entertainment

Interview: The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula’s latest victor, drag king Landon Cider

All three seasons of 'Dragula' are available to watch on Amazon Prime now

2019-11-01

Words: Tim Heap

It’s a safe bet these days to assume the words “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will mean something to most people.

The show is credited with much of drag’s move into the cultural mainstream, but it’s also criticised for presenting a rather narrow view of drag (though, with Yvie Oddly winning the latest season, that is, perhaps, changing).

Spotting a gap in the market to show a weirder side of drag, The Boulet Brothers (individually known as Dracmorda and Swanthula) turned their long-running club night into a reality TV show, the third season of which has just finished.

After seeing off scarily good competition, through challenges which involved eating raw animal organs, stapling dollar bills to body parts, and getting tattooed, Landon Cider, the show’s first-ever drag king, was crowned America’s Next Drag Super Monster.

Speaking to Attitude after the finale aired via Amazon Prime on Monday night (October 28), the Boulet Brothers said that Landon is “just the correct winner”.

“He’s hard-working, creative, focused, mature, experienced, respectful,” they said.

“He has important points to make but knows how to deliver them. He has a sense of humour about things, he’s just the right choice this season.”

We caught up with Landon to get the low down on his historic win.

 
 
 
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Congratulations on the win! How does it feel to be crowned America’s Next Drag Super Monster?

Like nightmares really do come true!

Was this the first time you’d applied to be on Dragula?

Yes! I wanted to submit for both previous seasons but contractual obligations to other projects didn't allow me.

You’re the first drag king on the show – did you feel the odds were stacked against you, and that you had something to prove?  

Every time I step on any stage, I feel like I've got something to prove!

To myself as an entertainer trying to give my best for every deserving audience, to correct preconceived notions that kings are boring or aren't as theatrical as queens, and to budding performers that alternative drag is just as valid and entertaining!

Everything else is subjective and I can only do my version of me.

How do you describe your style of drag? 

I describe myself as a shapeshifting, glam-drogynous, storytelling king with a new addiction to rhine-stoned blood.

 
 
 
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Who did you bond with the most on the show? 

Hollow Eve. We’ve worked together in the past and been fan of each other’s work for some time but something about being immersed in a competitive style show traditionally focused for cis-men, surrounded by mostly cis-men, brings the two AFABs (assigned female at birth) together spiritually and unspoken connections form.

Is the idea of being a ‘monster’ something you associate with?

Completely! I spoke on the show about how I now avoid negative energy, but that’s the version of me now that I've worked hard to evolve into.

But we all have inner demons and monsters that emerge from time to time. Within my art, my favourite monsters to perform are those hidden within the "ordinary".

My glamour look in the finale episode was my attempt at bringing that to my Dragula repertoire.

A modernised "classic Hollywood type" at a fancy gala, who's inner monster comes out when he sees an ex-lover.

His glittered red palms represent his emotional rage of the realisation he had murdered his lover and even the rain couldn't wash away his innner turmoil.

I’m convinced some of the world’s scariest monsters are humans.

You brought socio-political issues into the show, with your Mexican vampire look, for example. Is it important that your drag always has meaning and something to say?

My drag always has a story. From comedy, horror, camp, sexual, cosplay, satire, gender critique, or political, and each time I step on stage I try to take the audience on a journey.

I think drag is inherently political and without that it would lose its raw edginess. I've brought political commentary to my drag throughout my career but felt moved to do so more since our current administration took office.

We are under attack, and as a queer woman watching a nation defend this ugly human who celebrates things like "Grab her by the pussy" sickens me.

I have a platform, and I'm gonna use it to speak on subjects and for people who don’t.

 
 
 
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Dragula isn’t always an easy watch – what were you most uncomfortable with during filming? Which extermination are you glad you didn’t have to do?

Sitting around with duct-taped tits for 15 hours a day is in itself pretty damn uncomfortable, and I ate enough spiders for my lifetime, so I’m pretty happy I didn’t have to drink blood and eat animal organs…

What was your favourite challenge?

Ironically, eating the spiders was my favorite challenge. I held that chalice and took a moment to thank them for dying for me so that I could go on to win this entire competition and that they were helping me manifest this destiny for myself.

And then I dumped them in my mouth and felt their little bodies pop between my teeth. Ha! Totally Dragula.

We’re yet to see a drag king or even an AFAB queen on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and that doesn’t look likely to change any time soon. What are your thoughts on that?

I have plenty of opinions as read in an op-ed piece I wrote for the Advocate a few years ago, and I'm confident I’ve pretty much proven my points with my Dragula win.

But in all honesty I don’t have the time or energy to give to those that don’t see me or my contributions as a woman to the Art of Drag.

I'm grateful to the Boulets for always including diverse forms of drag in their parties long before the reality show emerged, and I’m proud to be a part of their future.

 
 
 
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Drag is having a huge moment and is really crossing into mainstream. Does that endanger it at all, do you think? 

I think the more we normalise what others think of as "too weird", the more we can celebrate the art behind all the weird, and I do love weird!

I'm also confident that the Boulets will aways maintain the dark underworld of drag with Dragula, despite how "mainstream" it may become.

A PG-13 rating on a show may limit what we see on a TV screen, but with hope, that will motivate people to get out into the clubs and watch live alternative drag.

Live shows are always the best way to experience Drag and the only way it will truly stay alive!

What’s the best advice the Boulet Brothers have given you?

To keep doing me, cause doing "me" is my favourite. All pun intended.

What are you going to do with the prize money?

Pay back my friends who lend me a shit-tonne to be able to create the looks I brought this season, and get dental work done. Our dental healthcare industry in the US is bananas expensive!

Are there any plans to perform here in the UK?

Yes! SlayPresents is bringing me on a Dragula Tour in January, and can’t wait to meet my UK fans.

I also have other gigs in the beginning stages of planning and will be announcing more dates soon – keep an eye on @landoncider.

All three seasons of Dragula are available on Amazon Prime now.

Watch the trailer for the third season below:

Meet Our Monsters: