RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: Meet the queens
Reading time: 21 mins
RuPaul’s Drag Race arrives on BBC Three this October, and now, we have our first look at the 10 queens set to compete for the title of the UK’s first Drag Race Superstar.
The US Series of RuPaul’s Drag Race is a cult global phenomenon and since the announcement of the first UK adaptation of the show there has been frenzied fan speculation about the line-up. Handpicked for their huge slaying potential by Mama Ru herself, this eclectic group of queens are a showcase of what the UK drag scene has to offer.
RuPaul says: “Each of the UK queens is so unique, so courageous and so special. I can’t wait for the UK – and the world – to fall in love with them the same way I did.”
The ten competing queens are Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, Crystal, Cheryl Hole, Divina De Campo, Gothy Kendoll, Sum Ting Wong, Scaredy Kat, The Vivienne, Vinegar Strokes. All ten queens will be at Manchester Pride Live for the Manchester Pride Festival on Saturday 24th August for their first official appearance.
Here’s the full rundown:
“Well, I’m Baga Chipz MBE, I’m 29 and I’m from London. Baga Chipz is a pub queen; tart with a heart; Like someone’s auntie I give advice on how to pull fellas and how to get pissed. I’m not one of these gorgeous beautiful Kate Moss lookalike drag queens. My style is more cabaret, old school, sequin frocks, Shirley Bassey, Danny La Rue, Lily Savage kind of drag. I’m common as muck, Baga Chipz from Walthamstow.”
“Blu Hydrangea is like a GCSE art project, high fashion from outer space, a cartoon character – with muppet realness. She is queen of the makeup brush and her strength lies in her mug. Not only am I a look queen but I can dance, I can perform, I can do some funny movements to make people laugh.”
Divina De Campo
“I’m Divina De Campo, I’m 35 and from Brighouse in West Yorkshire. My act is a massive variety of different things. You’ll get some opera, Italian aria, some pop tunes, some show tunes, some blue tunes I like sing things that are a bit more challenging or exciting that makes people say: ‘Oh my god, I wasn’t expecting that.’”
“I’m Crystal, I’m 34 and I’m originally from Canada but I have been living in London for the past 10 years as I have a British passport and dual citizenship through my mother, so I’m British! Crystal is a ‘mess with your brain’ kinda drag queen. She stands for tearing down gender constructs using creativity, looks, and fashion and crazy performances. I do aerial circus, I can crack a whip, put cigarettes out on my tongue – it’s a freak show. It’s unexpected. It’s nothing you have ever seen before.”
Sum Ting Wong
“I’m Sum Ting Wong, I’m 30 and I live in Reading. My drag comes from singing. I was a little emo kid at 12 years old and I loved to sing. I can’t be a singer out of drag. I am a Chinese male who’s overweight and losing his hair. I’m never gonna make it like that so drag helped me, and the 12 year old me, finally live out my dream of performing and singing. That’s the only reason I put all of this on – so I can perform and sing. It’s the best job in the world.”
“I’m Cheryl Hole, I’m 25 years old and I’m from the glamorous land of Essex. I’m a dancing diva, I’m known for my dance moves, death drops and pure entertainment and that’s what you want from a drag queen isn’t it?”
“My name is Gothy Kendoll, I’m 21 and I’m from Leicester. My name comes from my friend who described me as a Ken doll but a gothy one because I used to be wear loads of black, have really black hair, but also be really tanned and wear loads of makeup!”
“I’m Vinegar Strokes, I’m 35 years and I’m from London and yes I’m a proper London lady, zone five. I am a straight up comedy queen, I do stand-up comedy, I sing in my own particular style. I’m like Tina Turner meets Lizzo meets Kat Slater.”
“I’d say my style of drag is probably very pink, very cute and very feline-esque. It’s very camp, exciting, colourful and bold. Cute, pink and scared – like a nervous flamingo. I’m unique and another that makes me unique is that I’m the youngest queen ever on Drag Race. At the moment, I do a lot of drag alone in my house but I’ve made quite a lot of videos – music videos, lip-sync videos, arty stuff and pictures, creative things. I want to change that and I need to be on a stage in front of millions of people because the attention just has to be on me right now.”
“I am The Vivienne, I’m 27 years old and I’m from the gorgeous town of Liverpool. I’m an engaged lady and I live for my fiancé. And I’m here to win the crown of the first ever RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, so bring it on!”
