Scarlett Harlett has opened up about RuPaul’s Drag Race and how the series inspired her to celebrate her identity.
The 26-year-old from East London is one of the 12 queens participating on the third season of the British spin-off, which premieres this Thursday on BBC iPlayer.
Ahead of the series, the star spoke with GAY TIMES about how Drag Race impacted her as an LGBTQ+ youth and culminated in the “proper mouthy, cheeky cockney, like Danny Dyer” drag queen that will be sashaying into the iconic werkroom later this week.
“The short story is that I’m one of those kids that saw Drag Race on TV,” says Scarlett.
“I was a little creative kid but I didn’t know that at the time. I was just 17 at the time and I was gay and I was struggling with my feelings and it was one of the first kinds of LGBTQ+ programs on TV that I saw that celebrated the people that we were.”
Scarlett says the Emmy Award-winning series “mesmerised” her because it made her feel like, for the first time, that she wasn’t “the token gay kid.”
“That was something that sparked in my head, but I’ve always loved dressing up. I can pull up pictures from beyond the grave of me dressing up as princesses when I was like six and seven,” Scarlett continues.
“Drag Race inspired me to want to do it and I just worked really hard at it and clawed my way to this point, to this interview with you, which I’m so happy about.”
Scarlett has been a drag entertainer for eight years and aims to celebrate her working class background and signature East End sense-of-humour within her act. Despite her fierce promo, Scarlett insists that she’s not a fashion queen because she has “absolutely no style” and can’t dance to “save my life”.
She tells us: “Because I look really girly, people think I’m a look queen but I’m the total opposite of that. I’m more like a cabaret queen. I sing live, I like to tell jokes.
“I think a lot of people wouldn’t know that about me. They see me and they’re like, ‘Oh fierce mama slay, death drop,’ but that’s just not me. I’m very East London, very down to earth and I like to have a laugh. That’s what I want people to know about my character.”
Like the rest of the cast, Scarlett thinks fans will be slain by the amount of “twists and turns and gags” on season three, saying: “I think that RuPaul looked at season three like Mr Burns and was like, ‘Hmmm interesting… Let’s fuck shit up.’
“There are so many games going on at one time or another that you just lose track. I’m just trying to saddle on and ride this wave, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
The 11 other contestants competing on the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK are Anubis, Charity Kase, Choriza May, Elektra Fence, Ella Vaday, Kitty Scott-Claus, Krystal Versace, River Medway, Vanity Milan, Veronica Green and Victoria Scone.
The latter makes herstory as Drag Race’s first ever cisgender female contestant.
You can read our cover interview with all 12 incredible queens here.
The third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK premieres 23 September on BBC iPlayer.
It will see the return of RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Alan Carr and Graham Norton.
Guest stars include Alesha Dixon, Charity Shop Sue, Elton John, Emma Bunton, Jay Revell, Judi Love, Kathy Burke, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Lulu, Matt Lucas, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Coughlan, Oti Mabuse, Russell Tovey and Steps.
Watch the teaser trailer here or below.