“I don’t think I deserved to be in the bottom at all,” Charity Kase confidently tells GAY TIMES, before politely asking if she can use the word “bollocks” to describe the tumultuous new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Well, if the shoe fits? For their latest maxi-challenge, the eight remaining contestants produced adverts for a brand new in-home smart assistant, Draglexa. Standard. After storming the runway in “expensive-looking drag”, the “I don’t wanna see any fucking H&M!” version of RuPaul reared her head as she delivered a massive shocker: none of the contestants did well, and therefore were ineligible for a RuPeter Badge. Not one! None! Nada! Zilch! “It was odd,” continues Charity. “Nobody winning, that definitely set the tone for us being at each other’s throats.”
Although she took control over her team and left viewers slain with one of the most insane runway presentations the British spin-off has ever seen (yes we said it!), the fantastical performer was forced to compete against Scarlett Harlett in the lip-sync smackdown for the second consecutive week. This time, a double shantay wasn’t in the cards and the latter’s interpretation of Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender won her another week in the competition, while Charity Kase was given the boot. What a world, huh? Shortly after her exit, we spoke with Charity about the twists and turns and goops and gags of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, her incredible picks for Snatch Game and how opening up about her HIV diagnosis has impacted viewers at home.
What was it like watching the episode back last night Charity?
Oh gosh. It was lots of ups and downs, mostly downs! But, it was a massive relief and I was really happy with the looks that I showed and I’m really proud of myself overall.
Well, I’ve got a lot of thoughts. Usually I don’t get this riled up, but…
Tell me your thoughts, spill it to me baby!
For one, you whipped your team into motherfucking shape. And two, you delivered one of the best runways I’ve ever motherfucking seen on that motherfucking stage.
Thank you so, so much. My runway was inspired by the concept of the Tooth Fairy. When I was told it was something around money, I wanted to do some sort of fantasy creature that was based on money. The options were a dragon or Tooth Fairy. So, I looked over the Tooth Fairy idea and I was very heavily inspired by the Galliano runways and my good friend Bambi Blue of Trashy Planets made my outfit, which was just amazing. I’m very proud of walking down the runway wearing something that someone so close to my heart made.
Do you think you deserved to be in the position you were in?
No! I don’t think I deserved to be at the bottom at all. If I’m honest with you, I don’t know who I would have put in the bottom. Watching them back, maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think our advert was as bad as the other group. But, I’m not going to say that to any of them! I think we both could have been better, don’t get me wrong, but I was hoping the fact that I stepped up to the mark… I actually ended that day feeling really low and beaten up. I was beating myself up over it, just doing crap in the previous weeks and not excelling in the things that I wanted to excel in. So, I was really proud of myself that I turned myself around and took charge when it was necessary. It’s just interesting that when you’re in the room, everyone was like ‘Thank you so much for getting us through this!’ but in the confessionals it’s, ‘Charity Kase is taking over.’ It’s all good fun, I guess it’s entertaining at the end of the day. It was fun to watch, more than anything.
How did you react when Ru said there were no winners this week?
What language am I allowed to use here?
This is a safe space.
The word that I thought of was “bollocks”. Like, ‘Oh god I’m in trouble now.’ It was a shock, more than anything. It was a massive shock. I was really looking forward to this episode coming out in a lot of ways because there’s so much drama, there’s so much tension because it’s high stakes. I knew it was coming, obviously, so it’s the one thing that I’ve been waiting for most. I do think it lives up to the expectations. But yeah, it was odd. Nobody winning, that definitely set the tone for us being at each other’s throats. Every man for himself, you know?
I have to talk about that moment in the mini-challenge when Scarlett wanted to team up with you and you ran over to Kitty. I was screaming at my telly, but also cackling…
Oh my god, no, I feel so bad about that! Watching it back, that was so cringy to watch for me. It was awful. I honestly didn’t even remember that happening until the following day when Scarlett said, ‘Charity didn’t go with me in the mini challenge.’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, what? That was that big of a deal?’ In my head, we’re all just struggling and trying to get through it and trying to do our best, and I’ve been getting really close with Kitty. Neither of us have a badge and in my head, Kitty was the perfect balance to my sense of humour. As soon as they told us to pick our best girl, I looked around and saw Kitty catching my eye. She was looking at me too and she was like, ‘Charity come here!’ In that time space that I’d connected with Kitty, Scarlett had put her arms around me, but I guess I hadn’t really clocked that. I wish I thought about Scarlett’s feelings. I wish I considered Scarlett’s feelings because if I had thought about it properly, me and her had a great lip-sync last week. We would have been a good comedy duo together. She was feeling really rejected and really rubbish because she did rubbish in the challenge last week, and I know how that felt. I regret that a lot. At the end of the day, we’re all under pressure and it’s a competition. Me and Scarlett are good friends. Out of everybody from the cast, I’ve known Scarlett the longest. She’s a total sweetheart. I have her back until the day I die. I really do.
That’s what some fans seem to forget, right? They’re watching a TV show and you’re not mortal enemies. How have you found that side of being on the show? The fan reaction? What’s been your experience with that?
Again, it’s been up and down. I think I’ve had an absolutely incredible reaction for my drag and my looks, which I wasn’t actually expecting. I know that my drag isn’t for everybody. I say that, looking here like a fucking psycho clown! I kind of expected it to be like that, but the overwhelming amount of people rooting for me and saying that I’ve been robbed or that I’ve been overlooked is so fulfilling. It is so validating. I’m very grateful for all the messages that I’ve got, especially about my HIV story. That was incredible. I had so much support.
