Alan Carr and Graham Norton. To mark the occasion, all 12 contestants sat down with GAY TIMES to spill the T on this ‘iconic and nuts’ new era of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.
GAY TIMES: Massive condragulations to all of you for making it onto RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three. How are you all feeling?!
Charity: It feels like a dream come true and it’s almost like a nightmare brought to life at the same time, which is perfect for me and I’m absolutely loving it.
Being part of the RuPaul’s Drag Race family is incredible in itself, but to be in such an incredible season along the likes of having the first cis woman is just incredible. It really is history making.
Choriza: It’s overwhelming and so nice in so many ways. It’s like my birthday, Christmas, and Dick Thursday all at once! I can die now!
Elektra: I literally can’t go anywhere. My phone’s buzzing, I’ve got helicopters flying around the house. I just want to go to the shop, know what I mean? There’s press everywhere. I just want a loaf of bread.
Ella: It’s been ‘ell of a day. The name that keeps on giving!
Scarlett: I can feel the steam coming out of my ears!
Elektra: People are coming out of the woodworks, ‘Hey! Oh my god, congratulations, how are you?’ It’s like… We haven’t spoken in years. Don’t print that.
Kitty: Being part of the RuPaul’s Drag Race family is incredible in itself, but to be in such an incredible season along the likes of having the first cis woman is just incredible. It really is history making and I’m so proud and honoured to be a part of it.
Krystal: I’m so overwhelmed by all the love and I don’t know where to start. It’s so fun.
River: I’m really excited because I can’t wait for everyone to see me and all of us because I love all of us!
Vanity: I’ve been a fan of the show for a very long time, so being a part of Drag Race history is one of the best feelings in the world.
Ella: My life has just changed today. Mad.
Choriza: It feels like I’ve just taken the biggest dump and I’m introducing it to the world. It’s a beautiful and sparkly dump as well. I’m just so happy to share it.
Anubis: Absolutely surreal, I don’t think it’s actually sunk in yet and I don’t know if it ever will to be honest. But yeah, I feel on top of the world! What can I do next? Win a Grammy?
GAY TIMES: An EGOT?
Anubis: Why not? Someone’s gotta bloody do it, do you know what I mean? RuPaul can do it first. I don’t wanna come for her gig, bloody hell.
GAY TIMES: Veronica, you are officially the first queen to appear on two UK seasons of Drag Race as a competitor and Victoria, the first cis-gender woman to compete on any iteration of the franchise. How does it feel to be making herstory?
Veronica: It feels bloody good to be making some herstory! That was the literal driving point to saying yes when I was given the open invitation. There were lots of factors that stacked against going back. Being on Drag Race is very expensive, paying for two seasons during a pandemic was virtually impossible, being in a pandemic… I weighed it all up and the negatives far outweighed the positives, but the positives are: it’s an experience of a lifetime and I’m going to be making some herstory as the first queen to do two seasons in a single year. It’s only been 30 odd weeks since the last Meet the Queens! Who else will ever get to do that on Drag Race? I just couldn’t turn down the offer.
There's a plethora of diverse drag that the UK and the world is yet to devour on mainstream TV, so this is it. Here we go!
Victoria: It is a big deal. It’s very exciting. Again, a long time coming. There’s a plethora of diverse drag that the UK and the world is yet to devour on mainstream TV, so this is it. Here we go! It’s a lot of weight on my very large shoulders. Can we swear here?
GAY TIMES: Absolutely. Shit. Fuck. Bollocks. Say what you like!
Victoria: Fuck yeah!
GAY TIMES: How would you all describe your style of drag and what would you like viewers to know about you, first and foremost?
Anubis: I think I would describe my drag as chaos, crazy, camp and rather outrageous. I think if you had to take anything away from my drag, I just don’t take myself too seriously. I’m there to have a laugh. I’m there to entertain. I might do a song and don’t even bother making me sing. [Starts singing Happy Birthday.] Sorry, it just comes out naturally!
Charity: I think of my drag as a fantasy, a creation that’s not and never going to be seen again, has never been seen before and something that shocks and makes you think. Drag to me is political and it has meaning. I try to use my drag, not only to express myself and get my emotions out – which it definitely is and it’s really personal – but also to make people think about larger world issues, such as beauty standards and the perception of the word ‘ugly’ for example.
Choriza: I’m Newcastle’s spiciest, meatiest, and silliest sausage. I’m a sexy mama queen of drama from Valencia, Spain. I bring the drama, I bring face. I like to make you feel things when you come to my show. I really like to showcase my Spanish heritage once I’m here. The UK loves Spain! Benidorm, Málaga, all these places, Formentera! Listen, you love it! You spend your summers there. If you come to one of my shows you don’t have to go on holiday, you’ll have a little piece of Spain in the UK.
