Australasia has a winner, baby! Following eight weeks of maxi-challenges, lip-sync smackdowns and intense confrontations, the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under crowned its first ever champion in Kita Mean and proved that we were all, in fact, engrossed with her mothertucking overdose.
In the spectacular season finale, Kita and the rest of the finalists – Art Simone, Karen from Finance and Scarlet Adams – wrote and performed their own verses to RuPaul’s banger, I’m a Winner Baby, before hitting the runway in their most gag-worthy ensembles. After all four queens competed in a lip-sync showdown to Olivia Newton-John’s classic hit Physical, Kita sashayed away with the crown, sceptre and the title of Drag Race Down Under’s First Drag Superstar; making herstory in the process as the first Kiwi entertainer to win the series.
“When Ru said my name, it didn’t hit me straight away that it meant I won,” admits Kita. “I know it sounds so stupid, but I was expecting her to start saying all of the other girls’ names as well. Time went so slow, it felt like time stood still. All of a sudden, my thoughts are telling me, ‘Girl you just won RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and it hits you like a ton of bricks. It’s crazy!”
Although Kita is still revelling in her herstoric win, she tells GAY TIMES that she wants to get the “ball rolling” with that long-rumoured Drag Race winners’ season, which has seen various champions from across the franchise – including Jinkx Monsoon, Bob the Drag Queen and Jaida Essence Hall – express interest in competing for another crown. “Honestly, fuck yeah. I wanna do it now,” says an enthusiastic Kita. “I would be excited to compete against every single one of them. I wouldn’t be scared to compete against any of them.”
Read ahead for our full interview with Down Under winner Kita Mean, in which she discusses her triumph over Art, Karen and Scarlet, how her journey on the series came “full circle” thanks to her emotional ‘lunch’ with RuPaul, and her plans for conquering an all-winners season of RuPaul’s Drag Race . Severe? Up in here? Yas gawd!
Kita, you are glowing. I wonder why that is?
I’ve got the good lighting!
Condragulations on winning the first season of Drag Race Down Under. How do you feel?
Amazing! It’s really started to sink in today. On Sunday, I was hungover the whole day. Then yesterday I woke up at 4am and didn’t finish until like 8pm. It was non-stop! Today, I’ve had a chance to soak it in and absorb it and I feel amazing. I feel so lucky and so happy. It’s the coolest thing in my life, it’s overwhelmingly awesome.
Take me back to the moment you found out…
Usually, the episode is airing when I’ve got work, so I don’t get a chance to watch it until I get home. I’m usually half-taking my face off when I’m watching the telly. But, I was really lucky to have some friends and family come over and watch it with me, and it was crazy. When Ru said my name, it didn’t hit me straight away that it meant I won. I know it sounds so stupid, but I was expecting her to start saying all of the other girls’ names as well. Time went so slow, it felt like time stood still. All of a sudden, my thoughts are telling me, ‘Girl you just won RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and it hits you like a ton of bricks. It’s crazy! I think it was so unbelievable that my brain was like, ‘Nope! There’s something else coming!’
How did your loved ones react?
I didn’t really click until I re-watched a video that someone took. They were all screaming but I didn’t remember that. I just remember being stunned. I couldn’t even tell you what I did or what I said until someone showed me footage of it because I was just like… It was a full blackout moment of me in my head like, ‘I cannot believe I just won RuPaul’s Drag Race.’
Can I just say you motherfucking slayed that Physical lip-sync?!
Thank you! I had so much fun doing that. I love performing, I love doing drag shows. I hadn’t really had a chance to do it. I got to do it with Elektra [Shock] but that was in a stupid costume – everything about it wasn’t fun. But my god, I had so much fun doing that performance. And also, we did them all separately, it wasn’t like we were all on stage so it didn’t feel like a lip-sync battle. It just felt like I got a chance to perform it. Yeah, thank you, I had so much fun doing it.
What has the response been like from fans so far?
It’s been overwhelmingly positive and supportive, which is crazy. To be fair, I haven’t had a chance to dive into any public domain, comments or anything. I’ve been able to slowly go through stuff that’s come through to me directly. There’s even messages from my closest nearest and dearest that I haven’t been able to reply to yet, so it’s so overwhelming. It feels like every single person that I’ve met in my life has messaged to say how proud they are of me. Throw on top of that, every person that I haven’t met! One human being is not worthy of having that much love directed at them, not all at once. I feel super greedy! It’s nice, but we should share it around a bit because I don’t need that much. My quota is full!
