The 10 drag queens who will compete in the first UK series of RuPaul’s Drag Race include a “tart with a heart”, one who can put out cigarettes on her tongue, and the show’s youngest ever competitor.
The contestants who will be vying for the title of the UK’s first Drag Race Superstar have been “handpicked for their huge slaying potential” by show boss and head judge RuPaul, who praised each of them for being “unique, so courageous and so special”.
Among the queens are Baga Chipz, a “pub queen” and self-confessed “tart with a heart”, the “gender bending,’mess with your brain’ kinda drag queen” Crystal, and Scaredy Kat, a “very pink, very cute and very feline-esque” queen who, at the age of 19, is the youngest contestant to ever feature in Drag Race.
Baga Chipz, 29, from London, said of her drag name: “I was having a drink in a pub in Birmingham and this fella came up and started flirting with me and my mate. I said ‘Look, why do you want burger when you can have me, prime steak on a plate?’ and he was like ‘Prime steak? more like a Baga Chipz.’
“I thought you can’t get more British than a bag of chips, can you?!
“You’ve got your Crystals and your Sandras, but I’m unique. I stand out. If anyone else has my name, then they’ve copied it!”
Crystal, who is 34 and has lived in London for the past 10 years after moving from Canada, said her drag act “stands for tearing down gender constructs using creativity, looks and fashion, and crazy performances”.
She added: “I do aerial circus, I can crack a whip, put cigarettes out on my tongue – it’s a freak show. It’s unexpected.”
The youngest queen is Scaredy Kat, a 19-year-old student from Wiltshire, who is relatively new to drag.
She said: “It was probably about a year ago. I was with my girlfriend, trying to have a laugh.
“It was quite embarrassing but it went quite well for a first try. I did not look that good though, so I was glad the cat was the only audience member that night.”
The other queens are The Vivienne, Blu Hydrangea, Cheryl Hole, Divina De Campo, Gothy Kendoll, Sum Ting Wong, and Vinegar Strokes.
The Vivienne, a 27-year-old queen from Liverpool who describes her style as like “a Scousewife who has come into money – she moved to LA and blew it all and then she’s had to move back to Liverpool”, was previously crowned a UK ambassador for RuPaul’s Drag Race in the UK.
However, she does not think the role will give her a head start in the competition, adding: “I had to audition like everyone else and I’m coming to slay, like everyone else.”
Another queen who has prior experience with one of the judges is Vinegar Strokes, who worked with judge Michelle Visage in the West End production of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
The 35-year-old performer from London, said: “I did dance with Michelle Visage every single night, but I’ve already been clearly told there’s going to be no favouritism and this will be a level playing field.
“She won’t be allowing me any airs or graces when it comes to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK – I better come correct!”
Celebrity guest judges for the UK series include Maisie Williams, Cheryl and Andrew Garfield, while Graham Norton and Alan Carr will be on rotating judging duties.
Strictly Come Dancing’s AJ Pritchard and his brother, Love Island star Curtis, will be superstar coaches alongside British singer and producer MNEK.
Stacey Dooley and Lorraine Kelly will be celebrity guests for the show’s Snatch Game challenge, which sees the drag queens do their best impersonations of famous figures of their choice.
All 10 queens will be taking part in Manchester Pride on August 24 for their first official appearance.
The US series of the show has been a hit around the world and has won a string of Emmys.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will air on BBC Three.