If you’re applying for the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and you hail from Brighton, you – as Whoopi puts it – in danger, girl. On this week’s fabulous premiere of the British drag extravaganza’s third season, Anubis sadly became the second consecutive queen from the gay capital – after Joe Black – to sashay away from the competition in last place.
The 19-year-old, who ties season one’s Scaredy Kat and fellow season three alum Krystal Versace as the youngest Drag Race contestant in herstory, got the chop after stomping down the runway in two fierce looks: one inspired by Brighton Pier’s Helter Skelter, and the other inspired by her love for sea creatures. Although she served comedy in her lip-sync to Little Mix’s Sweet Melody, she was unable to defeat future Marvel Cinematic Universe star Elektra Fence, who contorted her body in ways we still don’t quite understand. As Drag Race viewers have put it, “The RuPaul’s Curse of Brighton Queens is thriving.”
Speaking with GAY TIMES after the episode, Anubis jokes: “Maybe Ru dated someone from Brighton that was a bit nasty, or maybe she got shat on by a seagull on Brighton Pier? I don’t know, you tell me! But she doesn’t really like us very much, does she? I think with Ru, it’s just about personal taste, and drag is subjective. I don’t think my look was incredibly well executed, it could have been elevated more.”
Read ahead for our full interview with Drag Race UK’s Egyptian goddess about her short-lived stint on the series, her epic lip-sync smackdown with Elektra and why the “skies the limit” for Anubis to earn a Grammy nomination in the near future – maybe even an EGOT?!
Anubis my darling! Tell me, how was last night’s premiere for you?
Do you know what? Wild? Just totally weird. I didn’t know what to expect from watching that episode. Obviously, we filmed it quite a while ago now, so part of me forgot quite a lot of stuff that happened! But, I was really proud of myself. I loved everyone’s looks and everyone’s personalities shone through. I thought it was a really, really camp first episode for the third season. It was just very surreal to see me on the runway for the first time, then me lip-syncing, and then me having to sashay away – all in the space of 60 minutes babe, do you know what I mean? It’s a bloody whirlwind.
For me personally, you were one of many standouts. Your confessionals and your commitment to representing your Egyptian heritage felt fresh for the show.
Yeah, totally. That’s the thing I wanted to do going into the show because, as much as I love my looks and my fashion and all that stuff, I wanted to go in and showcase my vocals, my comedy and my impersonations. That is the one thing I wanted to be able to showcase. Obviously, spoiler alert, I haven’t been able to do that this season. But, hopefully, maybe one day I’ll come back to the show. For now, my time as a squid lady, is over. How depressing!
You being eliminated on Bi Visibility Day is… not the one.
Right? I mean… That was bad timing on the BBC’s behalf, in my opinion. But, makes all for the camp headlines, know what I mean? ‘Only bisexual queen on the season gets eliminated on Bi Visibility Day.’ Fucking hell! But yes, it’s all fun and games until the fat lady sings – and I haven’t started singing yet, so…
Tell me, what does Ru have against Brighton?
Well babe, this is the thing. I don’t know. Maybe Ru dated someone from Brighton that was a bit nasty, or maybe she got shat on by a seagull on Brighton Pier? I don’t know, you tell me! But she doesn’t really like us very much, does she? I think with Ru, it’s just about personal taste, and drag is subjective. I don’t think my look was incredibly well executed, it could have been elevated more. I think Ru is a wonderful person, entertainer and icon and she has elevated my platform and career to heights that I could never imagine, so I am just thankful for that.
During Untucked, you said you didn’t feel entirely present on the main stage. So, what was going through your mind when you were addressed by the panel?
I think part of me was worried that I was going to be misunderstood because that’s always been something that’s been in my life. People have always thought I was too weird or acted too old for my age, or my voice was strange, whatever it was. I was too feminine, too creative, too this, too that. I think part of me was worried about being pigeonholed into a certain box or them not understanding me very well. When I realised that I was in the bottom three, I was a tiny bit concerned they hadn’t seen the vision that I had for the looks, or they didn’t understand the stories behind them. I don’t know what it was, maybe it was the nerves as well, but I just couldn’t find my voice on the main stage. It really wound me up and it was no one’s fault but my own. I just got a bit too in my head and I got tongue-tied and didn’t know what to say or how to justify the looks. I wouldn’t change anything though, I really don’t regret anything. I’m really proud of what I showcased, but it is what it is.
Was it difficult sashaying into the werkroom after being in lockdown for so long?
Yeah, when we prepared for the show, we were in the middle of the pandemic – not ideal, do you know what I mean? Especially when you can’t have a fitting for your costumes and have to make do. So, I did get the sewing kit out a few times with my grandmother and the rest is herstory. It was difficult. There was no shops open, you couldn’t source fabrics or rhinestones unless it was Amazon Prime, and Amazon Prime isn’t exactly Drag Race royalty worthy, unfortunately, as we heard last night. I’m really proud of what I did in the pandemic and all the other queens… We’ve created such amazing talented looks, all 12 of us, we’re all such a credit to ourselves and our own talent that we can do that in the middle of a global pandemic and then create amazing queer entertainment that is international.