Elektra: She’s a pocket rocket, a full-out dancer who loves to shock the audience with her dance moves and tricks, jumping from things into splits, landing on her head and spinning. I love doing stuff like that. I have a dance background so that’s my style of drag. I’m not one of your fashionistas – no actually, I’m not gonna say that. I wanna be the smallest person on the cover of Vogue or on a runway wearing Vivienne Westwood or another designer, Mugler or John Paul Gaultier, anything like that. I want them to book me as their smallest person, just five foot two and a bit, know what I mean?
Ella: It’s very curvy, hyper-feminine. As a guy, I’m not a very feminine person so this is the opposite of me. I like it to be a big ol’ booty, tiny waist, big ol’ boobies, big hair. I like to do the glam and the stupid. I don’t take myself too seriously, but also… I do. I like to be perfect! I’ve always got an outfit together and look pretty polished. I like to be stupid but to also do a good job.
Kitty: My drag is very Soho, it’s very West End. It’s busty, it’s blonde, it’s bubbly, it’s all the B’s baby!
Krystal: It’s very fierce, it’s very polished and hyper-feminine. It makes me feel like I am living in armour. I just do what I want. I do whatever makes me happy and makes me feel like I’m in the fantasy. And you’re gonna get plenty of tits!
There are so many twists, it's ludicrous. You're gonna be gagged, gooped and every other syllable you can think of for a drag queen to say.
River: Musical theatre-loving, pop princess, Hannah Montana superfan and amalgamation of everything that I was brought up with and it’s all coming out now. It’s literally as simple as that! And just fun! I’m honestly here to just have fun. I love drag so much, I love doing drag, I love consuming drag, I love other drag artists, I just love it.
Scarlett: I am the Danny Dyer of drag – the bloke, not his daughter! It’s Hollywood Glamour until I open my mouth and then I sound like I’m public enemy number one that’s going to rob you on the street. But, that’s fine, it’s my brand. Because I look really girly, people think I’m a look queen but I’m the total opposite of that. I’m more like a cabaret queen. I sing live, I like to tell jokes. I think a lot of people wouldn’t know that about me. They see me and they’re like, ‘Oh fierce mama slay, death drop,’ but that’s just not me. I’m very East London, very down to earth and I like to have a laugh. That’s what I want people to know about my character. I’m here to fuck shit up!
Vanity: My style of drag is very fierce and unapologetic. It is very sexy, it’s full-on and a performance. Have you ever seen The Beyonce Experience? You’re gonna get The Vanity Milan Experience. I’ll definitely take you through the paces where you’re like, ‘I’m tired after watching that performance,’ and there’s me backstage holding onto the wall with heavy-breathing.
Victoria: As a woman in drag, I had to make myself very palatable and bookable from the offset so people would want to book me. I knew that I had to sing and dance, that’s fine, I can perform and hold a stage. And, I’m only considered an alternative queen because I have a vagina. I definitely blend the modern and the traditional in a very gorgeous and palatable way. I don’t know why I keep referring to myself as “palatable”? I’m not too offensive to the eye – depends what you’re into!
GAY TIMES: What about you Veronica? How have you evolved since we last saw you on the series?
Veronica: Everything has changed about me. I guess the core person inside is still the same, if you will. But, world events and my drag in general have just completely changed. The pandemic changed me as a person and my circumstances in life, and that has affected my current drag as well.
GAY TIMES: What kind of impact are you all hoping to leave on the Drag Race franchise?
Anubis: The fact that you can be as young as you bloody like or as old as you bloody like, or as middle-aged as you bloody like, and still love drag and be good at it. I don’t think age should define drag, I don’t think age should define anything. As well as a blue tick. I’d love a blue tick.
Choriza: There are so many European immigrants in the UK, it was about time that there was a little representation for us, you know what I mean? I come from a very small town, and I just want the little queer kids to realise that they can be whatever they want to be. Whether it’s a latex demon on a Wednesday afternoon, you can do whatever you want and you can get whatever you want.
Elektra: As Jinkx Monsoon says, “Water off a duck’s back.” I want to inspire those who are afraid to be different, who are afraid to step outside the box or their hometown or afraid to brighten up their hometown. Take no shit, live your own life and don’t let others bring you down because they don’t pay your bills, pay them bitches no mind.
There are so many European immigrants in the UK, it was about time that there was a little representation for us.
Ella: I think the impact I’ll bring is that you can literally embody all the things that Drag Race is, like singing, dancing, acting, comedy, looks, everything. I embody all of those things – that sounds really confident – and I’m self-taught. I taught myself everything. I work hard, I play hard and I perform really well.
Kitty: I just want people to realise you can do drag and you don’t have to be a bitch. You don’t have to be catty. The thing is, it comes from a place of love. Obviously, you are going to have bitchy people, I mean we’re fucking twats in tights! We’re clowns essentially. It’s all a bit of drag, just fun! I just want to spread love, acceptance and positivity.