First look: Drag Race UK’s Werk Room
20th August 2019/ RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will officially arrive on BBC Three this October, and we’ve got our first look at the show’s Werk Room. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is the first UK adaption of the Emmy-winning franchise and global hit and will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer. Maisie Williams, Geri Horner, Jade Thirlwall, Michaela Coel, Andrew Garfield, Cheryl and Twiggy have previously been announced as the extra special celebrity guest judges joining RuPaul and Michelle Visage for one episode each, alongside Graham Norton and Alan Carr who will be on rotating judging duties. Now, we have a glimpse of where they’ll be strutting their stuff, as BBC Three begins the slow build-up to RuPaul’s UK debut – complete with Union Flag doorway. Here’s the teaser video: Snatch Game confirmed for Drag Race UK as Lorraine Kelly and Stacey Dooley join celebrity line-up 1st August 2019 BBC Three has Ru-vealed that the iconic maxi-challenge Snatch Game will be part of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, with Lorraine Kelly OBE and Stacey Dooley MBE joining the show’s starry line-up. Lorraine Kelly, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, is well known as a LGBTQ icon in the UK, even being crowned an Honourary Gay at the 2015 Attitude Awards for her support for the LGBT community and being ‘One of Britain’s cult gay icons’. Stacey Dooley, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, is a well-known broadcaster and documentary film-maker and is, of course, reigning queen of Strictly Come Dancing. Speaking about their guest appearances Lorraine says: “It was hilarious! I had such good fun. I am in awe of every single one of the queens.” Stacey says: “I had the most incredible time. Didn’t know what to expect. They were magic all of them. So impressive. It was brilliant.” RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is the first UK adaption of the Emmy-winning franchise and global hit and will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer. Maisie Williams, Geri Horner, Jade Thirlwall, Michaela Coel, Andrew Garfield, Cheryl and Twiggy have previously been announced as the extra special celebrity guest judges joining RuPaul and Michelle Visage for one episode each, alongside Graham Norton and Alan Carr who will be on rotating judging duties. The show will air on BBC Three this autumn. MNEK and AJ and Curtis Pritchard to coach queens on Drag Race UK 26th July 2019 With every great competitive reality show comes ever increasing challenges. With RuPaul’s Drag Race come to the UK, the show has there recruited AJ and Curtis Pritchard and MNEK to coach the queens through Drag Race’s first ever UK series. MNEK is a British singer, a Brit and Grammy-award-winning songwriter, a singer/rapper famed for his flamboyant dress sense, a sought-after record producer, and a huge fan of Drag Race. He will help the queens perfect their vocal skills. MNEK has been writing since the age of 14, and was the recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Vanguard Music Award for songwriting at the age of 21 having written for some of the music industry’s biggest stars including Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Madonna, Little Mix and Dua Lipa. MNEK says: “I had so much fun working with the queens on Drag Race UK! The public is in for a real treat.” Appearing on screen together for the first time will be dance and choreography superstar brothers AJ and Curtis Pritchard, who will help the queens with their dance skills for one of the challenges. AJ is one of the permanent professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing, and thanks to his appearance as a professional dancer on the Irish version of Dancing With The Stars, AJ’s younger brother, Curtis, is equally well known in Ireland. Curtis is also currently creating waves as a singleton on Love Island. Together, the two brothers make for an impressive dance duo, with previous experience involving dance partners of mixed abilities. AJ says: “I am such a fan of RuPaul and was honoured to be asked to work on the UK show. We had an amazing time working with the queens and cannot wait for you to see the performance.” Curtis says: “I jump at the chance of working with my brother anytime anything together comes up, so doing that and being asked to be part of something so iconic was a yes from me!” RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will premiere on BBC Three in the Autumn. Cheryl and Twiggy join Drag Race UK guest judges 18th July 2019 The original queen of British fashion, Dame Twiggy, and British popstar icon Cheryl, are the next two names confirmed to join Queen of Queens RuPaul as extra special celebrity guest judges for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Awarded a Damehood for her services to fashion, the arts, and charity and a personal heroine of RuPaul, Dame Twiggy DBE is a natural choice as a celebrity judge of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Dame Twiggy is a model, and all around cultural icon. She was the face of the swinging sixties and appointed Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) earlier this year. Her understanding of high fashion, the catwalk and her experience as a seamstress brought some dame realness to proceedings. Talking enthusiastically about her love of drag, Twiggy says: “You see the most gorgeous women in the most glamorous outfits. I love the creativity of the clothes and the makeup. I have been to a few drag shows and they’re brilliant fun.” Cheryl is a modern pop icon known from globally-renowned girl group Girls Aloud, and later going on to solo chart success, and appearing as a judge on The X Factor and a dance captain on The Greatest Dancer. Cheryl says: “I am a huge fan of Drag Race. I have always admired the work and dedication that goes into drag and have learned over the years that it is an art form. It is not only fun and glamorous but equally as skillful and admirable, I find it incredibly inspiring. I just love the make up, creativity and the drama. I am honoured to be a guest judge!” RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will transmit on BBC Three