“The world is fucking heavy, so if I’m putting out something that’s making you or anyone else feel lighter or more positive in any way shape or form, that’s awesome and I feel proud of that,” says Kita Mean. We’re chatting with the Drag Race Down Under contestant over Zoom ahead of the highly-anticipated season one finale, which airs Saturday in Australasia and Sunday in the UK on BBC iPlayer.
Over the past seven weeks, viewers around the world have been – in Kita’s words – “engrossed with this overdose” thanks to her unflinching enthusiasm, bonkers impersonation of Dr Seuss on Snatch Game and challenge-winning transformation of her drag daughter, Feta Mean. She also made herstory for the franchise, along with Anita Wigl’it, as the first drag duo to sashay into the werkroom and, as the hosts of New Zealand-based competition series House of Drag, the first host slash judge to enter Drag Race as a contestant.
It doesn’t stop there, because Kita is also the first Kiwi to make the final four of a Drag Race season. Can she conquer over Art Simone, Karen from Finance and Scarlet Adams and win the title of Down Under’s First Drag Superstar? Here, we speak with Kita about her time on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, the importance of diverse drag representation on-screen and the truth behind her and Anita’s participation on the series. You ready for some tea?
Kita… this look! It’s giving me Shania Twain in the That Don’t Impress Me Much video.
Aww, thank you! I thought I’d do a fun little throwback to my boy confessional look.
Obsessed. Condragulations on making the final four of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under. How does it feel to part of the Ru-niverse now?
Surreal! It doesn’t feel real. It’s funny, I’ve been watching the show since it first started and I was a baby drag queen when I first stumbled upon RuPaul’s Drag Race. I was infatuated with it. I always thought, ‘Imagine doing that one day!’ and it was a distance thought, never thought it could be a reality. Now that it’s a reality, it doesn’t feel like how you would imagine it. It’s so special, but it doesn’t feel real.
You’ve been catapulted to superstardom during a global pandemic, and this season has been… tumultuous, to say the least. How are you coping with this newfound fame?
I like to think I adjust to my surroundings quite quickly. I feel like I didn’t in terms of Drag Race, but I’m used to the whole COVID thing now. It’s that fight or flight mentality, you have to get through it and work to understand the situation and make the most of it. Doing it through COVID-19 hasn’t even crossed my mind. It’s just the reality we’re in. That’s a bit of a boring answer, isn’t it?
Is this the top four you envisioned from the start?
Yeah. It genuinely is, 100%. I always thought it would be Art Simone and Karen from Finance, and when I had met Scarlet after the first week, I was like, ‘Yep, I think she’ll be up there.’ I didn’t think it would be a top four, I thought it would be a top three: Art, Karen and myself. Well, I was hoping it would be myself! I thought Scarlet would be with us right until the end and potentially get knocked out. Interesting, right?
Online, you are one of the clear favourites to win, if not the favourite. Did you expect to earn the title of fan-favourite amongst Drag Race viewers?
No! It’s amazing. I feel so blessed and honoured, but it’s funny because a lot of the comments are like, ‘Well… There’s not many other options,’ which is like, ‘Oh come on!’ I vibe with that.
Ignore that, because you’ve provided us with so much joy this season. With all of the controversies and werkroom drama, it’s been fun watching you have fun.
Aww, thank you. That’s really fucking awesome. The world is fucking heavy, so if I’m putting out something that’s making you or anyone else feel lighter or more positive in any way shape or form, that’s awesome and I feel proud of that.
You came into this season with Anita Wigl’it, your drag partner. When she sashayed into the werkroom, how did you feel? And did you really have no idea?
[Laughs] I don’t know if I’m supposed to talk about this, if it’s a breach of our NDA, but we had to know each other were coming onto the show. We run businesses. We had to staff our businesses and if I wasn’t going to be there in any way shape or form, uncontactable, I would put the responsibility onto her, and vice versa. So, when we were both like, ‘Hey, I’m going to be completely off the grid,’ it became pretty obvious. We knew. Also, we’re old girls and we’ve been in theatre and doing drag for so long, plus we also knew that we weren’t legally allowed to tell each other we were on, so we hammed it up in that first episode. It was like, ‘Usually you’ve got a sister with you?’ and I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, well it’s nice to be here without her!’ I was giving them what they want.
I think we were expecting, at some point during the season, an Anita vs Kita lip-sync. Tell me, who would have won?
Look, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: neither of us are winners! We’re the most fabulous losers you can imagine, that’s why we’re a good time.
You both made history as the first hosts slash judges of another competition to come into the series. Do you think this benefitted or hindered you?
Oh… Surely it probably benefitted us. I haven’t given it much thought. I live super in the present, so I don’t actively think about things that have built up. Surely it benefitted us. I’m sure. I’ll tell you one thing, it definitely gave me an appreciation for the contestants that we’ve put on our show. I was like, ‘Oh shit! This is hard!’
Is there gonna be a third season of House of Drag? What can you tell me?
There’s genuinely nothing that I know that you wouldn’t know. I would love to do it. I’m so proud of that show. Anita and I have had a long-running live drag show called Drag Wars, which we’ve always encouraged all forms of drag to participate in and really showcase, which there was zero of in New Zealand. So when the opportunity came to do the House of Drag, we really wanted to make sure that was a part of it. That’s what I’m so proud about, I would love to do more seasons just so we can have more diversity in drag on the screen. It’s definitely the way the world is going with drag, now that it’s become this cultural phenomenon. People are finally understanding that it’s not just gay men in dresses anymore. It might have been, once upon a time, for the most part. It’s about expression, breaking the rules and finding your own rules that work for you, make you happy and comfortable; living in your own realm and fantasy. When you’re a kid you dream, imagine and create stories. When you’re playing with a monster truck or a Barbie doll, it’s all imagination and you lose that as an adult. With drag, it makes you dive back into it. Society makes adults dumb their child down. It’s like, ‘Be mature! Grow up! Don’t laugh at fart jokes!’ but fart jokes are hilarious. We’re told not to, it doesn’t make sense.
I feel that. You get to a certain point when you think, ‘When did I stop playing with my dolls? Is that when I stopped… having fun?’
Right! And for what reason? Because other people say you’re immature and should grow up? That’s stupid. That’s why the world is so heavy. We are so worried about what everyone else is gonna say about us, but natural fact: we’re all that little kid who wants to live authentically and live our desires.
I’m gonna sound like RuPaul now when I say this, but why should you win Drag Race Down Under?
I just love drag. I love it so much. It makes me so happy. Part of the happiness that I get from drag is seeing the happiness that other people get from drag. Not just my drag, going to drag shows and being with their friends at drag shows. I will continue to love drag, I will continue to love making other people happy at drag shows and continue to spread positivity. I would hope that they would all do the same thing. I couldn’t tell you what I could do that they can’t do, because I’m sure they can probably do more than I can – I can’t do the splits! Honestly, I did the splits once and it was in my pants getting onto a bus.
People who do the splits are from a different galaxy. I can’t even stretch successfully in the morning.
Straight up! Honestly, after one night of drag I go to bed and I get cramps all down my legs…
The final episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under season one airs this Sunday on BBC iPlayer.