Michelle Visage says all drag entertainers are welcome on RuPaul’s Drag Race, as long as they slay the audition.
Ahead of the third season premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK on BBC iPlayer, GAY TIMES caught up with the legendary judge to discuss the upcoming series, as well as the inclusion of Cardiff-based entertainer Victoria Scone.
When Victoria sashays into the Drag Race werkroom this Thursday (23 September), the 28-year-old will make herstory as the franchise’s first ever cis female – and lesbian – competitor.
The herstoric moment follows the inclusion of Gottmik on season 13, who became the show’s first openly trans male contestant, and Kylie Sonique Love on All Stars 6, who became the first transgender queen to win a season of Drag Race hosted by RuPaul. (He’s hosted 22 to date including the US original, its All Stars spin-off, Drag Race UK and Drag Race Down Under.)
When we ask Michelle if Drag Race is more committed than ever to diverse line-ups, she responds: “The more RuPaul’s Drag Race grows, the more drag grows. We get to represent as much as we can and we encourage everyone to audition.
“For me, everything is welcome. You just have to be good. Your audition has to be good. That’s what it comes to. Drag keeps evolving, the show keeps evolving. Nobody’s hired because they’re a cis female or because they’re a trans man or woman. They’re hired because they’re good.”
The star then jokes: “It’s the first cis female competitor, although I have been there for many years! I try to win in every country, every series, and it just happened yet.”
When we spoke to Victoria about her involvement on the British spin-off, the queen said it’s a “big deal” for drag artists around the world who aren’t cisgender men. “It’s very exciting. Again, a long time coming,” Victoria told us.
“There’s a plethora of diverse drag that the UK and the world is yet to devour on mainstream TV, so this is it. Here we go!”
On whether she felt pressure sashaying into the werkroom as Drag Race’s first cis female queen, Victoria ruvealed: “It’s a lot of weight on my very large shoulders… I went in with such a good mindset. Looking back, I was so very ready and prepared.
“I understand there is some pressure there but I was like, ‘I’m meant to be here.’ It all felt very right, very correct, right time and right place.”
In our interview, Michelle also calls the entire cast of season three “amazing, different and unique,” before saying each season of Drag Race cannot be compared to each other due to the sheer amount of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent involved.
“That’s the beauty of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and so when I do an interview and an interviewer says, ‘What’s the difference between this series and the other series,’ the answer is always, ‘The queens.’ I’m there, Ru’s there, Graham and Alan’s there,” says Michelle.
“But the difference is the queens. They drive it. Their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent drives this series and that’s what makes it different, and it’s a wonderful lot. Is it different to series two? Uh huh. Is it different to series one? Of course.”
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, Scarlett Harlett, Vanity Milan and Veronica Green.
You can read our cover interview with all 12 incredible queens here.
The first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 3 premieres 23 September at 7pm on BBC iPlayer.
Guest stars for the season 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.