“It’s like walking into the Chocolate Factory,” Ellie Diamond says of her Drag Race UK journey. “You never know what you’re gonna get, but once you’re there, you don’t want to leave.” Over the past ten weeks, the baby doll of Dundee has earned overwhelming acclaim from viewers and the judging panel for her artistry, from her impeccable makeup skills and subversive runway looks (her seagull extravaganza lives in our minds, rent free) to her unexpectedly bawdy alter-ego, Dirty Diamond (who makes a special guest appearance in this interview).
Although she never landed a maxi-challenge win, Ellie defied all odds and clicked her heels all the way to the finale, where she competed against Bimini Bon Boulash, Lawrence Chaney and Tayce in a musical smackdown to RuPaul’s track, A Little Bit of Love. Ultimately, Ellie’s zero RuPeter badges worked against her, and she sashayed away in fourth place while Lawrence made herstory as the first Scot to win Drag Race.
“There was just so much pride and joy. I love seeing people succeed and do well, especially at something they love and have so much passion for,” Ellie admits as she recalls the moment her Scottish sister won. “It would’ve been great if I won, absolutely fabulous, but I knew I wasn’t going to win. I didn’t go into that day like, ‘I’m gonna win,’ so I was more excited for Bimini, Tayce and Lawrence, just to see who was going to take the crown. When Lawrence was announced as the winner, it was overwhelming because I know how much it means to her. It was fun for me to experience that with her.”
Shortly after the grand finale, GAY TIMES caught up with Ellie to discuss her run on one of the most acclaimed seasons in Drag Race herstory, how she feels about the drama and conflama behind that stand-up running order, and the cut moments she wanted to see in the final edit. The star also dives into season three (slated for release later this year), including the diverse roster of drag entertainers she wants to sashay into the werkroom.
Ellie, you look absolutely stunning.
Oh, thank you! Hi.
Condragulations on making the final of Drag Race UK season two.
I know! It’s mental. It’s such an achievement. It’s a really weird scenario, where it happened to me ages ago and I knew about it, but it’s not until now where it’s real. I’ve lived that for ages!
And you previously said that all you wanted to achieve this season was making it to that grand finale, right?
That was it. I was like, ‘I don’t care what happens for the rest of the reason, I just want to make it to the end.’ It was a lot of fun to do as well. We were thrown into the deep end like, ‘Here’s what you’ve got to do, let’s just get it done.’ We were like, ‘Haha! Okay!’ Some of us were able to do it, some of us struggled along the way, but we were there to help and support each other because it was the end. We were done.
I actually felt quite emotional when you helped Lawrence with her choreography. It was so cute!
[Laughs] That’s what it is. Up in Scotland, me and Lawrence will be doing a gig. She’ll come to Dundee, I’ll go to Glasgow. If she’s not having a good day or I’m not having a good day it’s like, ‘Babes, let’s just push through it, get it done and have a McDonald’s at the end.’
The finale aired seconds ago, how has this past week been for you?
Good. It’s been filled with drag, mostly. A lot of it’s been me chilling. I’ve chilled so much over this past week, as it’s the break that we’ve all been needing. I’ve just been sitting in the flat and figuring out what I’m going to do with this next part, this next journey!
Lawrence said you cried when she was announced as the winner. Looking back, how did you feel in that moment?
There was just so much pride and joy. I love seeing people succeed and do well, especially at something they love and have so much passion for. It would’ve been great if I won, absolutely fabulous, but I knew I wasn’t going to win. I didn’t go into that day like, ‘I’m gonna win,’ so I was more excited for Bimini, Tayce and Lawrence, just to see who was going to take the crown. When Lawrence was announced as the winner, it was overwhelming because I know how much it means to her. It was fun for me to experience that with her.
You’ve been such a joy to watch this series. Your makeup? Stunning. Runways? Breathtaking. You also gave us a lot of vulnerability. How was your Drag Race experience overall?
There’s no phrase or one word that can sum up the experience you’re gonna have on Drag Race. It’s like walking into the Chocolate Factory. You never know what you’re gonna get, but once you’re there, you don’t want to leave. It was magical, wonderful and spectacular. Every single moment, even walking into the werkroom the next day, were special.
As well as all of the above, you gave us some drama! There was a lot of controversy around your running order for the stand-up challenge. When there was backlash towards that, you started to doubt the decisions you made. How do you feel about all that conflama now?
Looking back at it, I wish I didn’t do that and was like, ‘Fuck you all.’ As much as I was still doing that in that moment, I’m such a people person and I don’t like to upset people. If I do, I want to resolve the problem as quick as possible, just because of past experiences I’ve had with people, where me not wanting to resolve it has caused a separation and we’ve not spoken for years and years. Especially with A’Whora and Lawrence, people I didn’t want to separate myself from, I wanted to fix the problem and resolve it. Watching it back, I wish I just stuck to my guns but I’m just one of those people. Looking back at the backlash from the girls – not Tayce and Bim, they were chill – I was like, ‘Shit. I didn’t think this one through all the way.’ I probably would’ve done the exact same thing, but…
What’s your personal highlight of season two?
Probably the lockdown super-shero design challenge. I was in my element, and I wasn’t paired with Lawrence or anyone else, I was my own person and doing what I wanted to do. I was friends with Sister, so I was able to take some of Sister’s stuff. That’s what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to be friends with all the queens on the show so if you need something from them, you can get it like that. There were some fabrics that I didn’t have that I borrowed from Sister’s table and she gave me. That was my best moment. And Snatch Game! I didn’t think I was going to.
