Although her “primary school teacher does In the Night Garden” super-shero concoction sent her packin’ on this week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Sister Sister flat-out refuses to hear that it was anything but perfection – and we’re absolutely living for it. “Everyone else was wrong! The judges were all wrong, we all saw it,” laughs Sister Sister [insert gif of Jinkx Monsoon’s Delusion ad], before joking: “It’s so obnoxious and so over-the-top. The artwork has been incorporated into my everyday interior design, I wake up and see it everyday… and feel shame.”
Over the past seven weeks, Sister Sister has entertainted viewers with her unconventional aesthetic and signature brand of deadpan, Victoria Wood-inspired comedy, while lifting the lid on the treatment of Drag Race contestants at the hands of toxic trolls. Earlier this week, the Liverpudlian published a powerful essay for The Guardian, in which she detailed the “graphic” abuse she’s received from keyboard warriors; including remarks about her appearance and, like past queens, death threats.
“I’m thrilled that there has been a change in the temperature of the water. I didn’t realise how impactful it would be,” explains Sister Sister. “The new normal is that we’re talking online. We have to really consider the way that we are doing that. I’m not trying to say that you can’t say things. You can say it, just think about the consequences of it. If you’ve done that and at the end of it you still think, ‘This is something that’s okay to say,’ then by all means baby girl, pop off and do it.”
Read ahead for our full interview with Sister Sister, where we discuss the overwhelmingly positive reception from her article, being “fired” from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and how she plans to conquer the world post-lockdown.
Sister Sister! How are you?
I’m devastated. I’ve basically just been fired, Sam. No, I’m doing great. You’ll have to excuse my voice, I sound pretty hoarse today. I was rather merry last night, let’s say that. It was my leaving drinks.
Well then, you’ll have to excuse my beard! I currently look like an ogre because I left my clippers in London and I’m in Devon right now…
Devon’s notoriously known for not having clippers, right? No razors, whatsoever.
That’s exactly it. I love your blonde hair, by the way. I was watching your Instagram live with Tia Kofi last night and I got hair envy!
I know. I had a rebirth. I had to. It’s my mid-life crisis! I was like, ‘Everyone else seems to have done it during lockdown last time, and I missed the mark. Fuck it, I’ll catch up and bleach it blonde now!’
Yours looks good though…
Thank you! I’ll take that. I’m going for Freddy from Scooby Doo.
Oh my god, yes. I have a Daphne costume in the drawer over there. If I had known beforehand…
Well put it on! Stop wasting time! Put it on now and we’ll do Scooby Doo: The Musical. Some other time!
Some other time. So, how does it feel to have made the top six of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season two?
You know what, it feels pretty fucking camp actually Sam. I’m not gonna lie to you. Of all my lifetime achievements, I’d definitely say it’s up there as one of the good ones.
As one of the most “stupid” experiences.
It was so stupid! Me and Joe Black used to whisper to each other on set, ‘What a silly job.’ Like, the silliest of jobs I could possibly have entered into. So, to get to the top six, it feels good.
It feels like you were on an upward trajectory in the competition.
That’s what I kept screaming into RuPaul’s face every single walk-through. ‘Have you noticed Ru!? I’m on an upwards trajectory!’ and he was like, ‘Alright, yeah, calm down mate.’
How did it feel to leave when you did?
It felt like a lovely full circle moment. All the queens that I got the most closest to, I sent them all home, so it was kind of just me amongst the top dogs like, ‘Oh god, I’m gonna have to make new friends!’ It was like starting school again. So, to do them all a favour, I was like, ‘I’ll just leave now. I’ll do everyone a favour and just leave.’
What is that “piece of advice” your nan gave you? Did you remember?
Ask me at the end, it’ll come to me!
I loved that bit. I was like, ‘Oh my god, what did her nan say?!’
