“Hello, it’s me,” says the dry, yet instantly recognisable voice of a Milwaukee-born country-folk drag superstar down the phone.
I’m talking to skinny living legend and Drag Race All Stars 3 winner Trixie Mattel (duh) as she walks through a Manchester shopping centre, dodging fans left, right and mothertucking centre (one of them actually interrupts the call for a photo). Katya’s late, so Trixie’s using this time to tell me what an “incredible and incomparable performer” she is, which is met with a laugh as the Russian hooker and fellow Drag Racer finally joins the conversation.
“What have I walked in on? What kind of lies?” she jokes, sort of, it’s hard to tell. We’re having a three-way (chat) today in celebration of the duo’s fourth season of UNHhhh, the acclaimed WOW Presents Plus digital series in which they offer their expertise on subjects such as kids and parenting, global warming and personal hygiene. Oh, and shitting!
“We are very human and we are not the example,” Trixie explains. “We don’t have answers, and at all times, we’re maybe giving a B+ effort. And I think a lot of young people especially, they like our show because they just wanna hear that someone else is not 100% cool. We are the opposite of an Instagram gay. We’re not choosing the best angles. We don’t have the best angles.”
If we’ve piqued your interest – and if we haven’t, why are you even here? – then buckle up bitches, because this conversation is about to get even more sickening (yas gawd!) as we discuss everything from UNHhhh, The Cock Destroyers and their upcoming, highly-anticipated, hasn’t been confirmed or even talked about blockbuster, romantic comedy slasher movie. Like Katya once said, “It’s going to be a disaster.”
Hello Trixie! Hello Katya! What are you wearing today?
Katya: Oh my god, I’m so glad you asked. I’m wearing denim, cut-off shorts with a little shit-stain, and a shirt that a fan gave me, and, erm, Birkenstocks.
Trixie: I’m not wearing anything, but I have like a very confident, clothing energy. It’s like when you’re shoplifting, you pick it up and take it like you bought it. You’re like, ‘Yes, I bought it.’
K: What are you wearing Sam?
Thank you for asking. I am wearing a pink t-shirt, pink trainers and grey trousers.
K: Oh, that sounds very faggy.
Oh it is. So, UNHHhhh is in its fourth season: did you ever expect the show to ever have this much success?
K: [Laughs] I was expecting more to be honest!
T: We only get millions and millions of views. Know what I mean? We live in LA though. If Tyler Oakley goes to the post office, he gets a million views. Keeping Up With the Kardashians is actually very healthy, because it keeps you from getting too excited about your own success.
K: That’s right.
T: You know, there could be a 100 people in the room, and it only takes one estranged uncle to make a move on you.
When was the moment you guys thought, ‘Fuck… we’re successful’?
K: I don’t. I mean, I personally don’t really think that. I don’t think we’re successful.
T: You don’t think it because you aren’t.
T: I’m just kidding. You know, I think for me, it becomes personal. I don’t know who any real celebrities are, but the other day Sophie, one of The Cock Destroyers, came to my show. I was like, ‘Wow, this is a huge celebrity moment for me.’ You know?
K: Oh! I know I know. When people started dressing up like us for Halloween.
T: Yeah that was huge.
K: But then, like Trixie said with The Cock Destroyers, there’d be actual celebrities who would fangirl over us. You know Orphan Black with Tatiana Maslany? I ran into her on the street and she fully freaked out over me. She had our shirt on.
T: Oh my god, and Katya’s like, ‘Who are you?’ We’re not super in touch with who anybody is. Troye Sivan and his boyfriend came to my show the other night and I was like, ‘Thank you so much for coming!’ After he left backstage, I turned to my assistant and said, ‘Which one was Troye?’
T: I know this happens to Katya too, but I’m on tour right now and I see about ten plus Trixie tattoos on a daily basis, no exaggeration.
K: Oh yeah, that’s scary.
T: That’s a lot. You know what though? Who are we to judge? Because we all like things to an extreme amount for reasons we can’t describe.
You guys have had a lot of stars on the show, who would be your dream guest? Toni Collette?
K: Oh my god.
T: Toni Collette for sure.
K: That would just be… I want Julia Roberts.
T: One time we got a guy from Grindr to come over and do an episode. Just a guy from an app, who thought he was coming for sex.
K: He didn’t get no sex.
T: You know, I think the best people to have are the people who don’t know who Trixie and Katya are, which is a lot of people to pick from.
K: Julia Roberts!
T: Yeah, because we’re not real celebrities and we never will be. Know what I mean? You can be the most famous drag queen in the world and you’re still in coach economy comfort plus. But if you go home first on The Voice, you have like a mansion.
What about The Cock Destroyers?
K: Oh god yeah.
T: I’m obsessed with them, their whole movement with empowering women to be like, ‘I am hyper sexual and there is nothing wrong with it, look at me.’ It’s great.
K: And they have a protestant work ethic. They have a whole shtick where it’s like, ‘Holidays? Weekends?’ Oh honey. No no. Not for them.
T: Yeah, what is the real difference between what they do and what we do? Not a huge difference. In fact, for a few years in Katya’s life, there was no difference at all.
K: Really no difference at all.
So have either of you threatened a man with your 20 inch high-heeled boot?
K: [Laughs] What did you ask?
T: First of all, I love that you think after this many years in drag that we’re still wearing high-heels. Thank you for that.
K: Yeah right?
T: You’re talking to Miss Jelly Sandals 1994 over there. I’m giving you a good old one-inch Lady Bunny slipper these days so…
Well anyway, back onto the show: how do you guys come up with ideas?