I also loved your lip-sync with Tayce because we got to see you perform, and you matched her! The lip sync assassin!
Girl, I didn’t match Tayce. I did ten times better than Tayce! Lawrence and Bimini were both like, ‘That lip-sync was yours, hands down.’ There’s so much you didn’t see in that lip-sync. They edited so much out. It’s probably because the episode was far too long and they thought, ‘This will be too much.’ But, they edited so much out and I wish they never because there were some better moments in that lip-sync. It was still great and it was a double shantay.
See, this is why I wanna see the full, unedited lip-syncs.
Me too! That’s the horrible thing about the show, is that they’re only gonna take a little bit. There’s so many times that me and Sister had a full-on conversation about family. I remember we also spoke about our upbringings and how we were raised, and they didn’t use any of it. Like, there’s so much they didn’t use. I guess that’s for TV purposes, they want to get the best drama or whatever, but sometimes it’s like, ‘Girl, can I just watch it with no edits?’
If you advanced to the top three and lip-synced to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, did you have anything planned? Any tricks?
Well, I think the only reason why I didn’t make it to the top three is because my hoop skirt covered about three-fourths of the stage! So they must’ve been like, ‘How are we gonna get these other queens to perform around this one bitch?’ But no, I didn’t have anything prepared. I knew the song already, so I would’ve just picked up the hoop skirt and flapped it about.
Season two was one of the most entertaining seasons in herstory, thanks to the shock eliminations, lip-syncs, maxi-challenges and werkroom drama. It breathed new life into the franchise. In your opinion, what made this season so special?
The queens. That’s what makes any season of Drag Race special. Think back to season six, think back to season… six. Like, all of those queens have their own unique style of drag. Just look at Ginny Lemon. Me and Adore Delano are very similar, Lawrence is Bianca Del Rio, Courtney Act is like A’Whora or Bimini or Tayce. Everyone’s got their own personal flair and taste of the art-form of drag and that’s what makes the seasons special. All of us combined creates a really great bunch of girls and a fierce cast.
Personally, I’ve never seen this much buzz around a season of Drag Race before.
Literally! Social media has gone crazy over the past months with this show airing. Social media, I love. Those spaces are for all of the fans to come together and have a big discussion about the show, whether that’s good or bad! You need to take the bad to get the good. It’s unfortunate that the bad has to come, but the bad has to come for the good to arrive. For every bad comment, there’s a good comment. This morning, I had a message saying, ‘Fuck you, you shouldn’t have made it to the top four,’ and the next message was, ‘Congratulations on making top four, you deserve it.’ So I’m like, ‘Which one do I want to pay attention to? Which one do I want to feed into my body?’ For me, girl, I can’t be fucked if you don’t think I should be in the top four. I cannot be fucked! I always take the good.
So far, we’ve had 19 complete seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Where would you rank season two?
Within the top five, I think! Everyone’s biased, so even if you’re on season shite – I don’t know what season that would be – you’re gonna be like, ‘We’re top one bitches!’ Everyone’s gonna say that. I genuinely think within top five, without a doubt. For me, anyways, I’m biased because I’m on the season.
What do you want to see on season three? From lip-syncs to judges…
I wanna see diversity. We’ve had too many f****ts in wigs. I need to see women. I need to see kings. That is a necessary must for Drag Race to have. That’s the thing, it’s gone on for too long to not have diversity on it. You’re not letting women on the show, you’re not letting trans women on the show, you’re not letting those categories on the show when those categories can do better drag! There are so many better queens than what Drag Race is putting on. They need to have their own representation on the show. That’s the reason why they’re not getting the representation that they deserve, because they’re not given the platforms. There’s so many women that do drag that have messaged me and gone, ‘I can’t do it because of X, Y and Z.’ They’re not gonna get those opportunities. Let’s get the ball rolling, let’s get people talking. It’s the straight brain’s system where it’s like, ‘The straight mind won’t understand that.’ Well, let’s let them understand that. Let’s not hold them back. It’s like raising a child, you want them to experience everything so they can find themselves in the world. If you shun them and hide them away, they’ll have less knowledge and when they go out into the real world, they’re gonna get themselves hurt because they won’t know what the fuck is going on. Girl, let people live. Drag should not be male or female, drag should just be fun. If you’re having fun, that’s all that matters. RuPaul even says it, ‘Make me laugh!’ I know several women that make me cackle. Rant over!
No, I loved it. I agree with everything you said. Are there any entertainers you have in mind for season three?
I would like to see Anne Spank, she’s a trans woman. I would like to see Havana Meltdown, who is a woman who does drag. Who else? I would love to see… I can’t think of all the names! Victoria Scone, I don’t know where she is from but she’s fierce. Miss Eva Ore, she does nails and she’s done nails for me before. I’m sure there’s other queens I’m forgetting… Tete Bang! She deserves to be on Drag Race. She’s a really fierce queen and I love her. Her makeup and the outfits she creates, she’s fabulous.
What can we expect from Ellie Diamond in the future?
I always say, ‘What can’t you expect.’ There’s so many things that I want to do with this platform, voices I want to uplift and share with the world and the Drag Race fandom. A lot of the time, Drag Race fans will only follow the Drag Race queens, and that’s it. But, there’s so many more styles of drag out there. You just have to open your eyes to see it. [Dirty Diamond then makes a special guest appearance as Ellie lets out an Earth-shattering burp.] I might look like a gorgeous woman, but deep down, I’m still a man.
Did your house shake after that?
I did feel a shiggle and a jiggle!
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.