It’s a reference to a Victoria Wood line. She wrote a series of sketches with Patricia Routledge, and Patricia Routledge performs these monologues. There’s one where she’s sat there and she’s getting really pissed at Christmas, and she’s necking sherry non-stop and goes, ‘Just before I leave you, I’ll give you some very wise words that were left to me,’ and then she just looks into the distance, and it cuts there. It’s just a perfect bit of comedy and I really wanted to reference that. Victoria Wood: my one!
Going into the lip-sync, against someone like Tayce, it’s safe to assume that fans and contestants would think the other queen would go home, but I thought it was actually a level-playing field.
It’s so funny because, having done two lip-syncs and I think you can tell from the first one against Ginny, you have no idea what the other person is doing. I was watching that back like, ‘Oh my god, Tayce did that? Was Tayce on stage? I completely forgot…’ It’s mad. It’s like an out of body experience, where you can only see yourself.
Is Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself by Jess Glynne a song you would normally perform?
Absolutely not, and I now have such a soft spot for it now. It’s become my Butlins-theme anthem. It’s on my shower playlist. I’m like, ‘Yaaas!’ as I’m lathering up.
I love how you received mixed reviews for your outfit, but you were living for it. You stood by it!
To this day, Sam. To this day! I still love that outfit so much. I get it. I get that it looks like a primary school teacher does In The Night Garden. It’s so obnoxious and so over-the-top. I’ve got such a soft spot for it! Still! I say that as it’s lying on the floor in my drag room, being used as a carpet. I’ll get round to hanging it up! But yeah, the artwork has been incorporated into my everyday interior design, I wake up and see it everyday… and feel shame.
It was giving me Poison Ivy meets Pokemon gym leader. I was waiting for you to whip out a Bulbasaur.
God, I’ll take that! I love that.
Also, I was fully expecting, with this “copycat” storyline going on, A’Whora’s mouth make-up to be addressed. I know you didn’t invent blue beard make-up, but I thought it was going to be a talking point…
So, let’s be clear. I didn’t invent blue beard make-up but I did invent the blue orb with the red lip! That’s a signature. It did get mentioned in Untucked at the last minute, just before we broke off to go and learn the lip-syncs and do whatever. I guess the editors just chose to let it breathe and see if anyone picks up on it. I think it was gorgeous. I think that episode was absolutely beautiful, the way it played out, because A’Whora was so heavy with the accusations. Like, ‘Who are you going to copy this week, Sister?’ Then, bam! Something as obvious as that. I’ll admit, on set I talked it through with her and she was like, ‘I’ll give you full credit for this.’ I was like, ‘That’s suspiciously nice of you, A’Whora. What do you want out of me? You fucking snake…’ No, I’m joking. She’s an absolute sweetie, bless her.
She wanted that [points to Sister Sister’s wall] red material!
She wanted this. Another conversation that me and A’Whora had at some point as well, she was like, ‘I thought it was literally gonna be me and you in the top two.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I thought this was my week.’ But you know what that’s called? Delusion.
And it helps to have it! Especially on Drag Race, my god. I wish I had more of it!
Again, I just love how you stood by your runway.
Everyone else was wrong! The judges were all wrong, we all saw it.
Your makeup? Stunning.
Thank you! I know. Graham [Norton] did as well. I didn’t realise how much Graham fancied me until I watched the episode back. I was sliding into his DM’s at midnight like, ‘You up Graham?’
Earlier this week, you wrote a powerful essay for The Guardian about the harassment you’ve received from so-called ‘fans’ of Drag Race. What impact have you seen from this?
First of all, I’m thrilled that there has been a change in the temperature of the water. I didn’t realise how impactful it would be. It’s when you start to get some big names sharing it that you’re like, ‘Okay, this is a common theme then. I can’t be the only one experiencing it.’ It was retweeted by Lorraine Kelly, Aimee Lou Wood, Jinkx Monsoon, Brita Filter, Amy Hart and Sally Morgan and her team picked up on it as well. It isn’t just me going, ‘Guys, time out. We really need to think about the consequences of the way that we interact online.’ The thing is, I didn’t write it to police. It’s not like that. For me, there’s a very distinct difference between…. It’s to do with boundaries, right? It’s the way that we communicate. If you are just giving a full blown rant that’s aimed at someone on the internet, and it’s hurtful and not a critique – because we’re allowed to give critiques and be critical – that’s not cool. It’s the equivalent of screaming it into somebody’s face if you’re in a bar. The new normal is that we’re talking online. We have to really consider the way that we are doing that. I’m not trying to say that you can’t say things. You can say it, just think about the consequences of it. If you’ve done that and at the end of it you still think, ‘This is something that’s okay to say,’ then by all means baby girl, pop off and do it. But, consequences.
It continuously baffles me how ‘fans’ think they can do that, especially when the overarching theme of the show is love and accepting others. Straight after seeing RuPaul promoting love, how can these people go online and think it’s okay to tell a queen she’s “unattractive”?
First of all, they’re all delusional because look at me! I’m like a sexy Freddy from Scooby Doo. I know. It baffles me, but it doesn’t surprise me. I don’t think there’s going to be an end to it because there’s too many people in this one conversation. Unfortunately, I did a live with Crystal from season one to come on and talk through her experiences with it, and it’s the same demographic every single time. Every single time those hate messages come in, it’s the white gays. It’s like they cannot filter themselves. They simply cannot do it. It’s a shame, because I’ve always sat there and gone, ‘Guys, we can do so much better than this. It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t know the people on the other end of these messages.’ If you think we can’t live without your opinion, we can and we will, and we’ll probably live much happier lives if we do. You can reach out to someone and say something nice. If you’ve got nothing nice to say, say something ambivalent. You know? Don’t go straight in there and go, ‘You make me sick. I had to pause the TV to tell you that I hate you.’ It’s like, ‘Okay, that was a choice. That was an unnecessary choice.’
How are you feeling now, after seeing the overwhelmingly positive response from the article?
Fantastic. So good. I feel like I have a gorgeous fanbase of people. I’ve pulled the fanbase of the intellectual lesbians and the moustache gays, which is my people, and the non-binary crowd. The article and when I spoke up about it weeded out the ones who were following me, thinking that they can get away with this shit. Bimini posted, and it was a complete nail on the head, like, ‘If this is the course of action that you think is okay, then unfollow me because we’re not doing that.’ Simple message. Straight to the point. That is exactly how it should be.
Being catapulted into superstardom and baring your soul on the biggest reality show in the world isn’t something a lot of people can relate to. So, how are you making sure you’re preserving your mental health during this time?
I’m super lucky. I’ve got a really good support system, thankfully. Our body clocks are all ruined, so everyone’s awake through all hours of the night. So if you need anything at 3am, you can guarantee someone is going to be up at that time. I think, while we’re in lockdown as well, it’s important to be that little bit extra nice and pushy with everyone around you. We still have to do that thing where we’re checking up on people, and it sounds so cheesy and I feel like a nan for saying it, but my god… I’ve discovered walking! I wake up like, ‘I’m gonna go on a gorgeous walk today!’ It’s the simple things, Sam.
What are you most looking forward to about your post-Drag Race career, post-pandemic?
I’m so excited to meet and hug people and do the physical meet and greets, where it’s like, ‘I’ve been speaking to you online for so long, come here!’ That kind of thing. The fans make it. It’s not a cliché to say that the fans literally make it. They make it so joyous and happy. They’re a reflection of all the love you wanna put out there, so I can’t wait for that. I’m writing new material and comedy sketches, and I can’t wait to showcase them on an actual stage – with props and real life audiences! It’s all about getting out of the house and trying to get back onto a stage. I can’t wait.
I hope all of your routines will be in that super-shero outfit?
Everything that you see is coming with me!
To hear our thoughts on the brand new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, subscribe to Snatched! an original podcast from GAY TIMES. Each week, we dissect all of the drama and conflama of the latest episode and chat with the eliminated queen, who spills all the T on their exit and time on the series. Snatched! is now available on all streaming services including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.