It’s been 12 years since RuPaul’s Drag Race sashayed onto our screens and cemented its place in popular culture, and somehow, the franchise is still finding ways to goop and gag its viewers. On this week’s brilliant episode of UK season two, the eight remaining competitors were forced to sashay away from the series due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, and were unable to ruturn to the werkroom until seven – we repeat, seven – months later. Sadly, Veronica Green was unable to join her sisters after being diagnosed with COVID, with RuPaul telling the contestants that she has an open invitation for the upcoming third season.
Speaking with GAY TIMES over Zoom, Veronica assures us that she has conquered the coronavirus and is currently “in good shape,” but was distraught over leaving the competition for reasons out of her control. “When I was told, I burst into tears. I was absolutely devastated, and I didn’t know how to process the information,” she explains. “It took me a long time for it to sink in. Eventually, it was just, ‘Oh wow, that’s it. That’s my journey in the competition over.’”
Here, we speak with Veronica about her shock exit from the second season of Drag Race UK, her close bond with Tia Kofi and who she planned to impersonate on the franchise’s staple maxi-challenge, Snatch Game. Oh, and the star admits that she might not accept RuPaul’s invitation for season three. Yep, you read that correctly. It’s a gag.
Veronica, I think I speak for all of your fans when I say I’m so devastated that you were unable to return to Drag Race UK. Before we start, how are you feeling now?
I’m feeling good. I’m feeling great! Certainly health-wise, I’m in good shape. I’m free of the coronavirus now! At the time, it was really devastating to get the news and to go through it. But, I’ve kept my spirits high – I’m quite a positive person. I just wanted to get over it as quick as I possibly could, that was my goal.
It’s not as if you flopped a challenge, lost a lip-sync and it was your time to go. It was for reasons out of your control. When you were told that you couldn’t return, how did that feel?
When I was told, I burst into tears. I was absolutely devastated, and I didn’t know how to process the information. It took me a long time for it to sink in. Eventually, it was just, ‘Oh wow, that’s it. That’s my journey in the competition over.’ My heart just completely left the space of the competition because we had seven months off, and we were just gearing up to go back. To be told two days before production started again that I was not going to be allowed back on set, it really threw me off, much like how I threw Sister off!
When did producers inform you about your open invitation for season three?
So, I didn’t find out about that until, gosh, much much later on. They’d all been told on set and I didn’t find out until really late in the day. They kept the secret from me until they’d almost finished shooting. I had no idea.
Looking back, how did the seven month break inform how you were going to approach the rest of the competition?
In terms of the competition, the seven month break, my head wasn’t in it for over half of that. Going through the pandemic and the lockdowns really affected me, mentally. My mental health wasn’t in a good space over the summer. It was the latter portion of that, maybe the last two or three months, that I really started to focus on, ‘What can I do to elevate my game?’ It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t earning any money, and I was living off universal credit and whatnot, I had to be able to show that I had done something with my time. I started making some clothes and trying out new skills; trying to do what I could to make it look like I had improved, without any funds.
At the start of the episode, you were really fired up. I live for competitive Veronica! Can we expect to see more of this Veronica on season three?
Well, I’m still thinking about whether or not I’m going to accept the invitation! I’ve not decided. RuPaul, I’m still thinking about it! I don’t know, maybe I will come back, maybe I won’t. Who knows? If I do go back, absolutely. That fiery side of me… I’m a Taurus. I was born in the Year of the Ox, so I’m very stubborn, very steadfast. I’m one of three children and we’re a very competitive family. So, it’s only human for that side to come out. I’m not afraid to look stupid, I’m not afraid to look silly and I’m not afraid to say things that are potentially gonna embarrass me later on. I will say things to people’s faces and apologise for anything that is out of line once we’ve calmed down. Tempers flare and I think it’s important to not bottle it up and say it behind people’s backs.
You were so much fun to watch because you said whatever came into your head. You didn’t hold back when something didn’t look right to you.
No! Absolutely not! If there’s something said that I think is a little bit off, I will challenge it. I don’t let things slide like that because sometimes it’s just a misunderstanding. I’d rather go away from a situation knowing exactly where people stand, rather than come away thinking, ‘Did she mean that?’ and come up with a narrative of what I think they meant. It’s good to get things out into the open and figure out how people stand.
Often, you came to Tia’s defence. It was really beautiful to see how you wouldn’t let anyone slag her off. How did you come to form that gorgeous bond with her?
We’d only met each other twice before the show, we had done a little job together. So, we didn’t really know each other, but from that short space of time I knew her outside of the competition, I knew how witty and clever and funny she was as a person. All they could see was the runway looks. All they could see was the thirsty wigs. They couldn’t see what I could see, which was this amazing human being who has so much to give, so much talent, who is a superstar. Tia is going to go on to do amazing things, and they couldn’t see past the visual aesthetic that wasn’t their cup of Tia.
You said many times throughout the series that your fellow contestants underestimated you – why do you think that it is?