In the words of Monet X Change, “Soak it up!” because you will forever be known as the first crowned queen Down Under. You’re the Bebe Zahara Benet, Natalia Pliacam, The Vivienne, Priyanka and Envy Peru of Australasia! You’re that person.
[Laughs] Yes! That’s just crazy. That’s crazy. It’s crazy that that is a fact and that will never change. Knowing who I am and what I’ve done, it doesn’t feel real. You look at these people and they’re these mythical beings.
This was an emotional episode for you, too. The Kita Mean journey came full circle as you opened up to RuPaul and Michelle Visage. What was that like for you?
It was so beautiful. Even the very first time RuPaul walked into the werkroom, she had this air about her. You just trust her and feel like she’s in your court. It’s hard to explain. It’s like motherly but also… I can’t put it into words! There’s a vibe about her that’s really beautiful and trusting and caring. We got that straightaway. The first time she walked into the werkroom and did her thing, she broke out of what anyone was telling her and spoke to us. She was like, ‘Hey guys, thank you so much for coming and doing this, I’m really excited to be here in New Zealand.’ It was so authentic and you just feel that it’s so genuine. I already picked up that she was someone I could trust. She has this way of working you out straightaway. She barely knew me. It’s like eight weeks, eight episodes, but we’re not filming it for eight weeks. That’s realistically a couple of weeks. For someone to understand me was really special because I’ve always struggled with thinking that people don’t understand me. It’s hard for me to get people to understand me because I always feel like it’s hard to get the words out of mouth that I think in my brain. But, she just got it. She really did help me come full circle and make some realisations about myself, the places I’ve been, the places I want to go and what I need to connect to make that happen. I was so grateful for that. It was a really special moment for me.
What do you hope to achieve as the first crowned queen of Down Under?
Wow. That’s such a great question because I don’t know what the answer to that is. I don’t know what people expect of me. I definitely want to do everything that people expect of me because I don’t wanna let anyone down. But, I haven’t worked out what that is! In the meantime, I’m gonna keep doing drag, loving drag and performing in drag; doing everything that I’ve done up until this point. I’m gonna navigate everything with the same intention that I’ve always done. It’s allowed me to take bigger risks now. I’ve invested some money in recording music and making music videos. I assumed I’d surely get it back in a couple of gigs! It’s allowed me to take a few more risks and invest more into my drag, which is exciting. I’ve just released it actually, it’s on YouTube at the moment and in 24 hours, it’s had like 20,000 views. Who in their wildest dreams would’ve thought that many people would want to watch my stupid music video?!
Tell me Kita, are you in for that long-rumoured winners’ season?
Honestly, fuck yeah. I wanna do it now. Now that we’ve got a Drag Race Down Under winner, let’s get that ball rolling. Let’s do a little bit of all over the globe, let’s bring it all together and let’s do it in. In a heartbeat, I would do it.
Are there any queens you’d be scared or excited to compete against?
I would be excited to compete against every single one of them. I wouldn’t be scared to compete against any of them. Honestly, I’ve said this to a few people today and yesterday, it truly didn’t feel like a competition. I didn’t go into RuPaul’s Drag Race looking at it like a competition, which might sound really stupid but I just didn’t. I was just excited to do it that the concept of competing wasn’t something I thought about, which was probably to my disadvantage! I didn’t think about it. Again, I wouldn’t think about it going into that, it would just be so exciting to do. Imagine going and doing it with all of those girls?!
That would be the Avengers: Endgame of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Yes! It needs to happen. There’s enough winners who would do it, right? I’ve been so invested in this fantasy, it’s definitely played out in my brain already.
Well, there are over 20 winners overall…
And there’s a huge handful of people who said they’d do it.
I compiled a list of all the winners and what they’ve said about it, which I’m going to shamefully plug right here…
I’m going to check it out and make a dream cast!
You’ll be added very shortly…
Yes! Then I’ll flick you a message like, ‘Erm, so in hindsight, these are the people I’m actually nervous to compete against…’
The first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
You can watch the sickening new music video for Kita Mean’s new single, Kita Mean, here or below.