Not everyone was expecting insult queen Bianca Del Rio to warm our hearts in the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
But then she walked away with the crown, being named the winner of the drag race competition.
While she was in London, we grabbed a few minutes with her at The Meth Lab at The Black Cap to talk Drag Race in the UK, her experiences and taking major risks.
There’s great anticipation over here for a UK version of Drag Race with both Michelle Visage and RuPaul showing interest in being involved. Do you think the show would translate? What wouldn’t work over here?
Obviously the people who produce the show are smart people and they know what works for us but I think it has taken a couple of years in the US for it to find its balance.
I think even Ru had said at some point they started out with an idea with certain tasks and challenges and figured out what works, so by the time I came on I thought it was a well-run, well-oiled machine.
I think that they could totally work it out in the UK and, of course, to see drag on this level would be amazing and there are so many other talented people in different countries who just can’t do the show in America.
You know what’s interesting about the show is that I had the same ideas when I first saw the show, “Oh it’s not for me”.
I didn’t know if they would like my style of queen who did comedy ‘cause I didn’t see anyone like me so to have that moment was amazing.
I was speaking to Ru on the show and she asked me ‘Why now?’ and I’m like ‘I don’t know!’ I just wanted to take a chance and she was like ‘what took you so long?’ I told her I didn’t see anyone else like me on the show and she said ‘’cause you didn’t audition!’ So they open it up to all types and all kinds and I think this season there were four of us over the age of 35 so they’re expanding their horizons and I think that made for a better show. There’s definitely more diversity.
What was the biggest highlight from your Drag Race experience?
You go through many highs and lows with it. You’re cast and then you have a few days, and then you travel, then you’re there, then you come home, then you can’t talk about it, then they announce it, then you’re excited as it’s airing and you’re even more excited and then everyone’s attacking you, which is dreadful!
So it’s definitely a roller coaster. But in the end, and in retrospect ‘cause it’s been almost a year for me in the process, or more than a year now, was that you get this amazing opportunity to be who you are, no pun intended even though you’re in makeup and a wig.
Because of my journey in life I’ve been able to have good jobs and shitty jobs and this has opened the doors in so many ways so I think that the highlight for me was doing it.
It definitely has touched me and tested me as a person which I did not expect at 38 years old. It definitely did help me in a number of ways.
It really has shifted my life in a way I really couldn’t explain, it’s a little overwhelming and I know that’s a pageanty answer but it’s the truth. You really can’t see it until you’re in it and when you’re in it it’s an amazing place to be.
I’m friends with Courtney Act, Darienne Lake and Adore Delano and we’ve all talked about it. It’s like being in the middle of a diamond, you have this amazing opportunity and everything’s been quite magical.
For me, your shining moment was the stand-up comedy task. How did you feel about that week?
It was a great experience and I was worried about it ‘cause Ru was like ‘People are expecting you to be funny!’
I’m not a writer, I do better with a situation and here was a show that was presenting a comedy situation and then throwing in the one thing which was gonna throw everyone off – an audience of old people.
I had the fortunate ability to see what the other girls were doing and I had stuff which I had written and planned. Immediately I knew I couldn’t do that, I had to let it go. Instead I did what I would normally do in a club which is be funny and address them as I know how.
There was a moment where I just had to trust my instincts and go with it ‘cause that’s all you got. It was a lot of fun to do but it’s also one of those things like if you’re a dancer and there’s a dance challenge coming up it can be really intimidating ‘cause you just don’t know what they’re looking for. What’s funny to me in a bar might not be funny to them on TV.
If you’re not taking a risk it ain’t no fun for anybody.
Have you splashed out from the $100k prize money?
I’ve gotten the money but I haven’t done anything crazy. My schedule’s been so busy that I haven’t had time to spend it. For me I’m one of those people – remember I’m older, so my goal is to buy an apartment.
That’s what this journey has been about for me, I’ve been able to travel and see the world which has been amazing but it’s a tight schedule so I haven’t been very frivolous. I just haven’t had time to spend it, which is good for me!
For more information on Bianca Del Rio, as well as her upcoming film Hurricane Bianca, click here.