This has been one of the most entertaining seasons in Drag Race herstory. A wise vegan once said, “Not a joke, just a fact.” Since the second season of the UK spin-off sashayed onto our screens in January, viewers have witnessed a plethora (yes, plethora!) of iconic moments, from the gag-worthy eliminations of Joe Black, Asttina Mandella and Ginny Lemon, to lip-sync smackdowns from Welsh assassin Tayce, and subversive runway catwalks from the likes of Bimini Bon Boulash and A’Whora. Honourable mention to RuPaul’s infamous rant about high-street retailer H&M, as well as COVID’s rude interruption halfway through the series and the takeover of the United Kingdolls. It’s been a bing bang bong of a season.
On this week’s grand finale, the final four contestants – Bimini, Ellie Diamond, Lawrence Chaney and Tayce – competed in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza for the crown as they performed a remixed version of RuPaul’s track A Little Bit of Love. After stomping the runway in their final eleganza, pleading their cases to the judges and flipping, splitting and kicking to the beat of Elton John’s pop classic I’m Still Standing, Lawrence was announced as the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season two; making herstory in the process as the first Scottish entertainer to win the crown, as well as the first plus-size queen to conquer a RuPaul season.
“I just want to spread that message of body positivity, whether you are thin or large,” the self-described “Susan Boyle of Drag Race UK” tells GAY TIMES after her historic win. “You’re not hurting anyone. Your size isn’t hurting anyone else. So, why is it anyone else’s problem? I’m just really proud that I was able to bring a crown home for Scotland.” The star then jokes: “We lost a crown when Mary, Queen of Scots went, but I’m just really glad I’m able to bring a crown home!”
Following Lawrence’s win, we spoke with the legendary Scottish entertainer about her triumphant time on Drag Race UK season two, how she’s preserving her mental health in this “toxic” social media climate and why she’ll continue to use her platform to advocate for love and inclusivity. Lawrence also exclusively reveals why she’ll never return to the Drag Race franchise for that long-rumoured winners’ season. Get your jush!
Is that the UK’s Next Drag Race Superstar I see?
WHERE?! Where is she?! I cannot believe it, still.
Condragulations! What a finale. Please tell me about your night.
Watching it last night, we were lucky enough to have a screening. BBC Three set up this private screening. Sadly, all of the finalists were unable to hug each other, but we were able to feel each other’s energy and I think that made it more special, being able to be with those people that you’ve spent the most amount of time with, filming this show. It was just beautiful. I got to this place yesterday where I was proud of myself, because I didn’t mind… Before watching the episode, I was like, ‘If I lose, I’m actually at peace with that. Whatever it is, it’s RuPaul’s decision. I’m not anyone to judge or tell RuPaul what drag is.’ So, I was at peace with what was going to happen. I’m just really glad that we were able to go in there and focus on it being a funny episode. We were all so excited to hear the song again, so it was just really joyous. My god, when it was announced that I’d won… Crying. I was crying like I was in episode one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten.
When your name was called, what was the response like from your sisters Bimini and Tayce?
They wanted to leap over each other! Luckily, we all had such big dresses on. It was amazing. Ellie, as well. We’ve seen on the show that me and Ellie have had a turbulent time, but me and Ellie are friends. That’s what people forget. To see Ellie start crying because I’d just won, that broke my heart. There were all so proud and Bimini… Bimini was like, ‘I’m so proud of you. I love you. If there was anyone I was gonna lose to, it would’ve been you,’ and Tayce was like, ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN?!’ It was just really beautiful.
You’ve made herstory as the first Scottish champion, as well as the first queen who’s not sample size to win the crown…
I KNOW! This is the thing. The message from this is not, ‘Lawrence endorses being bigger or fatter.’ No, I just want to spread that message of body positivity, whether you are thin or large. You’re not hurting anyone. Your size isn’t hurting anyone else. So, why is it anyone else’s problem? I’m just really proud that I was able to bring a crown home for Scotland. We lost a crown when Mary, Queen of Scots went, but I’m just really glad I’m able to bring a crown home!
After watching you and Divina De Campo on our Instagram Live yesterday, I want a season full of Scottish queens!
This is the thing about Glaswegians. I won’t say all Scottish queens – this is being recorded! – but it’s a very Glaswegian thing to do what me and Ellie did with each other. ‘Well, this is how I feel.’ That may come off abrasive, it absolutely will, but it’s easier in the long run because it’s not a fake friendship. No one’s faking anything. So, when you go to the club and you’re out with these people, you know they are your people. They’re honest and open. Glaswegians also lead with that humour, that nudge nudge, wink wink, and I’m just so glad I was able to represent that.
From watching you and Ellie on the season, it’s safe to say you are sisters. You would bicker and then have really tender moments. In the last episode, you said that you’re glad she made the finale, and then she helped you in the dance challenge. I was tearing up!
