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Exclusive: Danny Beard on Drag Race All Stars winners series: ‘Never say never’

Exclusive: Danny Beard chats to Attitude about being the UK's next Drag Superstar, comedy, and whether she'd come back for an All-Winners series.

By Alastair James

Danny Beard
Danny Beard has been crowned the winner of RuPaul's Drag Race UK series four (Image: Guy Levy/BBC)

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK‘s Danny Beard is the UK’s next Drag Superstar. It’s official. The Liverpudlian queen was crowned on Thursday (24 November) following the grand finale.

After 10 weeks of competition, it came down to a final four – Danny Beard, Cheddar Gorgeous, Black Peppa, and Jonbers Blonde. After lipsyncing to a megamix of RuPaul classics it was whittled down further to just a final two: Danny and Cheddar.

And one final, dramatic lip sync later RuPaul made her final decision and named Danny Beard the UK’s next Drag Superstar.

Speaking with Attitude after her win on Friday (25 November) Danny discusses making it to the final, competing opposite her friend, Cheddar, and what she learned from her fellow Drag Race queens.

Danny Beard on Rupaul's Drag Race UK
Danny Beard on Rupaul’s Drag Race UK (Image: Guy Levy/BBC)

DB: If you don’t mind, I’m going to take this crown off because it weighs a tonne.

A: Absolutely! How are you feeling right now?

DB: Ecstatic. Over the moon. Bewildered. I feel like I’m having a fever dream and I’m gonna wake up tomorrow. It’s crazy. It’s crazy.

A: Have you got an idea of where you’re going to keep the crown?

DB: I haven’t even thought about that. I’d say mantelpiece, but I’ve not got one. I mean, it’s massive. It weighs a tonne. To be honest, the way the bills are going up probably taking it out to Cash Converters next week.

A: Take us all the way back, what was going through your mind when you entered the final challenge?

DB: I just was so happy that I’d got to the final. I know I said it a few times on the show, but I really never thought a drag queen like me would be on the show. I probably didn’t even consider myself a drag queen for a long time and a lot of other people didn’t. I just wanted to give a good performance, performing is what I do, I like to make people laugh. I like to give people a good time. I just knew this was the last thing to do there. And I just gave it my all and just wanted people to enjoy it as much as I’m enjoying it.

A: Yeah, certainly everyone was loving it all the way through. It was really nice watching you and Cheddar because you’re very good friends. What was it like being in the top two together?

DB: I can’t believe that I’ve even been compared to someone like Cheddar Gorgeous. She’s an icon, she’s an innovator, she’s an educator. She brings a whole new smorgasbord of things to drag. She’s so different from me and I think that’s why people have been so lovely online saying if it can’t be Cheddar it should be Danny and vice versa. She’s become one of my best friends. We chat all the time. And I get to tour the world with her now, so it’s amazing. And I feel inspired and she pushed me to do better in the competition. I think the same would be said for her as well. It was a friendly rivalry but rivalry still feels like the wrong word.

Cheddar Gorgeous and Danny Beard on RuPaul's Drag Race UK
Cheddar Gorgeous and Danny Beard on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (Image: Guy Levy/BBC)

A: There was a lot of, especially last night, love in the episode. It was really clear to see that love between all the cast. Was there anything that particularly bonded you as a group?

I just think we had the right gel of people. There’s nobody in the room that was wanker. Drag is ego-driven, it’s egotistical, and there isn’t a performer on this planet that doesn’t have some sense of inflated ego, but I think what was beautiful about this season is we were able to be those inflated egos onstage and be the real us offstage and that’s what made us all gel. No one thought they were better no one. Throw in some curveballs and it might have been a different season, but it really was the season of the sisters and it really was RuPaul’s best friend race and I’m really proud to have come off that season.

A: Were you prepared for the finale to be as emotional as it appeared to have been for everyone?

DB: Listen, you’re talking to the UK’s number-one cryer here. I’m so in touch with my emotions and I just let them out whenever wherever. It could not be, you’ve seen 10 weeks of one hour and I’ve lived this for a year. So it was everything and more. It was a nice poignant end to that year. At the same time, it was bittersweet because it’s the start of a new chapter. There’s been plenty of times when I thought that this would never happen. And it’s all happening. So I’m grateful.

A: When you entered the werkroom for the very first time, and you saw all the other competitors in your mind who else was in the top four apart from yourself?

DB: Cheddar, Dakota, me, [Black] Peppa, it sounds really shady now because I’ve said the finalists but not Jonbers. I don’t mean it like that. I don’t know Jonbers. I think Jonbers deserved to be there as much as the rest of us. I think what was amazing about Jonbers is that she was so positive. She was told she had no lips at one point and she just got back on that horse and rode it with her head held high. I think when you watch there’s something you can take from each of us. I think what you can take from Jonbers is sheer determination. And I don’t think we’ve seen a story like Jonbers certainly in the UK one where somebody just grows and grows. At the beginning of the show, they might be one thing and at the end, they’re this fully realised, stunning, funny fashion queen. I don’t think we’ve ever seen that on the show. And I don’t think we’ve ever seen a funny fashion queen. Maybe Sminty, but she’s funny looking.