Charity: Look at me, I’m very self-aware. I’ve got eyes and I’m not stupid. I know that my drag isn’t for everyone. It’s not meant to be for everyone, you know? It’s meant to be for me. I do things because I love it, because it’s my passion and for all those people who also love it and they get a kick out of it. I wasn’t expecting to be loved by everyone on the show or loved by all the judges or even loved by RuPaul for example, it was all just like, ‘I’ll see where it goes and show them what I’m capable of’ and that’s what I did. I’m really excited for everyone to see some of the looks that brought. Because this is like half an hour sticking paper on my ears. But I was preparing for months. My looks are going to be next level.
Krystal: I wanna be able to inspire people who are starting drag, who don’t really know what they wanna do in life. I didn’t know what I wanted in school. I didn’t wanna follow that path that’s set. That’s not me. Then this came along, and I’m doing it! I wanna make people feel, ‘This is an option for you. You can do it. Don’t worry.’
River: I want people like me, marginalised groups, who are from a small town where you think you need to get out to be somebody to see themselves in me, a mixed-race, working-class queer person.
Scarlett: I’m from the Isle of Dogs and I didn’t grow up with much. I really worked hard to get myself to the place that I’m at because I had ambitions as a kid to get out of that kind of working-class lifestyle, even though I still sound like I’m from there and I am, but I really just wanted to lift myself out of that and to show people like me at home that they can do it. It doesn’t have to be drag, it can be whatever your ambitions are. Me sitting in this chair talking to you right now is proof that if you work hard enough, you can land your dream. I never thought I’d be here. I could cry but I’m not going to because I rushed my makeup and I don’t want to look like Carrie.
Vanity: Viewers, if you wish for something and work really hard at your craft, perfect your craft and take those few bumps into the road, you can do it. Listen to me, I’m like Nicki Minaj.
Veronica: Season two, I was the unknown queen and no one knew who I was going into the competition. Season three, everyone knows my name. It’s a completely different dynamic. Navigating my way through that is something that I hadn’t anticipated. I just didn’t realise, ‘Oh wow okay, I’m the name on everybody’s lips walking into the werkroom,’ which makes you feel good in some aspects, but in others it paints a bit of a target on your back!
Victoria: It’s gonna be the viewers at home, event bookers and people who go and watch drag. Hopefully, people will start to put on more diverse line-ups. That’s basically the goal here because we’re missing out on such diverse and delicious line-ups. I do love traditional drag but sometimes it does get very samey. We can enjoy that traditional drag that I love so much, but we can have all these different types of drag as well. Drag kings, drag things, people that have thought of something you would have never thought of before. People go, ‘If you go and see a show, you wanna see a certain thing.’ You don’t know what you wanna go and see. We’re gonna fucking take over the world. Oop, oh wait I can say “fuck”!
GAY TIMES: Drag Race boasts several staple challenges such as the Rusical, the makeover challenge and, of course, the Snatch Game. Did any of you study the competition element of the series before entering the werkroom or did you wing it?
There's so many things that have never happened before and it's just full of surprises. People are going to have to pick their jaws up from the floor a lot this season
Anubis: It was a bit of both. I’ve watched Drag Race since I was about 13, so I’ve been watching it for the majority of my teenage years. I think, just from learning from queens I adore like Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Sasha Velour and Jinkx Monsoon, all these funny and artistic queens that can hold a room so well, it has brought me to life. Because of watching the show, I feel really prepared for it.
Choriza: The one that I practiced the most was the sewing challenge. Leading up to the competition and the day of filming, I was trying to get my sister Risque helping me everyday, teaching me how to sew. I was making a dress a day just to get ready.
Charity: I think you have to go in with a plan, for specific challenges like Snatch Game you have to go in with a plan. You can only bring a certain amount of costumes so you need to know what looks you’re doing for everything. There is no space to bring spare backups. There’s no room for that, so you need to be prepared and you need to have these characters down.
Anubis: Obviously, no one can prepare you for that experience and I am shitting my pants, to put it bluntly! I think you’ve got to wing it as well because no one can prepare you for it, no matter what anyone says. No one can prepare you for the feeling of walking into that werkroom.
Vanity: I’m the type of person who takes everyday as it comes. I don’t wanna set expectations and I think that’s the best way to live to be honest with you. Never set a high expectation because if it doesn’t reach that expectation, it’s a little bit like, ‘Oh okay, is that it?’
Ella: I wanted to learn how to sew anyway, not just because of Drag Race, I thought about saving some money and making stuff. Like Catherine Tate, “I can do that!” I’m fiercely independent so I want to do everything myself. In terms of the rest of the competition, you can’t really prepare for a girl group challenge, for acting, for a lot of it. But luckily, that is what I’ve done my whole life. I’ve done a shit ton of auditions, so really, Drag Race is a huge audition that goes on for weeks.
