It’s no wonder Bianca Del Rio won the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race
. She’s fierce and fabulous and, at age 40, has been a drag scene veteran for two decades. In England to take part in West End Bares
, she took time out to talk to Attitude about the real RuPaul, crazy fan requests, being a "hateful f*g" and why doing drag lets you get away with murder...
For West End Bares virgins, what’s it all about?
I did the one in the United States, which is called Broadway Bares
, and it raises money for the Aids-related charities. They asked me to take part in the one here and any time I can work something out for charity I’m excited. So it’s gonna be me, Graham Norton, some other acts and naked people, which is all good, to help raise money for the Make A Difference Trust.
And what’s your role in the proceedings?
They’ve worked out this number for me to do (they’ve asked me not to say what it is) with a bunch of hot guys who are gonna get naked, which I’m looking forward to. It’s one big glorified drag show, which is lovely.
Who would you most like to see bare their all?
Oh my God, there’s so many. But we live in a world now where we’ve kind of seen everybody naked, haven’t we? Even the people we don’t want to see. Usually the ones with the good bodies are showing it on some level, but I do like the element of surprise and with some of them I’d prefer it if they showed me their personality. That’s what’s lacking. You can’t go to the gym to fix your personality.
How has your life changed since you won Drag Race?
It’s crazy and surreal and an amazing opportunity. I get to travel the world and even to have a conversation with you, none of which would have happened without this amazing television show. We’ve been everywhere, which is kind of insane.
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned from doing the show?
That people are more willing to give you the time of day when they know more about you. That’s what great about the show; it doesn’t just deal with us as drag performers, it deals with us as people as well. It humanises us. What we’re doing is just our job – it’s not necessarily our identity. They get to see us as performers and they get to see us as people.
How was it meeting the legendary RuPaul?
Ru is truly amazing and I have to say I was more impressed by him as Ru himself rather than the glamazon we know already. Getting to know Ru in the workroom and having those moments to talk with him was great. You don’t get to see a lot of that on the show because it’s edited down to two or three minutes but we had 20-minute conversations and it was nice to get feedback. He’s been very supportive of me and the choices I’ve made since Drag Race
and I’m grateful for that because he’s a very smart, brilliant performer.
You’re known for your sharp wit, but can you sometimes be a bit too caustic?
[Laughs] I think it depends on who you ask. During the show I didn’t think I was being too cunty or too rude to people, but when it started airing I almost died. I was like ‘Oh shit, I said that?’ But for me it always comes from a place of comedy and self-deprecation where I know that I’m a joke and I don’t take myself too seriously.
What’s the best bitchy putdown you’ve ever heard?
There’s so many. It depends on the individual. I circle myself with a group of friends where that’s all we do – going back and forth at one another. Of course, the more truthful it is the funnier it is. Many of the girls on my season said ‘Oh Bianca, she wore the same dress every episode’ and I was like ‘Yeah I did and I won so why don’t you try that, you bitches?’
What’s Bianca like when she’s not in the public eye?
She’s just as hateful! There really isn’t much difference. I always say that if I didn’t wear a wig I’d be called a hateful fag and once I wear a wig I’m called hysterical. It’s kind of the same thing – it’s just that drag is the packaging to get away with murder.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
[Laughs] A clown. I think it’s sweet you assume I see my reflection. I know what it is and I’m pretty grateful I get to do what I do and have gotten away with it for so long, but by no means am I a glamour queen. I leave that to the other girls.
What’s the one bit of maintenance you wish you could skip?
Shaving sucks. Well, that and paying taxes. Shaving by far is truly the hardest part. It’s just rough on the skin. The make-up isn’t the problem – it’s just shaving, then piling all that shit on.
What’s the strangest place you’ve been spotted?
It always surprises me at airports, when you’re going through security, because it’s such a lacklustre and unglamorous moment. ‘Put your bag here, take off your shoes, do this, do that’. But on occasion you get that one employee who’s like ‘Hey girl!’
Any crazy requests from fans?
Sometimes they ask me to have their babies, which is quite weird, or the occasional straight girl will ask me to marry her, which I think means they don’t get the full message. But I usually give people credit for having the balls to ask.
Do drag queens have a shelf life?
Lady Bunny is proof you can go on forever – not beautifully but she’s still trucking. I definitely want a shelf life but figure ‘Just keep doing it as long as I’m enjoying it and people still show up to watch’.
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Who would pass up a dinner with Madonna? Would she eat anything? Probably not but I’d sit there and watch and judge her, just to get close enough to see the surgery.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Anybody who is old enough is already dead but who needs work? Shannen Doherty or Tori Spelling – those poor bitches need something going their way. Meryl Streep would be too good and hasn’t she played everybody already? She’s probably gonna play Ru in his life story.
*West End Bares is at the Café De Paris, London, on Sunday (September 20) at 9.30pm and midnight. For tickets visit madtrust.org.uk. Season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race is airing on truTV soon, truTV.com
WORDS: SIMON BUTTON
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