Words: by Alastair James; pictures: BBC Pictures
Amid a week of twists and turns on Drag Race Down Under, the journey has come to an end for Anita Wigl'it - and in contrast to returning queen Art Simone, it seems that this time, it's final.
After stealing the show during Snatch Game as Queen Elizabeth II with topical remarks on the royal family, especially Prince Andrew, Anita looked to be emerging as a pack leader, but the Auckland-based queen was swiftly eliminated in episode four after lip-syncing for her life against Karen from Finance.
Both landed in the bottom two in the thrifty design challenge. But despite her exit, Anita is remaining on-brand with her characteristic positivity - and the series will be left a little dimmer now that she's gone.
Anita's been speaking to Attitude following her exit from the show and, given she's not one to blow her own trumpet, we think she did pretty well, all in all...
It's lovely to meet you! Sorry to see you leave the show. But given we saw Art Simone come back this week, could there be a return?
Aw, thank you! I hope so too, but unless there's a challenge with sausages and I get to come out in a big vat of them then I'll be in my element. I don't think that's going to happen sadly, but you never know! You can always dream!
Anita Wigl'it in the werkroom (Photo: BBC Pictures)
Never say never! What were you doing when you found out you were on the show?
When I found out I was on the show I second-guessed it. I think I got an email saying the shows filming from this time to this time, here’s what you’re going to need, well done.
I had to contact my friend who’s a producer at Warner Brothers in New Zealand and say, ‘Just confirming, am I on the show?’ So, it was a bit anti-climactic. When I realised I was doing it the excitement kicked in - and what an amazing experience and journey!”
What was it like walking into the werkroom for the first time?
Absolutely petrifying in many ways because you’re so excited. Backstage is a big area and I was looking at myself and they said ‘you can go in now and there’s a piece of tape on the floor and you have to watch out for your mark’.
I was in sheer panic not only trying to think of what line I was meant to say when I walked in, but also find this blooming bit of tape, which poor Karen [from Finance] completely missed.
My plan was to walk in and go “It’s time to wiggle it!” and hit myself with the whip, but I got so flustered trying to find the tape that I think I got it all around the wrong way!”
Did you know Kita Mean was also going to be there?
Obviously we weren’t allowed to talk about the show at all until we were announced. Because Kita and I own a drag queen dinner theatre together, Caluzzi, I had a very sneaky suspicion when she put in for a few weeks on annual leave!”
I guess that’s a good indicator!
We’ve had our first twist of the series with the return of Art Simone. What was that like?
I’ve known Art for quite a few years now and her drag is some of the best in the world, I think. So, when she was eliminated in week two I was devastated for her because I knew she had so much more to give and so much more to show. So, when she came back, I was elated for her. But I was also thinking, Damn! One of the strongest competitors is back!”
Anita stole the show in Snatch Game as Queen Elizabeth II (Photo: BBC Pictures)
Art left on Snatch Game week, which you won. How did that feel?
It was so amazing! I feel that you either want to win and be in the top or you want to win Snatch Game. So, it was one of the things after I could think I achieved something so now I can continue to enjoy myself and try and do really well and win and all that sort of stuff.”
And obviously, you won with your Queen Elizabeth (bravo! Might I add…) You had some very… interesting humour, shall we say? How long did you spend coming up with that stuff? Did it all come very easily given the source material?
When choosing a Snatch Game character, I wanted to choose someone that everyone knew and someone that had a lot of elements about them so there were many jokes to make. When I thought of the Queen, I thought it was perfect being such a sweet older lady, it’s funny itself when someone dresses up as a sweet older lady. There’s just so much material.
I had actually done a lot of brainstorming before about what sort of things the Queen does. So, it was a combination of that and complete panic and writing an answer on the card. So, there were things that I made up on the spot like the Dry Ass Pussy which I made up off the top of my head.”
What about the Prince Andrew jokes?
The one where Etcetera talked about a dingo stealing her baby and I said ‘I wish a dingo had stolen Prince Andrew’, that was off the top of my head. And the other one was premeditated.
Photo: BBC Pictures
What response have you had since the show aired?
It’s been so overwhelmingly positive and amazing. It’s funny, I’m used to seeing myself on screen in drag. But seeing myself out of drag was so different for me. Seeing that was funny, a bit confronting for me at first because I thought way too much. But how people reacted to it, and my positivity, has been so crazy and when I left a lot of people were writing in.
What’s next for you?
I really plan, COVID willing, to do some tours. So hopefully I’ll be coming to the UK early next year which I would love! It hasn’t been confirmed but maybe doing some solo shows. I’d die to go back to England! Other than that, I’ve written a solo show called Anita Wigl’it: The Life of a Funny Girl which is debuting in June in Auckland and [I’m] doing that around New Zealand and Australia. So, I’m just going to say yes to absolutely everything and take every opportunity with both hands and see what the world throws my way!”
What advice would you give to other drag race contestants?
I would say treat each week as its own competition. No matter what you’ve done before it kind of means nothing in many ways. So, you have to go in and give it your absolute best shot always.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is on BBC iPlayer every Sunday.