Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode three of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.
As we’ve seen in the last 11 series of RuPaul’s Drag Race, the design challenges are always a difficult one for the queens, and the British series was clearly no exception.
In the latest episode of Drag Race UK, the queens were tasked with designing a couture outfit using nothing but old tat they could rummage from a car boot sale, and while some shone on the runway, others found the design challenge a little more tricky.
After lip syncing for her life against Sum Ting Wong, it was Vinegar Strokes who was sent packing by RuPaul, but speaking to HuffPost UK the morning after her elimination was aired, she revealed she doesn’t agree with the decision after watching the episode at a viewing party in her hometown...
How was it watching the latest episode back?
I watched it last night at the Two Brewers bar in London, and I was very drunk. It was great. I was shitting myself beforehand, obviously, I was like, “oh my god I don’t want to watch it”, but I got there, had a few gin and tonics and everyone literally just went mental in the room. It was funny to be in a room with a bunch of strangers and have them all rooting for you, even though you’re showing the worst fashion of your life.
That’s the power of Drag Race isn’t it?
That sums up Drag Race and it sums up Britain.
At the time, were you shocked to have been sent home this week?
Um… do you know what? I wasn’t shocked to have been in the bottom, but because I didn’t see what Sum [Ting Wong] had been doing in the lip sync, you don’t know until they say “you’re going home”. I’m kind of shocked [at being sent home] after watching the lip sync, because I do think I turned it out a little bit harder than Sum did. But who knows?
At what point did you think “I’m definitely going to be in the bottom this week”?
As soon as Raven rolled out on that car I thought, “this is the day!”.
It looked as though you were really struggling compared to the other queens in the work room this week, how did that feel?
Do you know what, I was my own worst enemy in that. What I did was, I had an idea in my head, and then I’d ask someone like The Vivienne a question and [she’d say] “oh it’s a costume” or “oh it’s meant to be fashion”, so I think I talked myself out of a lot of good ideas that I’d had. And I didn’t have any time left, so I had to go with something quick and easy, so I went with paper.
But, let’s just make one thing clear, I did actually sew something, I sewed the jacket and the little skirt. But apparently hot glue saves lives… it’s weird, you do your best, and I’m not a design queen, I’m not a look queen, I’m just someone who performs. The outfits are essentially a cherry on top for me.
A lot of people were surprised that Baga wasn’t in the bottom two, what do you think of that?
Hmmm… I’m just going to say this again: hot glue saves lives *laughs* I mean look, we know Baga is amazing, Baga – as she said – can sell ice to the eskimos. But this was a design challenge. And I think, the paper outfit – although the paper outfit was shite – I did think mine was a bit more interesting than sticking a loads of scouring pads to a corset. But hey, she’s a scrubber, I’m a page-turner, so we’re both trash, at the end of the day.
Let’s talk about RuPaul’s “hodge podge” comment…
Oh my gaaawwwd!
You seemed to take that on the chin, but what was actually going through your head when she said that?
When she said it, I was like, ‘OK, hodge podge, if you’re a drag queen that is obviously not the thing you want to be hearing’. But then, because I’m a fan of the show, I always think that RuPaul kind of gives you little nuggets and little clues, to help you along. So I was like, ‘OK, I can take this really negative thing and say hodge podge is my thing, I’m the queen of hodge podge, and that is now going to be something that I run with’. So I just tried to have fun with it, and own it. We are people who are putting on wigs and make-up and entertaining people, so if you can take those negative things and turn them into things that people can enjoy, that’s the best part about drag! Taking the shit parts about yourself and turning them into something amazing.
Did any part of you think Ru was being below the belt?
Hmmm… below the belt? I don’t know. Because here’s the thing, I know that I’m not a design queen, and I know that at that point – we filmed this back in March – I was still trying to find my point of view with drag and what I wanted to do with it, so of course, if you’re trying out different bits and bobs, you are a bit muddled and a bit hodge podge because you’re still finding where it goes. And when I look at where I am now with my drag, I’m like a different kind of drag queen. If I did what I do now back then, it would have been completely different journey for me.
So, you know, no regrets at all. Babe, it’s drag. If we’re getting upset about wigs and costumes and make-up, then I need to have a word with myself. And also, I never claimed to be a design queen, so the fact that’s the challenge I went home on, that’s fine for me, because it’s not something that I’m really, really good at.
You were clearly shocked when Sum Ting Wong was in the bottom two with you, do you think the judges made a mistake with the judging this week?
So, back in March, when I was in the room and looking at the outfits, I was literally like ‘oh my god, Cheryl has literally done what I did on Halloween when I was a kid, she’s got a bin-liner and cut a hole through the top. She’s a body-bag with hot-glued rubber gloves on it’. I was like, ′come on darling, this ain’t gonna wash with the judges’. But watching it on telly, I was like, ‘oh actually, it looks alright! It’s still very basic, but it’s OK’. But Sum had fashioned this whole jacket out of blinds, and in my head, if you’re sewing something, you’re designing something – but that’s clearly not the case. So, back then, I was fully shocked. But looking at it last night, I thought ‘they’re right’.
Were you gutted to have gone home the week before Snatch Game?
Honestly gutted. Snatch Game was what I went to Drag Race for, it’s like an actor’s game to be doing something like Snatch Game. But it is what it is, Britain has literally missed out on one of the best Snatch Game characters ever. I was going to do Sandra from Gogglebox. Isn’t that amazing? But she’s coming. Don’t worry, she’s coming…
If you could, would you have done anything on Drag Race differently?
No, because I was saying to a friend of mine, you can’t prep for this, you have to go in with what you’ve got at that moment. Looking back at that, at that person on that show, compared to where I am now, it’s literally chalk and cheese. But I couldn’t have got to where I am now without being that version of Vinegar. So I have absolutely no regrets.
And finally, how did the reality of being on Drag Race compare to what you had anticipated?
It’s very hard, it’s a lot harder than you think. Not that I thought it’d be easy, but I thought there’d be a lot more hours in the day, a lot more time, but actually it really is a race, and you’re pulled from pillar to post to do various bits and bobs. So, the reality is that it was not what I thought it was going to be.
This article has been edited for clarity and length.
The first three episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK are now streaming on BBC Three, with new episodes available every Thursday at 8pm.