The stars of The Real Friends of WeHo have addressed the recent controversy surrounding the new runtime of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Premiering 20 January on MTV, the show follows the lives of six gay men in West Hollywood: Canada’s Drag Race judge Brad Goreski, singer Todrick Hall, actor Curtis Hamilton, television host Jaymes Vaughan and influencer Joey Zauzig.
The synopsis for The Real Friends of WeHo describes it as an “unfiltered and honest look at a select group of friends living, loving and pursuing their passions in the West Hollywood community.”
After the series was announced, it was revealed that the new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race will be shortened from 60 minutes to 40 (without ads) in order to make room, resulting in widespread backlash from fans.
The series is also slotted in-between Drag Race and Untucked, a move that viewers have also criticised.
Goreski, who has served as a judge on Canada’s Drag Race since season two, said of the controversy in an interview with Out: “The [Drag Race] fanbase is always super passionate. That’s why we love them.
“They’re right to be upset if they want to be upset, but as talent on the show, we’re not responsible for where the show ends up. I love the Drag Race community. […] I will continue to love them, no matter what.”
Self-proclaimed “superfan” Vaughan said he would tune into “120 minutes” of RuPaul’s Drag Race and “if there’s anything I can do to get that, that’s what I would like”.
“We did this show, each of us for different reasons, but I can personally speak for myself,” Vaughan added. “I did it for little, scared, gay me that was in those very dark places when I was younger.”
Zauzig acknowledged that “some people are not going to like us and some people are going to love us” as he discussed the mixed reaction to the series and its premise.
“I’m just trying to prepare for that because it’s my first time that I’ll be dealing with that. Getting to know these boys was everything to me and we’re like a little family now,” he told the publication.
Highlighting the lack of representation for Black LGBTQ+ people on reality television, Hamilton continued: “I know some negativity is probably to come as well, but at the end of the day, I think it’s going to make me a stronger me.
“All of us need to support one another and we’re all in this together.”
Hall, known for his previous judging duties on Drag Race, music career and various scandals, which are reportedly addressed on the series, said it was important for him to be included in The Real Friends of WeHo to “be transparent” with his critics.
“If people are invested and committed to disliking you, there’s nothing that you’ll be able to say to change their minds,” he explained.
“My goal is just to speak my truth and I hope that people see a nuanced person or see color in the story that has been, up until now, black and white.”
The Real Friends of WeHo premieres Friday (20 January) on MTV after brand new 40-minute episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race.