“I literally wanted to kick and scream and tear the whole set down,” jokes (?) Cara Melle. On 9 November, the fierce entertainer and fan-favourite was booted from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK after lip-syncing against her “best friend” Michael Marouli, where she sadly experienced a slipperoo by tumbling on the stage. While she still annihilated the performance and now joins Akashia and Kylie Sonique Love as the holy trinity of contestants who transformed their stumbles into iconic moments, Cara was told to sashay away.
“I fell. It’s just what happens sometimes. It’s the name of the game. You can’t determine what’s going to happen before you walk in, which is what I tried to do,” Cara tells GAY TIMES. “It’s the slipperiest stage on this planet, I have to say that. I’ve never been on a slippier stage in my life. My foot just swept under me and it was all in slow motion. It was very dramatic.”
Although we won’t see Cara usurp Danny Beard as the ‘UK’s Next Drag Superstar’, she made an unparalleled mark on this series with her Xena-esque warrior aesthetic, gripping lip-sync smackdowns and herstoric feats. As the only British contestant to land a solo win for the staple girl groups challenge and first Black trans queen to stomp through the werkroom doors, Cara has made herstory for the franchise.
Here, Cara chats about all of the above with GAY TIMES – in addition to the drama and conflama of Vicki Vivacious’ mirror message – and her upcoming role in Slay, a Buffy-meets-To Wong Foo “action, thriller, horror comedy”. (We are so perched for this.)
Cara, my goddess, how are you?
I’m great. How are you?
You know what? I should’ve started with that. Yeah, I’m gutted too baby. I am gutted, but I am so much happier. Life goes on. I’m good. That’s what I’m trying to tell myself!
What was it like watching last night’s episode unfold?
I’m going to be honest, it was a tough one for me. I knew I did a great job in this episode and had a really good time. I was finally feeling like I was comfortable with being on stage and in front of Ru, finally letting loose and just having fun with being stupid and silly in the challenges. But then it came crashing down, literally. I fell. It’s just what happens sometimes. It’s the name of the game. You can’t determine what’s going to happen before you walk in, which is what I tried to do. Watching it, I was sad. I nearly started crying when it was me and Michael [lip-syncing]. That bit really got me.
I watched the lip-sync back several times and thought, ‘Did she actually fall?’ because the recovery was brilliant. I had no idea.
Well, I’m happy it came off that way! All of a sudden I was up and the next second I was… not up. I was on the floor. It’s the slipperiest stage on this planet, I have to say that. I’ve never been on a slippier stage in my life. My foot just swept under me and it was all in slow motion. It was very dramatic. I was like, ‘I’m Kylie Sonique Love now, bitch. Keep going! Just make sure it looks like nothing happened.’ So, I hope it came off that way.
This episode was difficult to watch because you killed the challenge, your runway was incredible and, even with the fall, you annihilated the stage. So, it must be devastating to go when you had such a fierce showing?
It was devastating. I literally wanted to kick and scream and tear the whole set down once I got into the back. Everything was hurting. I was aching. The tears were falling out my eyes. I was gutted. I felt like I was bamboozled. I felt like it was a sick joke, like somebody would come back all of a sudden like, ‘Just kidding Cara! Ru wants you back!’ But no.
This is the third or fourth week so far where I genuinely thought it was going to be a non-elimination episode, a top two scenario. Were you shocked when RuPaul announced that there would in fact be a bottom two?
@gaytimes @Cara Melle talks about her #dragraceuk elimination 😭 #dragraceuk5 #rupaulsdragrace #rupaulsdragraceuk #caramelle #caramelledragraceuk #caramelledrag ♬ original sound – GAY TIMES
No, I wasn’t shocked that there was going to be a bottom two, I just didn’t think I was one of the bottom two. Neither did any of the other queens when we were talking about it. We all thought it was coming down to Tomara and DeDeLicious. That’s just the truth. We all did really well, so it is hard to determine from that. But, I did not think it was me and I still don’t think it was my time.
Fans are, understandably, going feral on social media. How does it feel to have that support?
Well, thank god! I mean, it would be awful to be one of those queens where people are like ‘yes!’ when you’re gone. It feels really good to have people come and support me. Literally all of the girls showed up last night in support of me. To have people backing me up feels really good. You get a lot of hate being one of these Ru Girls. You get a lot of those awful messages, but once you finally get that outpour of love, it makes it all worth it.
Has the response been unanimously positive throughout the whole experience?
Yeah… Well, not unanimously. No!
Yeah, I’m not sure why I said that. We know what the “fans” are like…
The fans can be quite brutal sometimes. Anytime you get into a fight, one of the other queens’ fans is going to come straight for the jugular. The little trolls. We love them, they need to stay under their bridges. I’ve tried to learn to ignore the negative messages because it’s not going to help me in the long run.
Earlier in the episode, you were flabbergasted by Vicki’s mirror message. Do you think it was about you, still? Or do you know for sure? Have you had any tea since?
I have had some tea since, and some tea during as well, to be honest. Obviously, it’s Miss DeDeLicious stirring that pot! I did think it was about me, 100 per cent. I’m a loud girl, I scream. From watching this, I can tell I need to stop screaming so much. There was a moment in the werkroom where a needle got stuck up my bum. I’m not even kidding you. An actual sewing needle got stuck in my booty cheek. I’m screaming, okay? And Vicki is having her chat about her life and all that, and she gets annoyed! She’s like, ‘Ugh Cara’s just so loud.’ I’m like, ‘True.’
