Carmen Farala is a lady. In one of her funniest moments in the confessionals, she states: “One of the things I dislike the most in a drag queen is vulgarity.” She is the owner of the best track record of the first season of Drag Race España. The drag queen from Seville won three maxi-challenges and never had to lip-sync. She amazed the judges with her sewing skills and impressed everyone – including herself – with her talent for making people laugh.
As she tells us in this interview, she is inspired by the world of beauty pageants. In her 12-year career as a drag queen, she mainly worked with her image and has performed very few times. All that she had when she entered the werkroom was her beauty, a lot of confidence and great sewing skills that sometimes saved her ass.
This Sunday (25 July), we’ll find out who will be crowned the first Spanish Drag Superstar. We talked with the first finalist in the contest about winning her spot on the craved grand finale of Drag Race España. Let’s find out how she is dealing with all the visibility brought by the show and how confident she is about being the first Spanish winner of the franchise.
Hi Carmen, how are you?
Fine, how are you?
I’m fine thanks! How are you on your nerves for the final?
It is nerve-wracking. I can only talk for myself, but I think my colleagues are feeling the same way. We are getting close to the end, and it seems incredible that it’s so close. It has been a very short time since we entered the werkroom and it seems incredible that it’s already ending. The truth is that we are already crazy about it.
You have been doing drag for 12 years. It’s almost the same time that Drag Race has been on air. I guess when you first started it had nothing to do with the drag world as it is today. How did you start doing drag?
My first contact with the drag world was in Seville, when I started going out. I have been living in Madrid for 12 years and I have been doing drag practically since I arrived here. I started doing drag inspired by the world of beauty pageants. I had a friend from Venezuela, who liked the world of the misses, so that is how I started. I never saw RuPaul, the American version, I did know the show, but for me Drag Race was never my reference. Once they contacted me to tell me that I was in the show, I started watching to see what it was about, but avoided watching too much to avoid my character being influenced by other drag references and remain true to my essence. When you see something that you like, you try to recreate it. The girls who do drag inspired by American drag are very noticeable because they all end up looking alike.
So you started competing as a pageant queen?
Here in Spain there are many drag beauty contests like those in the Canary Islands. I have never participated in a gala in the Canary Islands. I participated here in a gala that was held in 2010, I think. It was called ‘Miss Girl Planet’. It had two or three editions. I competed in the second edition and I won. I started working right away in the world of the night, doing shows and I distanced myself from beauty pageants. But my character continues to be inspired by that femininity of this type of contest.
With your appearance on Drag Race España, you will become a reference for a whole new generation of LGBTQ+ youth. Who has been yours?
Honestly, I have never had a clear reference to follow. I have always considered that simply doing drag is already an activism. You do not need to shout or claim anything because only by going into the street in drag is already a statement. I have admired the world of drag itself for what it represents. It’s true that in Spain we have great drag references such as La Prohibida, or the very Supremme de Luxe.
What did you learn about your drag or what have you improved during your time on the show that you did not expect?
For me, it was one of the most enriching experiences of my life, professionally. I knew that I had the skills to participate in the contest, but I have been surprised at how much I have come to learn. There were barriers like comedy that I had never broken. So overcoming some comedy challenges and even winning them has been amazing.
Are you surprised to be in the top three?
I’m very perfectionist, whenever I want something I fight to the death for it. When I decided that I wanted to enter the contest I said, ‘If I go, I will go to get them.’ I believe a lot in myself and this confidence is what has made me come so far. I think it has been seen during the season. I have worked a lot and I always had a plan B. I even had a plan C. In case something went wrong, I could continue to play my game until the end, perfectly. I think I wanted it so much [to be in the final] that I fought to get it.
Tell us something that surprised you about being in a TV show.
I have really felt like family. I have met wonderful people. The whole team has been wonderful. If television is that, I am here to stay. Extremely well treated, very well received. A real family.
In the reunion, you commented that sewing was your strong point and that you would stick to it in the challenges that you thought would go not so well. How has your vision changed in the face of that after you went through the program?
My strong point was sewing. The seven years that I have been working in the world of the night, with the group “Hermanas Farala”, I have always sewn the costumes for the three of us. So I knew that I already had this advantage, I knew that was my strength. The drag that I have developed has always been about the image. I worked in nightclubs with my image or as a go-go girl. Lip-syncs I have done very few times. As we were three [Hermanas Farala], it was hard putting together a number. I think people had little expectation of me because they thought I was just a pretty face. But what they didn’t know is that I’m a very steadfast person and hard-working. I set goals and fight for them fiercely. But I always respect my colleagues. In the show the competition has not been with my colleagues, but with myself. I did not allow myself to fail.
Have you noticed any change or progress in your closest circle related to the understanding of what drag is?
I think this show is doing incredibly well and I hope there will be more seasons for people to know more stories. Many people write to me on social media to say, thanks to the show, they are discovering that they can do drag. Even girls, we still have the idea of drag associated with boys. Recently in Barcelona a girl came to talk to me saying that she wanted to do drag but she didn’t know how to tell her friends, her family, that she didn’t know where to start because she thought it was a boy thing. The good thing about drag is that it has no rules.
Which look from the season is your favourite?
Before going to the show, the look that I love the most is the look I did as a lynx. As I said in the program it has a special symbolism, it was a tribute to my father who passed away about a year and a half ago. That’s why that is the look that I was both most eager and afraid to wear. However, if we talk about a powerful look, that made me feel like a goddess on the runway, I think the public would also agree, it would be the Veneno’s look.
What plans do you have when Drag Race España ends?
I don’t usually make big plans for the future. I like living day by day and enjoying the moment. Right now I want to enjoy what is coming. This Monday we begin the tour [Gran Hotel de las Reinas] with the other queens of the show. You can come and see us in many cities in Spain. Also I really want to enjoy all the girls together again. For now, taking Spanish drag to various cities in Spain so that people can come and enjoy it, is art.
You have the best track record in the program, you have won three challenges, how confident are you to take home the crown?
I have the best track record but better wait and see the last episode. Everything can change in just one episode. We really have no clue. Just seeing the support of the people makes me very excited to win, not only for me but for those people who have bet on me. I have fought hard to get it.
Thank you very much for talking to us and good luck in the final!
Thank you! Let’s see what happens.
The season one finale of Drag Race España airs this Sunday in the UK on WOW Presents Plus. You can subscribe via http://uk.wowpresentsplus.com.