T: We sit there and put makeup on and we’re like, ‘Oh we should talk about that.’ And then we’ll nip that conversation in the bud and then we’ll talk about it later on camera. We’re not planned. Nothing is ever scripted. Honestly, I believe there was one day where we were just in a bad mood, and we chose the topic ‘crying’. ‘I don’t wanna talk about kids birthdays today okay…’
K: And I think there was one – I don’t know if it’s aired yet – but there’s a topic where we just talked about shitting.
T: Absolutely. It wasn’t supposed to be about shitting… it’s coming out soon I think that episode. We talked nothing but shit stories.
K: So you know…
T: But honestly, we are very human and we are not the example. We don’t have answers, and at all times, we’re maybe giving a B+ effort. And I think a lot of young people especially, they like our show because they just wanna hear that someone else is not 100% cool. We are the opposite of an Instagram gay. We’re not choosing the best angles. We don’t have the best angles.
Well this is why you’re relatable, right? Because you do talk about stuff like… shitting.
T: Yeah, or if it’s an episode about sexual health, it’s not gonna be how Katya and I are paragons of responsibility. If anything, our show pictures us as pieces of shit and encourages you to jump rope over that if you can.
K: Yeah, don’t do what we did, you know?
On the series we see the chemistry between Trixie and Katya – would you say this is the same off camera with Brian and Brian?
K: I would say so. I’m not a good actor, so I can’t really fake it.
T: As soon as they yell cut, she backhands me. Brian and I are actually so similar in that we are both lone wolves. So off camera, we spend a lot of time separate from each other. We’re the type of people who spend a majority of each day by ourselves, which makes it really fun to do the show because it’s always a bubbling, ‘I haven’t seen you in a while.’
K: ‘What have you been up to… Brian?’
T: Yeah, ‘Years have passed…’ Some people are like, ‘Your friendship inspires me!’ I’m like, ‘We never talk.’
K: [Laughs] ‘I haven’t seen her in a year!’
T: But every friendship is different and ours… Even our phone calls, they’re not long. They’re kinda brief… Oh god I’m taking a picture with a fan at the mall. [To the fan: Oh thank you! I’m on an interview so I can’t chat right now, but bye guys!] Do you guys see how I regard my fans? Now get the hell out of here.
How did she take you being naked?
T: My weiner was unfurled so she just… followed the trail!
So, the show has been so successful. If you guys were to have a movie, what would it be about?
K: Ooh! God I wouldn’t wanna watch it.
T: Well I think our show is a story of triumph in that we are on a shoestring budget doing very little preparation with very few bells and whistles. Honestly the third character of the show is Ron and Chris, the editors, they really make the whole thing. I think it’s just impressive how great of a show we make doing very little.
K: It’s like a masterclass showcase in off-the- wall editing. But for the movie, I know what would happen. We’d need a 100 million dollar budget, and we’d go through about six different genres in about 12 different stories. We’d start out as a romantic comedy and then we’d go into a thriller, and then a hardcore slasher movie.
T: Yeah I mean they already made a movie about our show, it’s called Brokedown Palace, it has Clare Danes and Kate Beckinsale in it. In the movie, we’d be portrayed as a little more vivacious, and off camera we’d be portrayed as wacky in an industry that doesn’t understand us. When in fact, at World of Wonder it’s like, we’re not weird enough. We both really enjoy doing it, but there’s nothing you don’t see off camera. We don’t ever go, ‘Oh I shouldn’t have said that!’ We just say what we think. I have a question for Katya, if we did make a movie about the rise of UNHhhh, who would play you?
K: Oh my god, probably Ryan Reynolds.
T: Oh! So we’re being played by men who dress up?
K: Oh no no no no. In drag, it would be Sandra Bullock. For sure.
T: You change your hair in Hollywood and you get an Oscar. Gaga, brown hair – Oscar. Out of drag, I would be played by Michael Cera if he put on about 15 pounds. And then in drag, Jennifer Coolidge down.
K: Oh yeah. Perfect.
Who would co-star? Would you enlist any Drag Race alumni?
K: NO! It’s A-Listers. We’d get Julia Roberts.
T: Yeah honestly, a movie that consists of us talking to a camera that’s not the camera, sounds like some kind of freak-a-deek NYU art film that I wouldn’t wanna be.
And what can we expect from UNHhhh in the future?
K: I think I’m gonna get bangs again.
T: You’re what?
K: I’m gonna get bangs again.
T: Oh! Well I think we love it being on YouTube because we love it being… It’s sort of the toilet show, in that it’s about six minutes long and you can watch it on your phone at work while you’re taking a pee. Know what I mean? We like that it’s so accessible. There are people who watch us that don’t watch Drag Race. They watch us because it gets recommended when it’s trending like that. People tell me they go down rabbit holes of serial watching them over and over again. They binge watch them because they’re all so short. And I don’t smoke weed, but people love smoking a little weed and watching it. I guess with the editing and stuff, it’s like a stoner’s dream.
K: Emily Gordon, the writer of The Big Sick, Kumail Nanjiani’s wife, she’s obsessed with it. Very cool.
T: Yeah, we’ll always get notifications from random celebs – because you know, we’re famous, we only check our verified tweets – who really like it. Once it gets to like, Michelle Obama, I feel like I’ll have made it. Oh I would love to have Michelle Obama on our show. That would be lovely. She’s very good on the fly, all of her interviews, she’s very candid and silly.
And what would you talk to Michelle about?
K: Oh I love when she does her Barack impression.
T: I’d like to know, ‘Where are some of the horcruxes you hid in the White House before you left? Where are the dark charms you hid in the wall?’
UNHhhh is produced by World of Wonder, and airs Wednesdays at 3pm GMT on WOW Presents Plus.