You put on a motherfucking show in that lip-sync. Yes, you were up against Elektra Fence, who tends to drop from the ceiling into the splits, but you provided us with some comedy. How does it feel lip-syncing on the main stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
When people ask this, I never know what to say because it is honestly so surreal to the point where you just do it, and then afterwards you can’t remember what it’s like. It’s literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing and you get it done, but you don’t have a choice! It’s not like I’m sitting there waving a flag going, ‘Oh pick me! Pick me!’ do you know what I mean? I wanna be at the backstage love, I wanna be with Veronica Green sitting in the back having a nice tea. I loved the lip-sync and it was really fun, but Elektra is one of the most powerhouse performers I’ve ever known in my life. The way that girl moves is actually quite scary. The thing where she’s on her knees? How has she not broken something?! And she’s nearly double my age, the cheeky cow. But no, she is incredible and I genuinely couldn’t have lost to a better entertainer, so that is a credit to her – and myself. I’m proud of what I did, I’ve always gone down the comedy route, but it is hard in fishtail gown and a two-foot squid on my head. So, I couldn’t do the splits in that, unfortunately… Maybe All Stars, know what I mean? Who knows?
Do you think you could’ve beaten Elektra to a different type of song?
Bonnie Tyler, Total Eclipse of the Heart. For sure. Do you know what I mean? For sure. I would’ve done that. I’m fabulous at ballads, anything powerful with huge emotion. That’s my stuff. Anything with a beat and dancey, that’s obviously Elektra’s lane. I might do the Can Can occasionally but I’m not doing a triple backflip honey, do you know what I mean? This back’s worn out. I’m only 19 but Christ, it’s been through a lot. So yeah, anything powerful: divas, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, a bit of Gaga. I do it all – apart from Little Mix!
Anubis, I’m dying to find out… Who was your Snatch Game pick?
I can’t tell you that, and you will find out why but I can’t tell you that. You’ll have to stay tuned to different social medias and things, but I can’t reveal these things yet. How do you know the Snatch Game is even happening this season? We never know! They could just cancel it because they’re all shit… No, but everyone is wonderful but I cannot reveal my Snatch Game character, you’ll have to tune in and find out to either my social media or the season. Maybe I come back and win? Maybe I’m RuPaul? We look very similar to be fair.
I brought five Snatch Game characters.
I brought five Snatch Game characters!
Well at least tell us one that you ruled out…
Erm… No. I’m sorry I can’t! But you will find out why babes, there’s a special project coming and you’ll love it. It’ll be worth it, I promise.
Let’s talk about Victoria Scone. She has been so well received by fans, her fellow queens and the judging panel, do you think mainstream viewers are now ready for drag queen contestants that aren’t just cis gay men?
I should hope so. I mean… Why the hell not? Drag is for everyone, especially if you are good at it and Victoria is one of the best drag performers I have ever known. Drag is about talent, it’s about art, it’s about creativity, it’s about expression. It shouldn’t be about genitals, as Victoria says all the time, and rightly so. She’s very political, well spoken and genuinely one of the loveliest friends I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. That’s why I’m so thankful to this show as well because I would never have gotten to know Victoria on this level if it wasn’t for being cast in the same season. I think she is an amazing performer and she’s one to watch. She might take home the crown!
How are people still telling women they can’t work alongside men? How?
So weird. I just don’t get it. The thing is, we’ve had so many different gender expressions on the show. Why can we not have a cisgender woman? It doesn’t make any sense to me why you wouldn’t think that’s okay. But I’m so happy Victoria has been cast and I’m so happy RuPaul has accepted her on the show. She absolutely adores Victoria, as we saw on that first episode. I just think she is one of the most amazing people ever and she’s such a credit to herself. I really hope everyone continues to support her. Please do it!
What is your main takeaway from your Drag Race stint?
Don’t dress up as a squid. I would steer away from that. I would say my biggest takeaway from the competition – not a Nando’s, not sponsored but it could be – was, I know it’s cheesy, but probably meeting everyone I met. I’ve met 11 best friends. I know it’s cheesy, I know it’s corny and I’ll be cancelled for being nice but she’s trying to win Miss Congeniality. She’s gotta win something
What is next for Anubis? A single? A video? An album?
Why can’t I do it all? You tell me Sam!
An EGOT! I do want a Grammy, that is something I really would like. The skies the limit. Just because I’m first out, doesn’t mean I can’t win a BRIT! I would love to do more music. I’ve been in the music industry for bloody ages now so I’d love to progress that, and now I’ve got a lovely platform from the show, hopefully I can do music, more drag and be creative and narcissistic. Amazing looks are gonna be revealed every week from what I would’ve worn on the runway. Expect loads of camp foolery really.
The first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 3 is now available to stream on BBC iPlayer.