Since slaying season six of Drag Race, the incomparable Bianca Del Rio has become arguably the biggest and most bankable star from the entire franchise. Proven by the fact that this year, she became the first drag queen to headline Wembley Arena – solo! So how does it feel to be the Beyonce of the RuGirls? We caught up with the acid-tongued, hilarious superstar to find out.
Hello Bianca. Years ago, could you have ever predicted you’d be the first drag queen to headline Wembley arena on your own?
Oh God no, it’s been a wild ride! Much credit goes to the platform, which was getting to do Drag Race – that opened everything up. And a huge thank you to the drag queens that came after me on the show that made me look better…
And now you’re opening doors for them all. How does that feel?
It’s rare that I even think of anyone else! I didn’t think getting to do Wembley was even an option. It wasn’t for vanity purposes, it was a business decision. Mathematically we had to move to larger venues because it made sense. It evolved. But it does become surreal. When I went to the venue I thought, oh fuck… I’m grateful but I’d be a liar if I said it wasn’t daunting. It is and it should be. But the only time I do feel comfortable is on stage, I know that sounds insane because it’s the only normality I have. It’s one of the few times I’m alone. Besides sleeping. Once you’re out there, you’re by yourself.
Is it harder to interact with the audience when it’s a less intimate setting?
The advantage is, with every show I do a meet and greet before, with about 100-150 people, and I figure out who they are and what all their quips and problems are. And they’re usually the first ten rows, so that’s always great. So they think I’m taking an interest, but I’m taking notes! I’m listening then I’ll use it against them!
Will one of the shows be televised and released on Netflix?
There’s always talk of that, we are talking about it. Everything’s up in the air because that’s the world we live in. But we have the document, we filmed it all…
You had a Twitter spat with season eleven winner Yvie Oddly recently…
Well, her statement made me laugh because it was a ridiculous analogy about being a chef and running out of ingredients. And I was just like – say what you need to say, bitch… She had done a meet and greet and she refused to take pictures with fans after the show because they didn’t pay. That was the tweet. Now to me, that’s ridiculous, so my response was – ‘good luck!’ And then she decided to get sassy, which made me laugh even more. You’ve been at this for two months! You’ll survive… That’s what I thought. Then everyone started in with their madness, talking about her illness and her being tired. And I said, fine, well don’t tweet that. It’s a stupid fucking tweet. You tweet that and people are going to say something – THAT’S HOW SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS.
Did you get the chance to continue the conversation with her privately afterward?
Oh God no, I don’t know the bitch. I don’t know her. I’ve never been in a room with her. I just thought what she wrote was ridiculous. And my favourite is when people say, ‘well, who are you to say anything?’ Well, possibly the most knowledgeable person when it comes to this situation! Just do the photo and move on, that’s what I do. That’s what works for me. But I don’t know the girl.
Your directness is definitely a good fit with British fans…
I agree and I didn’t realise that until I’d been around enough to know they’re a bit more straight forward and honest. In America, we dick people around a lot more.
There were rumours you were going to host Drag Race Australia with Courtney Act?
I think it’s hysterical! Yes, I’m going to host ALL of them. I’m doing Drag Race North Korea. Could you imagine? Do you know how many people would be happy to send me there? But who knows what’ll happen, I never expected to be on Drag Race, or win!
You didn’t? It felt like you did watching it!
You’re seeing their edit. When you’re there, you’re not privy to any information, you don’t know what everyone else is saying in their confessionals and what their backstory is – who was left at the bus stop, who’s dying… I was happy to do the competition but you realise it’s a reality show so there’s another part that plays a huge impact, and I didn’t have a huge sob story, so I figured that would work against me. And Jinkx had just won with her ugly-duckling-everyone’s-picking-on-me storyline, so I didn’t think I’d be able to win.
How did you find appearing on the West End in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – and did Michele Visage give you advice?
It was a fitting part – I was an elderly drag queen who’s bitter, trying to mentor someone… Such a stretch artistically! Sure, Michelle advised me, she said – take care of yourself; eight shows a week is a lot. And she was right. You’re trapped with people in a venue eight times a week, and it can take a toll on you physically.
Will you be making a third Hurricane Bianca film?
We are working on it, we’re hoping to squeeze it in next year. Since it’s an independent film, it’s like one minute, it’s not happening, the next, we have the money and we’re shooting tomorrow! It will happen I just don’t know when.
According to the script, everyone who’s been in the first and second does return. But it’s just pinning those bitches down. With Shangela, it’s about finding out when she has a free moment because that bitch is everywhere, but Willam’s a definite because she doesn’t have much work…
You previously said you’d do a winner’s season of Drag Race for £1 million…
Now you can put it up to ten million! What a great opportunity it was, and I had a lovely time, but I’m not interested. I’m not going to ruin my great experience by going back on television, I’m very happy with the results.
Who do you think would win if they did it without you?
I don’t care, I don’t give a fuck who wins. If they won their season they knew what they were doing then. If they were good in their season, why put them back, it’s crazy. Only one person will benefit, everyone else will complain about it.
To hear more of Bianca’s sass, catch her It’s Jester Joke tour of the UK. Tickets available on her website: http://thebiancadelrio.com