“There is a landfill somewhere in the UK that has that outfit.”
After winning over the nation with her lovable charm, that incredible Kat Slater-inspired “total slag” entrance line, and some epic wig reveals during her New Rules lip sync, Vinegar Strokes was sadly told to sashay away this week.
The queens were tasked with making a fashion-forward outfit from car boot sale items like VHS tapes and rubber gloves, but Vinegar’s look crafted from pages of a book got read to filth by the judges and was even branded ‘hodge podge’ by RuPaul.
“I definitely agree with the comments about the outfit. It was a pile of junk,” she tells us. “But even in the moment, I was thinking about how people always turn negative things into positive things. I’m gonna turn hodge podge into my thing!”
We caught up with Vinegar to find out who her incredible Snatch Game character would’ve been, why she was so shocked that Cheryl wasn’t in the bottom two with her this week, and whether she’ll make a return for All Stars.
How are you feeling after watching the episode back?
You know what? I’m really chuffed with it, I think it was a great episode and I had a great time watching it – I was very drunk at The Two Brewers in Clapham going, ‘Wow, this is amazing!’ And it was really cool because I’d been bricking it with anxiety about it all week, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is gonna be awful’, but actually it was great!
Did you agree with the judges comments this episode? Especially being called ‘hodge podge’…
So, I definitely agree with the comments about the outfit. It’s a funny thing because everyone was like, ‘Oh my god Michelle was so harsh with you’, but I agreed with everything she was saying, it was a pile of junk! You know when you’ve done something really shit, and you ask your best friend, ‘I know it’s really shit, can you tell me it’s really shit?’ And they go, ‘It’s shit’, so you’re like, ‘Yes, thank you very much!’ It was that kind of vibe really. The whole ‘hodge podge’ thing, I was not expecting RuPaul to come out with that phrase! Obviously being a drag queen, especially a drag queen at a level where you can get on Drag Race, the last thing you wanna be called is ‘hodge podge’. But even in the moment, as a fan of the show, I was thinking about how people always turn negative things into positive things, so I was like, ‘I’m gonna turn hodge podge into my thing’. I’m gonna own it. Looking at what I’m doing now compared to how it was eight months ago, I’m like, ‘That’s a whole different person!’ D’you know what I mean? And that’s the thing, when you go on a show like this you can’t produce a look for yourself, you go in with what you’ve got and what you know at that time, and then you learn from it. I feel like I’ve come out of the experience and I’ve learned so much just from working with these girls, and I definitely think I’ve found a point of view for my drag.
Do you still have the ‘car boot sale’ outfit you made?
There is a landfill somewhere in the UK that has that outfit. Honestly, I came off the stage and I chucked it straight in the bin. I was like, ‘Get rid of it! I can’t deal with it!’ And to be honest, I’ve got no space for any of that crap, so have a nice time with it and then get rid. It’s all good.
On the episode, you seemed shocked that Cheryl wasn’t in the bottom two with you…
I. Was. SHOCKED.
Do you still feel that way having watched the episode back?
Yeah. It’s so funny because when you’re in the room and you see everyone’s outfits you’re like, ‘This girl has done what I used to do for Halloween as a kid, where you just take a bin liner and you cut a hole in it and go out trick or treating. She’s literally just made a full body bag and it’s terrible.’ I was adamant that Sum was not going to be in the bottom because she had sewn something, but obviously sewing something and designing something are two completely different things. So in the moment I was like, ‘Sum you’re safe, Cheryl it’s me and you in the bottom, so death drops galore’, but when I watched it last night I was like, ‘Oh… yeah… actually Sum’s in the bottom’. It’s funny how when you watch it back you go, ‘Oh yeah I get it now’.
It was really sweet to see your friendship with Sum on the episode, have you been hanging out a lot since then?
Yeah, in fact she just called me and I was like, ‘I’m doing interviews, goodbye’ and put the phone down. It’s that kind of relationship where we can be like, ‘I’m not talking to you today’, and then another day we’ll talk for an hour or so on the phone. So yeah, we’re really good mates. Really good mates.
Was there anything that didn’t make it onto the show that you would’ve liked the viewers at home to see?
I wish I had a lot more of the acting challenge shown, because I did loads of physical comedy and loads of ad-libby one-liners which I wish made the cut of the episode, because obviously when you go in you want to show off what you do well, and for me I was there for three weeks and week one was a look challenge, week three was a look challenge, and I had that one week in the middle to show what I actually do, and I felt like I showed it in the room but it wasn’t really broadcast as much as it should’ve been. But hey, you know what? It doesn’t matter. I think I did a great job on all three weeks really, it’s just that I applied what I could do to the two challenges that weren’t in my wheelhouse, as it were. I am gutted I didn’t make Snatch Game…
Can you tell us who you were you going to be?
I can tell you actually, I was gonna be Sandra from Gogglebox, it would’ve been sick! Let me tell you, I’m a big fan of Bo’ Selecta! so I always think a good Snatch Game is when you Bo’ Selecta! it up by like 20%, so yeah it would’ve been amazing. But I’ll bring her out I’m sure, I’m gonna do her for Porn Idol at Halloween because I’m hosting that with Baga Chipz and Son Of A Tutu. I’m gonna bring her out then.