Kitty: The things I was most nervous about were the sewing challenges, so when I got the call I was like, ‘Right, let’s get my grandma on the phone, she’s going to teach me how to sew’ and by that she did. Beryl did me good!
River: Yeah, I made sure to brush up on my sewing skills because that is always where people really crash.
Krystal: I didn’t really study it. I’ve always been a fan of Drag Race, but I know what I want. I’m very determined as a person so I’m like, ‘I’m gonna make it happen.’ And I have, we’re here!
Scarlett: Everyone and their dog says ‘I’ve cracked the code’ and all that, but I don’t think you ever can. You can kind of look at how the show goes and see what RuPaul wants and kind of work on that.
Veronica: The things I’m really strong at, you never know when they’re gonna crop up in the competition. But, the things I did have an advantage with was knowing how the system works and how to play the game, so to speak. Having that prior knowledge of how the show runs, the inner works and cogs, I had an advantage there.
Victoria: I can get compulsively, obsessively perfectionist and I have psychopath qualities. I was definitely very prepared going in. I was so ready! I don’t wanna give too much away… I was fucking ready.
GAY TIMES: You heard it here first, Victoria Scone is a psychopath!
Victoria: A narcissistic psychopath!
You don’t compete just against the queens in your season, you compete against what happened before you.
GAY TIMES: It’s only been six months since season two, which boasts a plethora of instantly iconic moments, can we expect season three to follow in its footsteps when it comes to the gag and shock factor? And don’t hold back!
Anubis: I would describe it as a season with the most twists in Drag Race herstory. There are more twists than a cheese twist in a bakery. There are so many twists, it’s ludicrous. You’re gonna be gagged, gooped and every other syllable you can think of for a drag queen to say.
Charity: It is going to be full of fashion, ‘sasshion’ and a whole lot of ‘assshion’. If you want the shock factor, then you definitely came to the right place.
Choriza: You don’t compete just against the queens in your season, you compete against what happened before you. Season two was such an amazing season and it came at a moment that it was so needed. But I think we are going to kill it just as much as they did, or even more.
Ella: It’s gaggedy, giggedy, gaggedy goo. You won’t stop gagging. You best test that gag reflex because we’re going for it this season!
Vanity: Gagged, gooped and gawped honey!
Krystal: Gaggery is an understatement.
Kitty: The twists and the turns! Honestly, we were literally there doing it. I remember thinking, ‘I genuinely don’t know what’s going to happen next.’ Ru literally tore up the rulebook and threw it out the window.
River: I’m honestly not even exaggerating, it’s obviously going to be my favourite season of Drag Race because it’s so bloody good. I’m so excited for the world to see it. It’s not just typical gaggy stuff. It’ll all make sense and it’s so exciting and there’s no other season like it.
Vanity: It is the best season you will ever watch of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. I’m telling you now, and you heard it from me first.
Veronica: Oh gosh. It was like I was on two completely different shows! The dynamics were so so different.
Scarlett: I think that RuPaul looked at season three like Mr Burns and was like, ‘Hmmm interesting… Let’s fuck shit up.’
Veronica: There’s gonna be more firsts than you can imagine. There’s so many things that have never happened before and it’s just full of surprises. People are going to have to pick their jaws up from the floor a lot this season.
Elektra: Season three is diverse, ready and here for a good time.
Scarlett: It’s nuts! I don’t even know how else to elaborate on that. I would say just nuts is a good place to start and to finish.
Ella: Viewers are in for a really camp season – really fun, emotional and groundbreaking. We’ve got the first AFAB queen. We are pushing the boundaries of Drag Race. It’s never been done before. I’m super proud of my whole cast, they’re absolutely amazing.
You're gonna enjoy every single moment of this season because we did the damn thing.
River: We are a really entertaining bunch. Every single one of us has a really great personality and we all get on well. I will say we are genuinely a lovely family. It’s hard but I think we get on really well. We have really great characters and I’m excited for everyone to see us.
Kitty: The absolute iconic hunness of it is going to be through the roof. Honestly, you’re not ready.
GAY TIMES: Finally, is there a game within a game this season? Please, just tell us now.
Charity: I don’t think there is, but I win games.
Ella: Maybe this is the game within the game? I don’t know. Maybe. They’ve not told us!
Kitty: Bloody hell can you imagine?
Anubis: I can’t reveal too much but all I’ll say is: tune in.
Victoria: Game within a game! Oh god. Every bloody episode is a game within a game, I’ll tell you that…
Vanity: There’s not a game within a game but there’s a game honey, and you’re gonna enjoy every single moment of this season because we did the damn thing.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three premieres on BBC iPlayer in September. You can watch the first two seasons in full now on BBC iPlayer.