It’s a bit of an oxymoron, really, because I’m very fiery when I get worked up. But, I’m also a very pleasant and gentle and quiet person, so often I do sit back and people forget I’m even there. It’s because I’m non-threatening most of the time that people just don’t pay me much mind. But also, I do have a personal struggle with the need for approval from peers. I’m a huge fan of drag and I’m passionate about the art-form, so I know what all these queens can do. I knew most of what they did before I spoke to them in the werkroom, and I’m fans of them as well. I just really wanted, sometimes, to get a little back. I definitely hype people up. I just have a personal struggle which I need to get over. That’s my inner saboteur, as Ru would say! I need to stop caring what other people think of me.
It’s safe to say that after these four episodes, you gained the respect of your fellow contestants because a) you slayed a challenge and b) brought so much personality to the competition. Also, you gained the respect of fans everywhere – what has it been like for you, to see that support?
It’s been absolutely fantastic. At the start of the season, I was the least followed queen. I didn’t have many fans or followers. People didn’t really know who I was because I’m not out and about on the scene. I’ve struggled to find a home where I fit. As you’ve seen from my runway looks, I’m very eclectic and I like to go outside of the box from time to time. The West End Wendy’s don’t like that, or East London don’t like the tits and teeth approach. So, I don’t really fit anywhere because I’ve got so many different ideas and references, that there isn’t one place where I belong. But I’ve really enjoyed growing a fanbase and I think those people who follow me and those people who enjoy me understand where I’m coming from. It’s like the pig Medusa look. I noticed that a lot of people didn’t really understand it. It’s because I was trying to create something unique and some art, that I wasn’t going down a route where people would necessarily understand it. I’m using my imagination and creating new things, and sometimes that’s difficult for the masses to grasp!
In our last interview, you told me that you were a big geek, so I was expecting that side to come out of you, and it did! The Medusa look, which was one of the best runways that week, and also that stunning Stepword Wives-esque runway, which blew my goddamn mind!
When I was preparing for Drag Race, I made about half of what I brought with me. As I said earlier, my budget was very very low, so I had to think, ‘How can I utilise my skills to create these runway looks?’ I didn’t have connections to designers and cash to pay for very expensive things. So, I had to use my skillset, which is why I decided to do a few little cosplay references, and use foam to make some of my runway looks. They’re cheap, but you can make things look spectacular.
Back onto your season three comments, do you actually think you might not accept? Where is your headspace with that at the moment?
I’m still in limbo at the moment. On the one hand, I do feel like my Drag Race journey is incomplete. There’s work to be done and I am a competitive person. I was taken out of the competition for reasons beyond my control. The fact that I’ve been given the opportunity to go back and finish that journey is definitely something that’s interesting to me. But, I’ve still got a little bit of time to make a decision, so… I’m sitting on it, for now! Make them sweat.
I was going to ask who you had planned for Snatch Game, but I have a feeling you might want to keep that under wraps if you return for season three?
There’s a few choices that I could’ve done. I would’ve loved to have done… The thing is, my choices are quite boring, really! I would’ve done somebody like Emma Bunton or Holly Willoughby or something like that. Thinking out of the box, I thought of maybe Jessie J. The funny thing is that I’ve done a Hilary Devey performance before, in the outside world, and Alan Carr clocked me for my Hilary Devey wig in the morning chat show challenge. He said it on the runway and I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s actually my Hilary Devey wig,’ so I was like, ‘I’m not doing Hilary in Snatch Game anymore now!’
You’ve definitely got the vocal range for Jessie J…
She’s a real character. When you actually listen to her speak and the way she sings, there’s a lot of comedic ways that I could take it. So, who knows? Maybe I’ll be doing Jessie J.
I think I know the answer to this anyway, but out of your seven remaining sisters, who would you like to take home the crown?
Well, I’m rooting for my sister Tia! Tia has all the ingredients to win. She’s got charisma, she’s got uniqueness, she’s got nerve and she’s got talent. It says nothing about having the best runway looks. I think people overlook the fact of what RuPaul screens for in the show. It goes beyond the superficial. I can understand where people are coming from with the way you look. Drag is a very visual art-form, but you’ve got to think about all of the components and Tia has every single one of those.
There’s also been a few occasions in herstory when queens who look goddamn gorgeous leave soon after because they can’t offer much more…
Absolutely. Having said that, somebody like A’Whora is actually doing really well in the competition. She’s somebody who I wasn’t expecting to be good at comedy. I wasn’t expecting her to be good at the singing challenge, and she’s really excelled. So, somebody like A’Whora as well. She’s proving herself in the competition and she’s one to watch. She’s definitely somebody who earned my respect very fast.
She was very kind about your departure, too. It’s lovely to see the amount of respect you have for each other, despite your past conflict.
She and I are very similar people. When we’re arguing, we’re usually coming from the same place. In the Untucked moment when she was trying to be really nice to me and I was snapping back, I was just in my feelings. I was not hearing anything other than I was going home. We talked about it afterwards and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry about that.’ She is somebody who could win, and I saw that. I recognised that in her, so we were going to have clashes from time to time. You can respect your competitors as well!
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.