“I was confident, I was dirty, I was a Frock Destroyer!”
Each year, when the RuPaul’s Drag Race cast is unveiled, fans are quick to categorise the contestants into the ‘comedy queen’ or ‘Instagram queen’ bracket, without really knowing what they have hidden in their repertoire.
For Blu Hydrangea, she fell into the latter. She boasted the most followers on social media and has been praised to the mothertucking high heavens thanks to her breathtaking makeup skills and quirky, fashion-forward lewks.
The Northern Irish didn’t let us down, serving some of the most sickening runways this season. However, she proved the naysayers wrong when she showcased her comedic talent as ‘Dirty Mary Berry’ and her performance skills as part of the most iconic girl group of the decade: Frock Destroyers (Break Up Bye Bye is on track to debut in the top 30 on the UK Singles Chart).
“There might be more for the Frock Destroyers, so you never know,” she reveals, shortly after being kicked out of her hotel room for being – in her words “too fabulous”. “We’re in a group chat and we’re eager to do more!”
We caught up with Blu to discuss her elimination at the hands of best squirrel friend Cheryl Hole, being a beacon of light for Northern Ireland’s queer community, and whether the Frock Destroyers will represent the UK at next year’s Eurovision.
Condragulations on making the top five of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season one! How are you feeling?
I’m feeling great! I have a bit of FOMO because I’m not in the next episode. It’s the makeover challenge! But other than that, I’m all good. I wouldn’t change a thing at this point. Who would have thought I would’ve got to the top five in the first place?
Well your lewks slayed and you surprised all of us with your comedic talent – have you had a restraining order from Mary Berry yet?
I thought that would happen! It hasn’t yet. I was a bit filthy and stuff, so I see why people didn’t take it well but I was pretty proud of it. I didn’t expect to go in and do that kind of thing on the show? I didn’t expect myself to be able to pull that off.
I thought it was funny! I think people need to get a biiit of a grip.
Thank you! Ru says, “Make me laugh,” and that’s what I did. Not many people get a shout out from Ru on the main stage and then get told they’re safe. Especially for me, that was not my forté, that was not my wheelhouse. It just proves that I was willing to do anything to last and to stay as long as I did.
Do you feel like you’ve grown as a drag queen from being on the show?
Absolutely. I went into it so shy and reserved and not totally… I went into it as Josh and not Blu. Obviously when you put on all the drag and stuff, you become a completely different person, but I couldn’t get out of my head to do that, to be this over-the-top drag queen persona. But I was confident, I was dirty, I was a Frock Destroyer! This show has taught me to be myself, and people will love me for what I do.
You came onto the show and said you wanted to represent the queer community of Northern Ireland – what has the reaction been like from those back home?
It’s been really positive. At the bar that I worked at, we have a little viewing party and I was always get sent the videos from that because I can’t bear to watch it in front of people! It’s always massive crowds in tiny little bars because there’s like only two gay bars in Belfast. It’s nice for the community to get together like that, especially after all we’ve been through recently. I hopefully did them proud and represented them the way they would want to be represented. Maybe not with the Frock Destroyers and Mary Berry but the rest of it… hopefully!
How was it watching last night’s episode back?
It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I prepared for it in my head and I watched it with Crystal and Cheryl, and they were so lovely and supportive. I feel like I didn’t go out on a bad note or a really crappy note where I did really badly in the challenge. I didn’t do too awful! It was just a lot at that point. Although the lip-sync wasn’t that great for me, Cheryl got to prove herself and I’m so proud of her as a friend, that she got to have that moment.
Did you ever think you had a chance to stay, seeing as how you were up against Cheryl Hole in a Cheryl lip-sync?
[Laughs] I mean, not after the lip-sync! But for a moment, I thought it was going to me vs Baga or Cheryl vs Baga so then maybe I had a chance of staying. At the same time, who want to be up against Baga? She’s been so good, great television.
It’s rare for a queen to sashay away looking the best she’s ever looked, and I think you did that.
Thank you so much! Even when my hair was all… At least I didn’t hold back, that’s what I was thinking when I saw that because oh my gosh… No shade to my hair guy, the hair was done well, but I don’t know what I was doing on that runway.
I’m not sure if you’d know the answer to this, but why did they choose a remix of Call My Name? The original is perfect as it is.
I know! It’s great. I don’t know, you know… But of course, Cheryl had choreography for that version of the song! When we got to the runway, they had originally cut down a version of it. But when we were on the runway, they played the full version. Cheryl doing Cheryl is her in her element and if it was a remix or not – I was still going home! [Laughs]
You made it to the top five, so you had quite a lot of screen time. But was there anything that didn’t air that you would’ve liked audiences to see?
I actually think they edited it just how the days were. There’s not much that was missed out. We were all so close, I kinda wish we got more of that because whenever they showed us in the werkroom, it was the same people. Me and Baga were really close, me and The Vivienne, me and Crystal, me and Sum Ting, but you didn’t see that. We just all wanted to do the UK proud.
Well… you’re set to debut in the top 30 of the UK Singles Chart this week as part of the Frock Destroyers. How does it feel to be a bonafide pop star?
My boyfriend’s a big fan of Marina and the Diamonds and he’s like, ‘She doesn’t even have a top ten!’ So it’s crazy. It’s insane. I expect the other girls like Divina and Baga to grace the charts with a solo single but if you would’ve told me that a song I’m a part of was going to chart… I mean. I would’ve laughed in your face, it’s ridiculous! It just shows the reach that Drag Race has.
Is this confirmation that you won’t be the next Northern Irish drag queen of pop?
I mean… I could be the next Nadine Coyle of pop but I think I’d be more of a Sarah Harding, a mediocre pop star.
[Laughs] That is some shade actually isn’t it? Don’t put that in! But there might be more for the Frock Destroyers, so you never know. We’re in a group chat and we’re eager to do more, so hopefully that happens!
Fans have also campaigned for you to represent the UK at Eurovision – you down?
Absolutely! Do people sing live at Eurovision or do they mime? I can mime it so well, but live singing…
I’m not sure, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did mime…
Well, even better!
Would you come back for a future season of All Stars?
Oh my goodness, absolutely! With a drop of a hat. If the show can do all of that for me in just one round, what can it do me for me in a second round with me having more confidence? You know? Definitely.
What would you do differently?
Have more confidence from the outset. It’s hard to say that because being thrown into a situation is what threw me off – what’s to say that won’t happen again? I just think I’ve found talent in things that I thought were out of my comfort zone. I can only start working on those things, it’s only up from here!
And finally, what’s next for Blu Hydrangea?
I’m going to meet all my fans across the UK. I wanna keep up my social media so that people can follow me past the show, so that’s where I’m going to be focusing most of my energy. Hopefully at some point, I’ll get a makeup collaboration with a brand. And fingers crossed more Frock Destroyers stuff – it’s iconic!
Drag Race UK airs every Thursday on BBC Three. The first six episodes are now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.