In that beautiful conversation with Kitty, you continued to raise awareness of HIV and how living with HIV is no longer a death sentence in 2021. What impact have you personally witnessed from having this conversation on Drag Race UK?
I have personally replied to over 500 to 1000 messages of people telling me their stories and saying that me having this conversation on the screen allowed them to tackle this conversation with their families, watching it with them or their children. That’s so heart-warming. I’ve gone my whole adulthood thinking that I’m an activist, trying to do what’s right and caring about immoralities in the world. This is the first time where something that actually came from me has made physical impact and change, and that’s really rewarding. I can’t tell you how fulfilling that felt for the next few days after that came out. Even today thinking about it, it’s amazing to feel like I’m actually doing something good, rather than just dressing up as a monster! It goes hand in hand. My drag is political and has a statement to it. I’m proud of being so open with my story because it wasn’t an easy thing to do, to put myself out like that. I didn’t go into the show planning on doing it, it was kind of a decision that came whilst I was there and I think it was the right decision. I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody talk about it so brutally honest, and simply, on UK television before – maybe Gareth Thomas or It’s A Sin. But, I feel really proud to be involved in that little group of people who are fighting this cause and speaking about it in the UK.
Absolutely. It’s also incredibly important because there’s still a lot of stigma within the LGBTQ+ community itself…
All you need to do is go on social media, a dating app, and see ‘clean’ written on every other profile. That in itself… is so offensive. Just because you don’t have HIV, you’re clean and I’m dirty? That is the stigma to a T. It’s all about education and the education system in our country isn’t great at all, especially not when I was younger. I didn’t really know what it was when I got diagnosed. That’s really problematic. We are making stages. We are making steps. I’m working with the Terrence Higgins Trust and I have been for a while to work on my messaging, their messaging and to push what is necessary to push. We’re still putting pressure on the government to fund the HIV Action Plan, which is to end new cases by 2030, which is actually physically possible, medically possible and scientifically possible, which I think a lot of people don’t realise. By 2030, HIV could be done in the UK. It could be over.
I would like to talk about your drag. Did you expect, coming into the show, for the judges to tell you to switch it up?
I knew it was coming. The first thing I want to say in retaliation to any of these questions – maybe not on stage because I’m not gonna bite back there! – I never heard them ask Krystal to do a scary look. I’ve never heard them ask Scarlett to do a whimsical look. I’ve never heard them ask Ella Vaday to do a high-fashion look. I’m only joking! They’re okay with keeping people in a box when their box fits the stereotypical cookie cutter type of drag. I feel like when it’s the alternative, they want to see versatility. I went into the show knowing that would happen, and that’s why I brought glamorous looks as well. That’s why I brought my koi fish look for the red carpet, which I think was traditionally glamorous. That’s why in the sewing challenge I came down the runway looking traditionally glamorous and more stereotypically beautiful and feminine to try and tick those boxes, but it clearly wasn’t enough. That’s okay, my drag isn’t for everybody. My drag is for me, that’s why I do it.
I thought you were drop dead gorgeous every single time you stepped out on that bloody runway, especially in the latest episode. It was breathtaking! How do you want yours and Victoria’s appearances on this season to impact the franchise moving forward in terms of “alternative” and diverse styles of drag?
Obviously, I would love there to be more alternative drag on Drag Race. People often ask me, ‘Why don’t you go on this show or that show? Why did you go on this one? It’s not really for you?’ The reason I went on this show is because I chose to showcase this style of drag to a more mainstream audience, rather than a targeted audience that is interested in this sort of drag specifically. I think it’s about time that the world sees this sort of drag and sees that it is valid. I really hope that more alternative drag is shown on the show. In my opinion, it should have happened years ago with an AFAB queen. I would love to see a drag king. More than that, I would like to see a season full of drag kings actually. It’s about time. We’re waiting!
Charity, I’ve been dying to find this out ever since I interviewed you earlier this year and I really hope you tell me. Who would you have impersonated for Snatch Game?
Okay, so I had two options for Snatch Game. Number one was the devil and I was gonna be like Him from The Powerpuff Girls. Very camp! Then I had Mystic Meg as my second option. The same as Joe Black actually, so I reckon she will pop up in future!
I’m dying over Him from The Powerpuff Girls because he is a freak. I love him.
I wanted to do something that was a bit more out of the box. I had some great lines for Meg, as well. It would have been fun but it wasn’t meant to be and I genuinely felt ready to leave the show at this point. I was not really having a great time. I felt so low on myself. It was like a weight off my shoulders, honestly.
What is next for you Charity? American Horror Story season 11?
If Ryan Murphy wants me, he knows where to find me! I am his, for anything at all. I’m starting my own night next month, a club night slash brunch event called Your Nightmares. That’s going to be happening at some point. I’m currently on tour right now for Tales of the Condemned with Cherry Valentine, which is a Halloween tour. If you want to get tickets to see that… It’s a great show. I’m also producing new collections constantly on my shop, where I sell handcrafted clothing and custom-made garments and all sorts of fabulous things. I’m going to be doing nothing has ever been done.
The first five episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 3 are now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.