Suffering a serious injury like that, yeah, of course you’re gonna scream?
I was turned into a fucking voodoo doll in front of everybody’s eyes!
Also, is this the curse of Ginger Johnson? After what she revealed about swallowing those sewing pins…
Oh, you think Ginger… what’s her name? You think Ginger Johnson put the roots on me, baby? I don’t know.
I’ll ask Ginger in my next interview with her. So, have you had a post-show chat with Vicki about the message?
No, I haven’t chatted with her about it. I don’t think there’s any reason to because I don’t think she’s going to see it my way. Actually no, I did chat to her about it, trying to figure out who she was talking about and she wasn’t talking about me. That’s what she said. However, I think she was. I still think she was. But, we’ll see how it unfolds later…
And it does unfold baby, trust and believe.
There was a bit of conflama between you, Banksie and Vicki in that now-infamous Untucked. I’ve heard both sides. Banksie maintains that she was thrown under the bus and Vicki says that is not true. Now that you’ve watched the episode back, how do you feel about the situation?
I’m gonna maintain that I, personally, was not throwing her under the bus. When I spoke on lines being missed, that’s all I said. I wasn’t speaking just about her. Yes, she did miss a line and blank and I had to help her get back on track. That did happen on stage. Also, Vicki missed lines and I missed lines. What I said on the main stage was not singling her out in any way. It was actually directed towards all of us. In my opinion, we were all just as shit as each other.
I love this situation, it’s giving me early Drag Race where queens would take no shit.
It’s like the Interior Illusions lounge, isn’t it?
It’s nothing serious, right? Fans need to realise they can’t throw hate over something as silly as this…
A simple disagreement that was literally over within that same 15 minutes. As soon as Banksie came back and apologised, I thought that was really big of her and I fell in love with her just for that. It changed the entire thing. I was like, ‘Well what is there to be mad about? You apologised, I’m going to apologise back because I think you deserve it.’ Watching it back, 100 per cent I didn’t like how we were going at each other. But, we were in a pressure cooker and I was a hormonal bitch. I was like, ‘You wanna give it? I’ll give it back! Let’s go, girl!’
Cara, you made herstory this season on various occasions, but most importantly as the first Black trans queen on Drag Race UK. What kind of impact have you noticed this visibility have on fans?
Honestly, I did not even think about the fact that I was the first Black trans contestant on Drag Race UK. Hearing that I’ve made herstory, I was enamoured with myself! Also, receiving all these amazing messages from fans and trans women and all of my amazing sisters saying, ‘Thank you for sharing your story and representing and telling the world what we deal with on a daily basis…’ As a community, to be hated so outwardly… The comments that I read sometimes, it breaks my heart to think that our existence is so offensive to someone. To live through that and now, for people to be considering me to be an advocate of some sort, I’m so appreciative.
Other herstoric moments you achieved this season are as follows: first queen to be in the top two twice on a season that’s not All Stars and the first queen to win the girl groups challenge solo. You’ve got feats!
She made herstory, baby. I guess she’s ready for All Stars or summin… When I won the girl group challenge, that was my favourite. That was big for me because I put in a lot of motherfucking work for that one, honey.
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Who are you rooting for to win?
Erm, who do we have left? We’ve got Kate Butch, Mr Michael Marouli, Tomara, Ginger and DeDe… I’m rooting for Michael, personally. Not just because they sent me home, but we really did bond and I think Michael became my best friend on the show. She was also someone I could just look to to calm me. Every time I looked into their eyes, Michael would get me to settle. She’s just one of those people you’re comfortable with immediately, such a genuine hearted person. She taught me the phrase, ‘Live in the present.’ I’ve never really thought of life that way before. I always lived in the past, dwelled on things and thought about the future. Living in the present really helped me, especially for that challenge. So yeah, I’m rooting for Michael baby!
What’s next for you, Cara? How do you plan to demolish the industry next?
Well, I believe I’ve already been demolishing the industry, darling. I was actually in South Africa for a whole month while this airing has been going down. I was filming a movie. Uh huh, I’m starring in a movie darling!
Can you talk to me about it? Or are you under oath?
Absolutely I can! It’s called Slay. Obviously you think of drag queens and ‘slay the house down mama’ – all that. It is about a drag queen girl group touring through the US, going to all the worst shit holes. But then they came across this one gig and it’s a full-on dive bar with the most straight, homophobic crowd you could think of. They end up doing the performance anyway and then, all of a sudden, it’s overrun by vampires. Now, they’re having to fight for their lives, baby! It’s an action, thriller, horror comedy. There’s a lot of action going on and CGI that we’re going to be doing. There’s a lot of blood. I had to fight for my life in the middle of the woods, baby – in the middle of Africa, actually.
So it’s like ‘slay’ as in drag queen slay, but also ‘slay’ as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer slay.
Exactly. We’re talking Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We’re talking AJ and the Queen.
Too Wong Foo meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer? I’m sold.
[The Adventures of] Priscilla, Queen of the Desert meets Underworld!
I’m stunned. This is everything I’ve ever wanted.
Exactly. It’s starring some amazing alumni in the Ru Girl world: Trinity the Tuck, Heidi N Closet, Crystal Methyd.
When I saw you were all together, I thought you were just having a holiday.
No! We weren’t just hanging out as girlfriends, we were working – and playing. It’s actually going to be coming out quite soon, I think. I haven’t been given a release date, but I’ve heard they’re going to try and push this out soon!
Drag Race UK season five is streaming now on BBC iPlayer.
You can watch our entire interview with Cara Melle here or below.