A mere six months after she was forced to withdraw from the series due to COVID, Veronica Green sashayed back into the werkroom for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three last month – making herstory in the process as the first British queen to appear on two seasons. Although she ruturned to the competition with the most revered reputation amongst her fellow queens, thanks to her maxi-challenge-winning stint the first time around, Veronica stumbled in this week’s episode and was booted out of the competition by powerhouse performer Vanity Milan. Don’t get it twisted – that ‘powerhouse’ bit applies to Veronica too, as the Lancashire-born competitor put up a hell of a fight in the epic showdown, which she thinks could’ve gone “either way”.
“It really was a battle to the death,” Veronica tells GAY TIMES. “I knew that Vanity was an amazing lip syncer. So I had to pull out all of the stops that I possibly could and I gave it a really good fight. I got every single word right, I got every single beat right, I played for emotion, I played for story.” Despite leaving much sooner than she, or fans, anticipated, Veronica says she felt free from all of the ‘stress, anxiety and pressure’ that comes with being on Drag Race, as well as expectations from viewers leading up to her much-discussed return. “When I was told to sashay away, that should have been a failure, but it didn’t feel that way. It just felt like all of this weight was gone,” she says.
Here, we speak with Veronica about her short-lived return on the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, why she went into “autopilot” after her elimination and whether she’s advised Victoria Scone on this next phase of her post-show career. As per, we also find out the character Veronica planned to impersonate on the franchise’s staple maxi-challenge, Snatch Game.
Veronica, my darling!
Me again! I’m devastated over your elimination. How did it feel when RuPaul told you to sashay away?
I think my soul left my body, and I went into autopilot. I just did what I had to do to keep my composure. I was crumbling, I managed to get offstage and then I pretty much just… They sat me in this chair and I just disappeared. I must have been bawling for about half an hour. They had to usher all the other queens in the opposite direction. I think a part of me left my body for a little while. I don’t remember what happened, I just remember being sat in this room with one of my chaperones. Then I was just like, ‘I don’t want to talk to anybody, I just want to be here with myself, and go through these feelings. I know that these feelings are temporary and it’s just trauma. It’s just trauma making its way out of my body.’ I’ve been through a lot this last year, it was this release of stress, release of anxiety, release of pressure and expectation. Before I knew it a couple of hours later, I just felt at peace all of a sudden and everything was still and everything was calm. I’m getting a bit emotional just thinking about it. Everything just felt good again all of a sudden. Then I realised just how much pressure I was putting on myself to succeed and do well. Going back a second time – I’ve got the tissues ready! – I knew there was this huge expectation on me, people automatically think I’ve had a whole year to glow up and people forget last season was six months ago. How would you film two seasons in 18 months, get them both on air in six months apart? People forget, people think, ‘She’s had all this time.’ I was nearly bankrupt, I had nothing. I’ve got a very, very few select friends that helped me out during this tough time and I just had this massive weight on my shoulders of not failing. When I was told to sashay away, that should have been a failure, but it didn’t feel that way. It just felt like all of this weight was gone. It took a couple of hours for it to leave my body but by the time I got back to my hotel room in the evening I was just like, ‘Wow, I feel really free.’
Veronica, you should be motherfucking proud of what you’ve delivered over this past year. As well as giving us amazing runways, you became the first queen to appear on two seasons of Drag Race UK. Not only that, you put up a hell of a fight in that lip-sync – even in that outfit! Talk me through that, because that was a showdown.
It really was a battle to the death. I knew that Vanity was an amazing lip syncer. So I had to pull out all of the stops that I possibly could and I gave it a really good fight. I got every single word right, I got every single beat right, I played for emotion, I played for story. The only thing going against me was the restriction of the gown. There was a point in the lip-sync where I tried to hitch the skirt but because it was so form fitted to my body, it wouldn’t hitch up so I was like, ‘Well that’s my plan dead of being able to move properly.’ I then had to think of my plan B on the fly, then the whole tearing the costume apart was my interpretation of ‘I’ve got the music in me’ and I want to set it free. That’s where tearing all the bits and pieces came from. I loved doing the lip-sync with Vanity, I feel like it was very very close. It could have really gone either way. She got quite a lot of words wrong, but she had so much soul and so much passion and I think we matched each other quite well. Ru made her decision and it was Ru’s decision to make and I hold no grudges, Vanity did an amazing job.
It looked like the words were coming out of your goddamn mouth.
When it comes to lip syncing, people don’t associate me with being a lip syncer, because I’m a singer. But I do lip-sync and when I do I really think about the journey and the story in the song. I think about the vowel sounds as well, to try to emulate the same mouth movements as the singer. For me, doing a lip-sync is quite methodical, and I’m very meticulous with how I present lip syncs. I knew every word. Go back and watch lip-syncs from season two and season three, I’m in the back jamming along to the track because if I needed to be up there, I was ready! It’s just taken me a while to prove that to people.
What do you wish you could’ve shown viewers that you didn’t get to on the series?
I never got to do an acting challenge to show off my acting skills. I am a pretty damn good actor. I would have been good at that challenge. The girl groups. I was sent home before the group challenge on both seasons. I would have smashed that.
And of course, Snatch Game. You went home before both!
I had the same Snatch Game planned for both seasons because I never got to do it. First time around, I was playing more into the improv side of things, which as we learn, I’m terrible at improv! Whereas for season three, I had jokes written, I had a whole game plan. I was ready for it. I was going to do Kate Bush. That was my number one choice. I’m sad that I didn’t get to showcase that because it was really funny. But you know, I proved now that I am good at comedy in some elements. My mini challenge this week, I had a sort of rudemption that I can be funny. So who knows? Maybe I’ll come back for an All Stars and you’ll get it to see it all.
Veronica, I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s minds that you are a funny queen. Your rehearsal in the workout challenge was one of the funniest Drag Race UK moments so far.
I did not realise how high-cut the shorts were. Yeah, that was something I was not expecting to see. I’ve never seen my own backside quite like that before! You’re absolutely right, I am quite funny. I’ve spent so long time denying that for myself, but I’m not afraid to look stupid. I’m not afraid to look silly. I’m not afraid to look like a gangly monster. I think people get hung up on looking perfect all the time. I can do pretty but I’m also not afraid to show the ugly side as well. I think it’s so important in drag not to be perfect. You know, we are creating art and art is not perfect.
In our last interview, and on the show, you explained how difficult it was preparing for two seasons of Drag Race. It’s assumed that Victoria will also be doing the same, if she receives an open invitation for season four that is, so have you had a chance to share your experiences and help her with that decision?
I think each person’s journey is their own. We’re yet to have that conversation. I feel like at some point, we will. Because it’s important for people to know what they’re getting into, even first time Drag Racers. For people who don’t come from money and can’t afford to even pay their rent, drag is a passion. It’s not about the money. With Drag Race, the fandom is so fixated on everybody coming out looking like a million dollars, when some of us can barely put food on the tables. I do drag as an art form. I’m passionate about art and gender expression. I’m passionate about the politicism of it as well. I do it for fun. I don’t do it to wow people with my expensive gowns and looks. That’s no shade to queens who do that, because that’s what they do. I think people lump everybody into the same category when it comes to the runway element. But, it’s not just about the runway aspect of it. I do understand that it’s a very visual television show and it is a competition. You are competing against some people in areas where you’re not going to be stronger. I’m not going to be stronger at absolutely everything, I have to rely on my personality. I had to rely on my charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, because that’s what Drag Race screens for. I just felt held back because I literally could not afford to buy anything else, literally. When I say I didn’t have money, I was virtually bankrupt. I’m still in so much debt that I’m having to pay off. That’s the reality of television, which isn’t often shown because people want to escape their reality when they watch the show, they don’t want to connect with real struggles.
Plus your vocals, Veronica! Rely on those pipes. I’m still bopping to Stars…
Well please bop more to Stars! If you haven’t already, you can download my latest single, which is in collaboration with Myleene Class, Nothing To Lose, which is a bit of an anthem for my time on the series. Funnily enough, I didn’t realise just how much that was going to connect with this series when I recorded it earlier on in the year, but my latest song is really an ode to just pursuing your dreams even though you’ve got nothing to lose.
What’s next for Veronica Green? Can we expect an EP? An album?!
Well, the idea is to record some more music for sure. I haven’t quite decided yet because initially, I wanted this anthology of different songs that we could then make into a musical. There’s lots of ideas on the table. Maybe I’ll be on TV soon. I can’t mention it at the moment, but maybe I will be. There are things now that are starting to take shape, potentially a book deal or two! Those aren’t confirmed yet, so I don’t want to put that out there too much. I am in talks with two different publishers about two completely separate projects. I always thought Drag Race was the end goal. I thought it was the biggest thing you could aspire to do as a drag performer. What I’ve realised is that it’s actually the beginning. What this show gives you is a greater reach, it allows you to create a fan base and showcase your art to a worldwide audience – no playing to two tiny little pubs and clubs. The world is now my stage and I can’t thank Ru, the whole production team, both the producers and the crew and everybody involved; what they’ve given to me, somebody who could never have dreamed of being where I am right now. I’m already so far ahead of where I dreamed I would be so I really want to thank Ru and the whole team.
Well I’m excited to speak to you in the future Veronica, whatever it brings!
Hopefully not a bomb scare though, hopefully not another one of those.