RuPaul's Drag Race UK got off to a strong start last week as the best of British drag talent took to the runway to show Ru and the judges just how we roll this side of the pond.
Sadly, it wasn't such a strong start for Gothy Kendoll, who became the first queen to sashay away from the series after looks inspired by her hometown of Leicester and HRH Queen Elizabeth II failed to impress.
With the remaining queens set to continue their battle for the crown this Thursday (10 October), we caught up with Gothy to find out what the 21-year-old made of her Drag Race UK experience, what she'd do differently, and just what she made of Alan Carr's comment that her Leicester look looked "like an estate agent who's been to Regent's Park Zoo"...
So, probably not the end to the first episode of Drag Race UK you were hoping for - how are you feeling?
"Well, I think there’s been some pretty iconic first queens out - Vanjie, Porkchop, Shangela... I’m not gutted at all. I am because I didn’t get to show Gothy to the best, doing some more exciting runways, there were more exciting challenges, and I would have liked to have been a part of that. But I got on the show out of how many other queens, so I feel pretty amazing. I don’t feel down about it. And if I was out in the first five I’d rather be the first one, because everyone remembers the first one!”
Were you surprised to be the first queen eliminated?
After filming, because it’s so long before transmission, you kind of beat yourself up about everything you did wrong. But when you’re watching the show, you’re like ‘You know what, I’ve actually shown my personality and myself to the best that I could have’. Obviously that queen look wasn’t amazing, but I only had half of it with me so. Because I hadn’t prepared the queen look fully I wasn’t surprised I was in the bottom two. But I think watching the show, it could have been any of us. Because it’s the first season you don’t know what they’re looking for, and I think it’s more performance-based and that’s definitely not my strong suit. So I wasn’t surprised I was in the bottom.
Is performing something you’ve done more or since you left the show? Where do you see your place on the drag scene going forward?
I think after leaving the show and hearing everyone’s critiques you kind of re-evaluate your drag, what you’re actually good at and what you need to improve on. Since the show I’ve definitely been working on my aesthetic but also performing, so when it comes to doing gigs and tours I’m definitely prepared to give a really fab performance that’s as good as the performing queens in the competition.
One of the biggest viewer reactions on the night was to Alan Carr’s comment that your Leicester-inspired look made you look like an estate agent who’d been to the zoo - what did you make of that comment?
Well I don’t know a single estate agent who wears Mugler! So he can say what he wants! [laughs] No, it’s all in jest and it’s British humour to its finest, so I’m not upset by what he said. It’s true, I would have liked a better look, but I’m a young queen, I don’t have all the contacts to make all these fab outfits like I’d like to, so it’s the best I could have done in that situation.
As you say you were one of the youngest queens in the competition - do you think your age held you back, due to not having as much experience as some of the queens there?
I feel like experience-wise I didn’t have as much as the others, but I feel like I represent a fresh, contemporary style of drag, and I feel like my age helped me get on to the show to show that off. It would have been nice to have had more experience because we all grow and we all get better, but Ru saw something in me and that’s the reason I got on [the show] and I’m happy about that.
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Who would you like to see take home the crown?
I’m not really allowed to answer that, but Divina was the first drag queen I ever met, so she’s the one for me. She’s so fab. I think they all show a really diverse range of skills, and no one’s really a front runner so far because everyone’s there with their own point of view and aesthetic. I mean, we’re all really close and really good friends and all try and help each other, but I feel like me and Viv and me and Divina really understand each other and really get on and that’s really nice.
What would you do differently if you could have your time again?
I think the three weeks you get to prepare beforehand are the most important. Like I said didn’t have the contacts or money to be able to do everything I wanted to do, and you realise that when you’re shoved into this time frame with all this pressure. So I definitely would have taken those three weeks more seriously and prepared a bit better.
What surprised you most about the experience?
I think the amount of time waiting between filming. You have like an hour of filming and then three hours of waiting around, so you’re just necking Red Bull and then you’re just shaking everywhere, it’s a right mess! That was the thing I was definitely shocked about. And having your phone taken off you, that was a big shock. It was really difficult.
When did you first get into drag?
So I went to go and see my friend on New Year’s in 2016, and he was like ‘We’re all going out in drag so you need to as well’. So I did it and I was like ‘Oh my God’. My ballsack was hanging out the side of my leotard, my make-up was a mess, I didn’t have a wig on. But I was like ‘this is the most fun night of my life’. But obviously I realised I was a mess so for months and months after I just practiced and practiced, watched make-up tutorials, watched everything I possibly could, and then as soon as I was happy with it I went out, and then my first night out I got my first gig straight away!
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Have your family been supportive of your drag career?
Absolutely, they’ve all been so supportive. When I found out I was on the show my mum really helped me out with everything. She was so excited, I took her to the premiere with me, but everyone’s been so supportive, especially the females in the family. Obviously the males are like, excited about it, but I don’t think they understand how much of a big deal it is.
The judges' picked up on your lack of confidence on the show - is that something you think has improved improved since?
Well, having my teeth done - I literally had my teeth done a week after the show. I was supposed to have then done while we were filming the show, so I had to cancel my appointment, I was like 'For f**k's sake!' But yeah, since getting my teeth done and getting more experience I'm definitely more confident with everything. Before, I was always covering my mouth and I never like to talk too much, and I never used to get on stage to lipsync because I thought everyone's going to be looking at my dodgy teeth, but watching the show, you don't even look at, you know what I mean? I had so many feelings about it before, but now I look back and think 'You know what, you didn't need to worry about anythng'...
RuPaul's Drag Race UK continues this Thursday 10 October at 8pm on BBC Three.