in the Autumn. Andrew Garfield and Michaela Coel join celebrity judges on Drag Race UK 11th July 2019 Andrew Garfield and Michaela Coel are the latest star names to join the celebrity judging panel for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is the first UK adaption of the Emmy-winning series and global hit and will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer and be searching for the UK’s First Drag Superstar. As a drag race uber fan, Andrew Garfield’s Spidey-senses were sent in to overdrive at the chance of sitting next to Mama Ru herself. Andrew appears as an extra special guest judge in the very first episode of Drag Race UK, where he gleefully serves up Hollywood realness and enthusiastic judging. While watching ten British queens take to the runway, in the first British adaptation of the show, the Tony award-winning actor and Academy Award nominee says: “The creativity is always totally outside the box and it’s one of the many reasons I watch and love this show – when someone does something I wouldn’t have thought of myself.” Two-time Bafta-winning Michaela Coel (Black Mirror, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) also jumped at the chance to be a judge. The Chewing Gum actress serves up wit and glamour in her judging role. On her love of drag, Michaela says: “I love that you have to dare, you have to dare and you have to drop all of your societal norms and restraints that you’ve been taught and you have to dare to embody something higher.” Michaela Coel and Andrew Garfield will feature as celebrity judges for one separate episode each, where they will appear alongside RuPaul and Michelle Visage. Other celebrity guest judges include Masie Williams, Geri Horner and Jade Thirlwall, while Graham Norton and Alan Carr will appear as rotating resident judges, as previously announced. The eight-episode series will air on BBC Three this autumn. Geri Horner and Jade Thirlwall join RuPaul’s Drag Race UK as guest judges 4th July 2019 RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will be serving BBC Three viewers Ginger Spice and Power this coming autumn, with the announcement of Geri Horner and Jade Thirlwall as extra special guest judges. The two mega girl group superstars will join Mama Ru, Michelle Visage, Graham Norton and Alan Carr as Celebrity Judges on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. When asked to be one of RuPaul’s extra special judges, the woman who coined the phrase ‘Girl Power’ and a self-confessed Drag Race addict, Geri Horner, jumped at the chance. “I just love how drag encourages people to be exactly who they are,” says Geri. “This show has brought so much joy and pride to people all over the world, I can’t wait for everyone to see the amazing queens representing the UK in this first ever series.” . Currently in preparation for Little Mix’s UK tour, Jade Thirlwall juggled her busy diary so she could fulfil a dream of sitting next to Mama Ru. Jade says: “I love absolutely everything about drag. I love that it’s art. I love how fabulous it is, how fun it is, I love that you can transform your body into a fantastic beautiful woman… the whole thing! I just wish in my next life I can be a drag queen.” Having hosted a drag queen-themed birthday party, and featured Drag Race queens Alaska, Courtney Act and Willam in Little Mix’s video for Power, Jade is an uber fan. The first UK adaption of the Emmy-winning franchise and global hit, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will come to BBC Three in the autumn. It will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer and see RuPaul crown the UK’s First Drag Superstar. Geri and Jade will feature as a celebrity guest judge for one separate episode each where they will appear alongside RuPaul and Michelle Visage. Maisie Williams has also previously been announced as a celebrity guest judge. Maisie Williams confirmed as guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 21st May 2019 Maisie Williams is going from slaying in Game of Thrones to just slaying full stop, as she becomes the first celebrity guest judge for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is the first UK adaption of the Emmy-winning franchise and global hit and will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer. Maisie will feature as a celebrity judge for one episode where she will appear alongside RuPaul and Michelle Visage. The Bristol-born actor is best know as Arya Stark in Game Of Thrones, a role she has played since the age of 13. Now, at the age of 22, she is a global name, a fashionista, and a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. As the cult fantasy drama Game Of Thrones draws to an end, fans of Maisie Williams can rest assured that she will continue to serve fierce in her next role as one of RuPaul’s special judges in the search for the first Drag Race UK superstar. When asked to be a judge, she jumped at the chance. Talking about her love of drag, Maisie says: “What I love the most about drag is the story of the drag queen behind the facade. I think that so much of drag comes from a place of real pain and seeing how that transforms into a character is so interesting to me. I love that about art and about drag.” Graham Norton and Alan Carr will appear as rotating resident judges across the eight-part series. It will air on BBC Three later this year. Graham Norton and Alan Carr will be judges on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 15th February 2019 Graham Norton and Alan Carr are joining the judge’s panel on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. The first UK adaption of the global hit will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer, and Graham and Alan will appear as rotating resident judges. Eight-time BAFTA TV award-winner Graham Norton is no stranger to RuPaul’s Drag Race, having already appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars in the US as a guest judge in 2016. Comedian Carr, meanwhile, is a long-time fan of RuPaul, having made his acquaintance when Ru appeared on his chat show, Alan Carr’s Chatty Man. Both Graham and Alan share a passion for the drag scene and Drag Race. Each week, they will join RuPaul, Michelle Visage and a celebrity guest judge. For the grand finale, Graham