Words: Thomas Stichbury
Tayce was the season’s undoubted lip-synch assassin, but the killer queen couldn’t quite catch the crown and sceptre in her crosshairs. But she would not have had it any other way...
Striking a pose on the cover of the Attitude Tea Time digital special in association with TAIMI - free to download when you subscribe to the Attitude mobile and tablet edition (30% off for a limited time only) and individually for £1.99 here - the Welsh superstar-in-the-making says winning “would be the worst thing for me possible.”
Tayce wears dress by Bradley Sharpe; gloves and stockings by HS Studio for Patrick McDowell; shoes by Ilias Little Shoe Boxm (Hair styling by Let Lew; styling by Seyon Amosu; photography by Francisco Gomez de Villaboa)
“I would be dragged, girl, [called] every name under the sun, and I just don’t need it. I knew at that point that I wasn’t gonna win, I knew it, there was no way in hell they would give it to me, and if they did, they would be on something crazy,” she explains.
“It was a lovely top three and I’d won in my own right, you know, winning four lip-synchs, because I don’t think any of those other girls could have done four lip-synchs and stayed all four times, before even lip-synching for the crown!”
Reflecting on her experience on the show, Tayce, 26, opens about up not feeling like she was the flavour of the month for her idol, RuPaul.
“I just didn’t feel that love from him when I was there. But I saw it for everyone else; I saw it for Bimini, I saw it for Lawrence, I saw his, how proud he was of Ellie being able to do all these things at such a young age,” she confides.
Tayce wears dress by Dsquared2; gloves by HS Studio (Hair styling by Let Lew; styling by Seyon Amosu; photography by Francisco Gomez de Villaboa)
“I love RuPaul and he’s a massive inspiration to me; I have his books, he’s someone I’ve looked [up] to, so yeah, it’s a bit disheartening, but it is what it is, you move on. I don’t know what it is, maybe he sees himself in me, maybe he wants me to be a better person.”
In response to the judges’ critique that she was holding back, emotionally, Tayce maintains that the fact she doesn’t have a “sob story” is something that should be celebrated in itself.
“I am a product of amazing parents who have let me do whatever I want – in the right way – let me just be myself from day dot, never persecuted me for it, never made me feel weird, never made me look at myself and think, is there something wrong with me? Kids might have done that, but my parents never did it, and I feel like I’ve grown up to be pretty great,” she laughs.
Tayce wears dress by Dsquared2; trousers by Hari Krishnan; headpiece by Piers Atkinson; shoes by Ilias little Shoe Box (Hair styling by Let Lew; styling by Seyon Amosu; photography by Francisco Gomez de Villaboa)
“I was never brought up rich or anything and had loads of money. I’ve been in council houses and done that whole thing, but I’ve always been fine and never been punished for being myself, and I think for me to come on the show and show the world that you can have little kids like me if you were just nice and just let kids be who they want to be, they’ll come out fine… I think that’s a pretty important message to be shown.”
Tayce, from Newport, adds: “My mum told me a story when I was at the Manchester viewing thing, which I’d never heard before. My mum, my dad and peeps were hanging out and I was there, living my best life, wearing [a] little red dress or whatever, and one of my friends’ [parents] went to Mum and Dad, they were, like, ‘You know what he’s wearing, right? Are you just going to allow that?’ And they were, like, ‘Yeah, if you’ve got a problem with that, you can leave.’"
As the new face of Coca-Cola, and with music and modelling projects on the horizon, Tayce, 26, has plenty on the menu as she looks to conquer the world.
“It [the Coca-Cola campaign] really does mean a lot, like, for me, reading comments back and hearing people say, you know, to have a Black, queer drag queen, to be the face of such a big brand, it’s so important... they could have had anything on there; a white person, a straight guy, but they chose me, so that’s really going to uplift a lot of people’s spirits that one day you can literally go out and do that,” she smiles.
“It is corny, but I was that f***ing random, crazy kid from dingy, grey Newport, dock city, drugs going through it everywhere, council houses all over the shop, and I’ve never given up.
"Now I’m the face of Coke, I’m the Pat McGrath muse, I’ve got music coming out, I’ve got all sorts in the pipeline..."
The Attitude Tea Time digital special in association with TAIMI is out now.
Download it now for just £1.99.