Yeah! It was like [starts hysterically fake-crying]. It’s annoying when people don’t get it, when they take an episode for what it is. No! We’d argue over if one of us lost a hairbrush or a kirby grip. Oh, it says my internet connection is unstable, so am I. Woo! That is the amazing thing about me and Ellie’s friendship. I don’t think I gave her enough credit for how much of an emotional backbone she’d been for me in the competition, and vice versa. If we were worried about something, we’d go to the other, we’d talk things through and rationalise it with each other. When she was up for elimination, it was like… shellshock. She’d not done it the whole season, so I was like, ‘Oh, what’s going on? Why am I feeling these things?’ It really is a testament to that friendship.
That’s the thing, when you compete against each other, you form a strong bond. No one else in the world has had this experience other than your sisters. So, it’s baffling when people go online and feel the need to throw hate someone’s way when they don’t know anything about your relationship, and the status of that relationship now.
Literally! For me, I always find it funny because someone tweeted me like, ‘Lawrence, you’re a bully and you’re so badly behaved on the show,’ and I went, ‘Oh, suddenly we’re worrying about bad behaviour on a reality show?’ Nikki Grahame! Tiffany “New York” Pollard! Icons. They’re not sweet angels or whatever, they’re saying it like they mean it. So yeah, I’ve never understood that trolling side to things. I don’t get it.
No one remembers the sweet and tender moments in Big Brother.
Who cares?! They want to know who was arguing over a shopping list.
This is entertainment. This is what we want to see – drag queens in Survivor mode!
Clawing at each other! Yes.
You did receive quite a bit of hate online following the stand-up challenge, and you deactivated your Twitter account shortly after. How are you making sure you’re preserving your mental health during all of this?
I think a lot of people misunderstood. Deleting Twitter is deleting Twitter. It is what it is. But why I deleted Twitter wasn’t, ‘I can’t deal, I’m going to cry!’ I was just like, ‘This is toxic and I’m removing myself from that.’ I love reality shows and I love an opinion, so I’m all for people with opinions. But, when I was scrolling my home screen and seeing, ‘Lawrence Chaney is a fat slag…’ The only place you can write that is on a bathroom stall, and I wouldn’t be offended. When you write it on Twitter, I’m not happy with it. It was really weird, the fact that people were so shocked by what went down. If I’m scrolling my homepage and seeing all these horrible things about me being a fat so and so, fat this and fat that… Me being fat had nothing to do with the running order? I found it weird that everyone said that I blew it out of proportion, whatever, which I understand. I did blow it out of proportion. Did we need to argue over a running order? Meh. Me being fat has nothing to with that running order, so why is that a thing now? You’re saying I’m overstepping the mark by going too mad on Ellie, but Twitter was going too mad on me. It’s a weird thing to spread out, so I just removed myself from a toxic environment, took some time to chill and phone some friends, phone Bimini. She told me about her PMA [positive mental attitude], I told her to get fucked. It is what it is.
I say this in every single interview, but it just boggles my mind because, out of every show in the world, RuPaul’s Drag Race is the one that promotes love and acceptance the most. For some reason, that message isn’t being engrained into the heads of some fans…
I think, because it’s a competition, people get confused. There’s cameras around us, this is a reality show. If we were all sat here, nicey-nice, playing by the rules and all that, there would be no conflict. If you weren’t rising to the things that were being thrown at you, it’s like, why is this televised? It really makes no sense. The fans, on a whole, are actually very positive. I’ve read the comments and generally, the fans are very sweet. So many fans have gone, ‘Listen, I didn’t agree with how you treated Ellie or how you spoke to Ellie, but I’m not sending you hate. I just didn’t agree with it.’ So, there are people that get it. It’s just a small few that ruin it for the others.
As with every season of Drag Race, and I mean every single season, the crowning has been met with praise and resistance. Is this something you’ve come to expect by now?
Oh yes! I thought Bimini was going to win because I remember checking Instagram or Twitter, and Team Lawrence had 6,000 likes and retweets or whatever, and Team Bimini had 47,000. I was like, ‘WHAT?!’ So, the reception on social media was so skewed, so of course there’s going to be pushback. This is the thing, I’m really proud of what I showcased and I think, for Scotland, this crown will be really good. I also think for plus-size people, this will be very good as well. I understand everyone wants their fave to win, totally get that, but I’m just proud that I won and I’m going to keep pushing positivity, whether that’s body positivity or just positivity in general. I’m not saying, ‘Fuck you for voting Team Tayce, you dog!’ It is what it is and I’m going to meet that negativity with positivity, and it’s going to minus it out.
I know this is very premature, but imagine a future where you get a call from Ru to compete in a Drag Race winners’ season. Are you in?
No. I will never ever do Drag Race ever again.
It’s stressful! I was exhausted by episode two. That takes stamina! RuPaul’s 60-years-old and doing it better than all of us. How has RuPaul still got enough energy to walk the runway, host and do all of that stuff, and we’re exhausted halfway through the series? It’s mental!
In your words, “fattered”.
Fattered, yes! Literally! That’s the experience as a whole.
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.