A: You’re very well known for your comedy, you made some shady remarks here and there and you were loved for it. But at the same time, Pixie Polite was making some shady remarks and seems to have the opposite reaction. Why do you think some queens can kind of get away with that kind of humour and others can’t?

I’ve done this job for 10 years. There’s certainly been a lot of times in my career where I’ve thought it was funny shade, and the audience has not taken it that way. It’s just something you learn. Honestly, I can’t put my finger on it. I’ve just honed the skill. Not that Pixie hasn’t honed the skill, I think she’s f***ing funny. But I think you’ve got to be able to sell it with a bit of warmth. I think it was very stressful for Pixie at times. And I think sometimes it just missed that slight inflection somewhere. I’m not an academic on comedy. I know Pixie, she’s got a heart of gold, she was one of my best friends in there, she wanted it so bad. I think she was surprising herself all the time. But I think sometimes it just didn’t quite read. And also, you know, we’re making a TV show, and they can add a certain noise at the end. I’m not saying it’s the edit, I’m saying there’s more at play than what the fans realise. And people need to get a grip. We’re drag queens, we’re going to make shady f***ing comments if you don’t like it, support someone else, and go buy the merch.

Danny Beard, Cheddar Gorgeous, Jonbers Blonde, and Black Peppa on RuPaul's Drag Race UK
Danny Beard, Cheddar Gorgeous, Jonbers Blonde, and Black Peppa on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (Image: Guy Levy/BBC)

A: Did you enjoy meeting the other three Drag Race UK winners? Did you know them already?

DB: Yeah. I knew The Vivienne really well. Scouse icons, scouse legends. Krystal Versace and her sister DeDe Licious were my warm-up act once, the year before Krystal got on. I remember saying to Versace ‘Have you applied for Drag Race?’ and she was like, ‘No, I’m too young’. I was like, ‘Bitch, RuPaul will love you’. I’m not trying to take credit here, by the way. But it was a conversation we had before some kids on Twitter ats me. I remember thinking she was just magical to look at and just the way she performs is brilliant. And there she was. In short, I know them all. I’m rambling. I’m very tired, I’ve had about three hours sleep.

A: It’s ok. I’ll make the headline ‘Danny Beard says we wouldn’t have Krystal Versace without her’…

DB: You dare!

A: Just kidding! We’ve had an all-winners series of Drag Race. Would you say yes if invited?

DB: I would never say never. I joked to the producers and said ‘Never ring me up again’. RuPaul said it herself, ‘Never turn the opportunity to be on TV’. I think it would have to be sometime in the future. I need to recoup what I’ve spent on the show so far and I need to make a bit of money and I’d like to buy a house. So, there’s a few other things on my bucket list before returning to the werk room, but I would never say never.

A: You mentioned cost there. It’s a conversation we’re seeing more of now. Did you feel pressure to spend a lot preparing for Drag Race UK?

DB: They ain’t gonna like that question girl! Whether it’s pressure from Drag Race or from yourself, you can only go as far as your budget allows. Drag is an expensive career, whether you’re on Drag Race, or you just want to push a career. I think people do complain about how much you’ve got to spend to get on Drag Race, but then the higher the risk, the higher the reward. Hopefully, we’ll make it back as quickly as possible. With any business you spend money to make money, I think the people maybe that are moaning are the people that it didn’t work out for. Does that sound really shady? I’m just answering honestly.

Danny Beard
Danny Beard has been crowned the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK series four (Image: Guy Levy/BBC)

A: Fair enough. Were there any moments between you and RuPaul that we didn’t get to see?

DB: There was things on camera that didn’t get shown like RuPaul said to me ‘When did you know you’re a star?’ And I just burst into tears. She was like, ‘Why do you always get emotional when we give you such high praise?’ I’ve always believed in my delusional mind, we’re all drag queens, we’re delusional, that I am a star. And we don’t like to say it out loud, because it makes us sound like we think we’re something we’re not. And people didn’t get the drag persona for a while. So I always believed it but to hear RuPaul say, who is the queen of queens, it kind of just validates all these weird feelings about for years. So intense.

A: You’ve done Britain’s Got Talent and Drag Race UK, any there any other reality show you’d like to do?

I would love to be a television presenter, ultimately. But that’s not to say that you might not see me next year in the jungle eating a kangaroo bollock. There’s not been a drag queen in there. I’d like to do it. If they asked me to do Strictly… I mean, I’m not going to make a show of myself again am I? I’m not going to do that. So I’d politely decline. But I would definitely go into the jungle and eat a bollock or a cock. You know what I mean? It’s not too dissimilar from a night out in Manchester. So, let’s see what happens. As long as I’m not in there with someone like Matt Hancock because I think I’d have to leave.

A: That’s fair enough. Do you have any ideas for your Hollywood production yet?

DB: I’ve got loads of ideas, and I’m not sharing them because I know what us queers are like. The idea will be nicked and we’ll see Cheryl Hole doing a knock-off version of the show.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is available to stream on the BBC iPlayer now.