The BritQueens are back! And we don’t mean Betty! RuPaul’s Drag Race UK returns for its second season on January 14th on BBC Three. In the U.S. you’ll be able to catch it on WOW Presents Plus. Will we have things to say when it returns? Oh honey, please. Did we mention we wrote a book? Or that the book was named one of the best books of 2020? It may have escaped your attention the few times we brought it up. Don’t worry. We’ll mention it in every recap of the season – which is, by the way, running semi-concurrently with the OG Drag Race, which means the first several months of 2021 are going to be practically awash in drag queens.
Anyway, let’s meet the girls. One thing to look for: whether the second season girls show more polish than the first season girls did, which is something of a pattern in the Drag Race franchise. Nothing against those fabulous queens of season one, but it sometimes takes a drag community a few attempts to figure out how to present good TV-ready drag in the RuPaul manner.
Ladies and Enbies, take it away. Oh, by the way: They’re all dressed to represent the Progress Pride flag, which is fucking fab.
“I am a strong physical, fit, masculine, feminine woman. I am Serena Williams and Naomi Campbell if they had a baby, plus Azealia Banks! I’m a body queen. I am blessed, gorgeous and stunning. I’m not a gown queen or sequin queen. I’m an everyday streetwear fashion queen. I like to wear hooded stuff and trainers. I don’t believe that you need big hair and expensive gowns. As long as my legs are out! Asttina is not a character or someone different, Asttina is me. We are the same people. She is my mutant form. She is my ultimate power.”
Hometown: London (via Nottinghamshire)
“I’m from Nottinghamshire originally. I now live and work in London, but I’m still northern as hell. I’m a fashion designer and A’Whora is my muse, best friend and alter ego. She is well known as a fashion queen, but I’m here to prove she’s so much more than that. She is different to anyone you will ever meet. She is striking, she has presence, and you will never see her in a High Street dress. I’m gagging at the thought! I’ve been doing drag for under two years, but you can’t put a timeframe on talent. At the end of the day, if you’re dedicated, talented and dedicate yourself to the craft, you can do anything.”
Bimini Bon Boulash
Hometown: London (via Norfolk)
“My drag style is ever changing. I like to be super feminine and incorporate many sources of inspiration. I would never fit my drag into one box! I like to mix the ridiculous with a bit of politics. I’ve got a lot of different acts. Some are burlesque, some are me being covered in oat milk, with a strong vegan message behind it. I’m mainly silly, which is what I love about drag. Expect the unexpected!
I have a degree in journalism, and I have done a lot of social activism, which is something I’d like to pursue further. I invented veganism about seven years ago…haha! No, I’ve been vegan for about seven years. I love yoga, and I’ve never been healthier. My nails are great, my teeth are great, and my hair’s great.”
“In the world of drag, just like a Cherry, I sit on top! Cherry Valentine is everything. She is glamour, she is a club kid, she’s dark, she’s gothic, she’s a dancer, she’s flippy. Look at me, I am a queen. I’m a high fashion queen. I look fierce, and my body is hourglass perfect—as there’s nowt worse than a saggy boob. I like to say my drag is insidious glamour—a beautiful lady possessed by the devil. I’m not always a drag queen, I’m a drag artiste, there’s a subtle difference.
I’m not just a drag queen, I’m a fully qualified mental health nurse too. I believe that everyone could do with a bit of therapy (especially now), and I think that being a nurse, has helped create my drag and that drag has helped my nursing. I understand both myself and other people a lot more now. During the pandemic, I put my nursing kit back on and went back to the frontline and did what I could to help.”
“I’m 6-foot-4 out of heels, and in drag, I love to go even taller. I like the biggest wigs, heels, outfits, lashes, makeup and ass. I would describe my drag as a cartoon character that has come to life—this outfit is inspired by one of my favourite films, The Wizard of Oz. I love bold colour, patterns and ideas. I take inspiration from my favourite movies, cartoons, anime and put it altogether to create this beautiful 6-foot-8 drag queen that you see before you. If you were to search online for a photo of a drag queen, then a picture of me would come up!”
“I’m basically a drag troll. I’m the hairiest woman in show business! I’m the only non-binary drag queen in the U.K…with a sense of humour! I don’t do traditional drag; I am a character. My look is a 90’s daytime TV presenter. I wear my face which suits me. For me, it’s not about makeup. It’s all about the performance. I did X Factor in 2017, and I sang Liberty X’s “Just A Little Bit.” Really, I’m a singer songwriter, and drag is how I do that. I’ve been doing drag since 2016 so I was quite a new drag queen when I did X Factor.”
Hometown: Brighton (via Portsmouth)
“I bring all the wonky eyebrows and eyeshadow of the traditional seaside drag with a bit of haunted glamour. I may look a tad harsh or strange on first glimpse, but I enjoy a ballad, and I always try to be kind and nice. I think that drag is such a celebration of life and creativity, and I will always support that. I may look mean but I’m full of love.
“My real name is Lawrence, but “Chaney” comes from a 1920s prolific silent movie star. He was known as the man of a thousand faces and I’m known as the queen of a thousand faces, because I’m good at impersonation, stupid voices and general buffoonery. I am a mix of Rab C. Nesbitt and Susan Boyle! I take a lot of pride in my appearance. I want to look fierce! I make most of my own costumes. I do my own hair and makeup. I even make my own hip pads. I do it all, and I take huge pride in being literally self-made. I love anything pastel coloured. My favourite colour is purple. If it reminds me of a chocolate bar, then I’m there.”
“I went from painting on canvases to painting on my face instead. If you turn up to a Sister Sister show you’re going to get my absurd comedy timing. You will get some fantastic looks and to keep you on your toes, there’s some mild morbidity too. My comedy style is very dry. I think it sometimes takes a few dim-witted people a couple of seconds to catch on. That’s what I love. I have a saying: if you’re not having fun, what’s the point?”
Hometown: London (via Newport, Wales)
“I want to be the next Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey or Catherine Zeta Zones, and give ‘em the razzle dazzle. The Tayce look is very “model-esque,” very villainess, very street fighter. I’m dark and edgy. Sometimes I like to switch it up, look at me now…I’m like a bird of prey, or a bird of paradise, a sexy owl. Since I was born, I have been prancing around in little skirts and wigs. I’ve always been full of life and energy. I’ve always got a smile on my face and I have been wearing crazy looks from day dot.”
Hometown: London (via Essex and Nottingham)
“My name, Tia Kofi, is a very camp and very British—tea or coffee darling? It’s very me, and at the very least, it’s memorable! I’m a mashup of the drag styles. I love comedy, camp, old school, contemporary and cultural references. As there aren’t a huge number of POC queens on the scene, I’ll often throw in something from my Nigerian heritage too. I’m also a geek. One day I might be a character from Dr. Who, and I love channelling a bit of Star Trek. My drag is a melting pot!”
Hometown: London (via Rochdale)
“I’m not one-note. Veronica is a sweet and innocent Lancashire rose with many petals and a few little thorns. If you come to one of my shows, you’re going to get gorgeous, goofy, confident. I’m pretty much confident in everything! Also, I cope really well in high pressure environments. Get the job done! That’s my motto for life.
When I was a little boy, my brother and I used to make our own comic books, and when our baby sister, Veronica, came along we were so jealous that we invented a supervillain in our comic books and called her Veronica Green! Unwittingly, my sister’s birth sparked off my drag persona! She’s going to be mortified at all of this—I stole her prom dress and everything.”
[Photo Credit: Courtesy of World of Wonder]