Your wig reveals in the New Rules lip sync are already iconic…
Babe, I fully was not even preparing to do wig reveals, to be honest I wasn’t even preparing to be in the bottom two! I didn’t know what Gothy was gonna do, I didn’t know if she was gonna be pulling out death drops – because you know Ru loves a death drop – so I was like, ‘I need to pull some sort of stunt’, so yeah, the wig reveal was hot.
Were there any other gags or outfits you had for future performances that you didn’t get to show off?
Well, what was hilarious was, I felt I had some wicked clothes, okay? But the best clothes were coming after what you saw, so one particular one I’ve got is absolutely STUNNING, I’ve got pictures of them all so I’ll be posting them on Instagram and stuff, but I was like, ‘I just wanna wear these two outfits and now I can’t!’ But yeah, I felt at the time I had some great stuff, and like I said before it’s so funny when you leave and you re-evaluate what you do with your drag, if I was at the place I’m at now looks-wise I would literally attack each runway completely differently. Like the Bond Girl would be completely different. So yeah, it’s really funny to be looking at it like, ‘Oh my god, that’s how I was’, and now I’ve got a completely different view of what my drag is and what my character is.
Would you come back for a future season of All Stars?
Hey, I’m a working, jobbing bitch, so if these opportunities come up then absolutely. Why wouldn’t I? And I think the world wants some more Vinegar Strokes! After seeing the reaction to me being on the show, I’m so overwhelmed by how positive it all is. Because you hear these horror stories from the American queens about trolls and all that, I think I’ve had one major troll who’s tried to come for me, but Boy George stepped in, so it’s all good! I was nervous, but actually it’s been the complete opposite. I would totally come back, and because I’ve experienced this once – it’s not that I would know how it works, because it’s always different and it always keeps you on your toes – but I would have a better way of preparing myself for it because I’ve got this new-found version of Vinegar Strokes, and I’m excited to get this new version out now.
You mentioned Boy George showing his support, but you also got some love from the Cock Destroyers…
[Gasps] Oh my god, I love the Cock Destroyers! I’m obsessed with them. Praise from the Cock Destroyers is like getting an MBE really, isn’t it? They’re great, and it’s such a shame that they get slack from people because of what they do, but they represent something that most people are quite afraid to look at and say, ‘This is okay’. There are plenty of people doing it, but they’re the ones who have become a face for it. I think it’s great that they’ve blown up, and they should be people who we go, ‘Yeah, I’m into that!’
There’s been a lot of talk about how Drag Race UK will affect the drag scene here. We’re only three episodes in, but have you notices any changes already?
I think people are upping their game a lot more in terms of looks and all that, but my big advice is, ‘Always up the performance, if you’re a performer, make sure you can fucking perform’. The show is what it is, the show is the platform and the springboard for you, but if you’re coming out and there’s nothing to sell and there’s nothing for people to latch onto and buy into, I do think, ‘What are you doing?’ If you’re just about making looks, that’s great, but are you gonna transfer that into your own fashion brand or a makeup line? I think with this kind of thing you have to come out and give the public something and do something with the platform. It’s important. As much as we are just ten ordinary people on this show, there are a lot of people looking to us to maybe move the scene forward a little bit. I don’t know what direction that is, but maybe we can actually open up opportunities for other people, even if they don’t go on the show they can indirectly benefit from Drag Race UK, it’s just how you look at it. A lot of performers slag it off, I’ve heard a lot of drag queens slag it off to high heavens, and it’s like, ‘You’re slagging it off, but you’re still gonna reap the benefits if there’s extra work coming, you’re still going to take that work’. So yeah, I think it is gonna shape and change the scene, and I hope that it’s gonna change the mainstream in the UK as well, that we are allowed to go and host a baking show, or do something political, because at the end of the day our voices are just as valid as the cisgender straight white man who’s talking about it, if not more valid because we’re coming from a place of culture and class and gender and sex and the way that people perceive the LGBTQ community in that way. So if we can do bits and bobs for the community, it’s all good.
You just mentioned hosting a baking show… can we expect Vinegar to be on The Great British Bake Off soon?
Actually, do you know what my dream job is? To host a UK version of Nailed It! on Netflix. Oh my god, literally, that is the job for me.
You would be perfect for that.
Wouldn’t it be camp? And babe, it’s perfect for me because I can’t make anything either! So yeah, I’m putting that out there for everyone: I need to host Nailed It! But yeah, I’d do it all, why not? Bake Off would be amazing, Strictly, why not? Although I think other people have got their eyes on Strictly… But yeah, I just think let’s get everyone involved! We’ve got just as much personality as your Gemma Collins and your Kim Woodburns, and we wear wigs while doing it, so why not?
Who do you want to see walk away with the crown?
Well… RuPaul is gonna walk away with the crown regardless, so yeah, there’s your answer. You know I can’t talk about things like that!
Fair enough. I have to try!
You have to try, you never know, you might catch me when I’m drunk or having a gin! No, I know who I would like to see walk away, but I just couldn’t say.
Drag Race UK airs every Thursday on BBC Three. The first three episodes are now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.