and Alan will both appear on the judging panel alongside previously announced judge Michelle Visage, where together they will assist host RuPaul in crowning the UK’s Next Drag Superstar. Norton says: “Becoming part of the drag race family makes me ridiculously happy! I can’t wait to see what the UK drag queens bring to the party, but they better weeeeerk!!!” Carr adds: “Wow! To be sat next to Michelle Visage and Mama Ru as a guest judge on possibly one of my all-time favourite shows EVER is a dream come true. I can’t wait to see what the UK Queens have got in store – it’s going to be sickening! *does death drop*” RuPaul comments: “I was both shocked and delighted when Graham and Alan told me they’d be wearing tucking panties when sitting at the judges’ table. I told them it was not necessary, but they insisted. Now that’s what I call dedication!” RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is an eight-part World of Wonder production for BBC Three. It was commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Former Controller BBC Three and Kate Phillips, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning at the BBC. Phillips says: “I am so excited that self-confessed Drag Race fans Graham and Alan have agreed to join Ru and Michelle on our judging panel. Their immense wit and wisdom will be invaluable in ensuring the most deserving Queen sashays away with the title.” Michelle Visage will judge RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 6th February 2018 Michelle Visage will be a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. The UK incarnation of the global TV phenomenon will search for the best and brightest drag queens that Britain has to offer. Through a series of challenges that will test the queens’ comedy, modelling, and acting skills, host RuPaul will crown the UK’s Next Drag Superstar. Now, BBC Three has confirmed that he will be joined by a familiar face. Visage, who has judged eight seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race and four seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars in the US, is an integral part of the reality contest’s continued success. Visage and RuPaul have over 20 years of working history on a variety of projects, from their successful What’s The Tee podcast, to their top-rated morning radio show, to 100+ episodes of their 90s talk show, The RuPaul Show. Visage says: “We’ve been working tirelessly to bring the magic of RuPaul’s Drag Race to my favourite city in the world: London! I know the UK has a wealth of talent to offer and I’m thrilled beyond belief to see these queens battle it out on the main stage, UK-style! GOD SAVE THE QUEENS!” Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, World Of Wonder co-founders and Emmy Award-winning Executive Producers, say: “She is a quadruple threat: she sings, she dances, she acts, and boy, can she judge! Queens beware!” The eight-part UK series was unveiled by BBC Three last year. Produced by World Of Wonder, it was commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Former Controller BBC Three, and Kate Phillips, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning at the BBC. The Executive Producers are RuPaul Charles, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Sally Miles and Bruce McCoy, and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Ruby Kuraishe. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is coming to BBC Three 5th December 2018 Start your engines, because RuPaul’s Drag Race is coming to UK. BBC Three is teaming up with World of Wonder to produce a UK version of the smash hit show, which seeks to crown one of the UK’s top drag artists the ‘Queen of Great Britain’. A global phenomenon, RuPaul’s Drag Race is available in 193 countries worldwide (and on Netflix in the UK) and was nominated for a record-breaking 12 Emmys this year, winning both Outstanding Reality-Competition Program and Outstanding Host for a Reality-Competition Program. “RuPaul a unique, intelligent and compassionate human being who has only ever encouraged all individuals all over the world to truly love yourself for who you are,” we wrote in our rave review of the show, which recently aired its 10th season. Now, the first UK adaptation of the show is on the way, which will see 10 contestants take part in weekly challenges and face off against each other to keep themselves in the competition. “It is a dream come true to extend our royal family to the United Kingdom with our partners at BBC Three,” says RuPaul says. “I am beyond excited to celebrate the massive charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent of the Queen’s queens. And before anyone asks, yes, we would be thrilled to have Meghan Markle join us, as we are already preparing a ‘Royal-Mother-To-Be’ runway challenge.” Contestants will compete in individual or team challenges that test a specific drag queen skill before taking on the Maxi Challenge, the headline moment of each show where they may be required to perform, model in a photo shoot, prepare a runway look for a themed challenge before having to face the judges, with one contestant each week eliminated and asked to “Sashay Away”. The eight-episode series was commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three and Kate Phillips, Controller, BBC Entertainment. The Executive Producers are RuPaul Charles, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Sally Miles and Bruce McCoy, and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Ruby Kuraishe. Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three, says: “Needless to say, we’re delighted that BBC Three will be the home of a new UK version of Drag Race. It is one of the biggest entertainment titles in the world and anticipation levels for a UK version have been at feverish levels. With heart, humour and the un-imitable RuPaul, Drag Race is going to take BBC Three to a whole new level.” Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, World of Wonder Co-Founders and Executive Producers, say: “World of Wonder Productions began in the UK, and the many Queens of England have always been an inspiration, so bringing RuPaul’s Drag Race to BBC Three is a very special home coming”. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will air in 2019.