‘Drag Race UK’: Hear from this week’s controversial eliminated queen
Say it ain’t so! After what has to be the most tragic lip sync in Drag Race history, we had to watch RuPaul separate the dream team known as Tayce & A’Whora. Sadly, A’Whora was the one sashaying away. The Drag Race UK werkroom will not be the same without her bitchy comments.
We talked with A’Whora about all our burning Drag Race UK drama questions, and trust us: there is plenty of tea a-spilling.
All the tea on Tayce & A’Whora
Unlike Lawrence Chaney, we’re smart enough to actually ask about the sexual tension rather than just assume the worst. But sorry shippers: Tayce & A’Whora are no longer the powerhouse couple, just the powerhouse BFFS.
“It was only really since I started doing drag that when we got to be so close and didn’t know what it was. And then, you know, after the show when we had the gap, we ended up deciding this is not a thing. We knew the show wanted this storyline so we amped it up. We played into everyone’s hands and gave them the content they wanted.”
Villain in the making or a victim of editing?
Whether you loved her or hated her, it was clear from day one A’Whora was made out to be the villain of Drag Race UK season 2. Ironically, she joined the show to shed the image of being a fashion queen, but just let the narrative play itself out.
“I had this attitude already, you know, but this actually was always something that was pushed on to me from the get go with drag. Because I was a fashion queen and I looked a certain way, people have this expectation, and they want for me to be this like Anna Wintour or this bit like very The Devil Wears Prada.”
How did you get into drag in the first place?
What drew me to drag was me wanting to find an escape. For me to try and leave who I was because I hate the person that I was, you know? I hated George because of a very abusive and manipulative ex-boyfriend that I was with for a very long time. I wanted to leave that person.
He told me that being feminine was a bad thing, and I needed to be masculine, and that because I dressed a certain way that I was a whore, that I was too into my fashion. HE said by being direct and eccentric, I was drawing attention to myself which meant I was a slag.
But yet, his insecurities got the better of him and he was the one cheating on me because he thought I was getting all this attention, and that’s what was the right thing to do. So, when he dumped me, after four years, he said “You’re too feminine for me, I don’t want to be with a whore.”
Then I thought, “How can I be feminine, and a whore, and make it a successful thing and create a very wonderful career?” So I decided, I’m going to brand myself as a whore. And then, you know, become an absolute eccentric dressed, fashion b!tch, who doesn’t take no sh!+. That’s why I went into this competition very strong minded and very cold, because I was still that person.
Why did you audition for Drag Race UK, and what was your reaction when you joined the cast?
I really, really, really wanted a platform to showcase what I do in terms of my design, my aesthetic, and how I can create and interpret a theme. I felt like that was something very strong that could change up things in the fashion industry and also with the drag community to interject the two together.
But also, I wanted to just show that I have a personality. I’m not just an Instagram girl. You know, I’ve never got booked for performances, because people didn’t think I could perform. Now here I am, performing with the United Kendolls as a challenge that’s in the charts. I’m going global, all over the world and doing tours and festivals coming up so you know it’s wild.
I would still be stuck here now in a box, without a gig, seen as an absolute twang, if I hadn’t been given that opportunity. So, you know, it really is game-changing to be given that kind of platform to, you know, showcase yourself.
We have to know: how do you and Tayce know each other, and what was your reaction when you found out she got into season 2 as well?
You’re really pulling on the leather aren’t you? Basically, a few months before the show, prior to the show, around January last year, me and Tayce were just doing our little fondle doodle and playing with our noodles. We were just hanging out, enjoying each other’s company.
And then, I think we both had plans to do something that evening, go out for dinner or something, and she goes “Girl, I’m gonna have to cancel, something’s come up.” And that was the same day I got my casting call to Drag Race, and I was like, “That b!tch, she’s cancelling because she’s been cast, and I’ve been cast. But I’m not going to tell her that.”
So when I walked into the werkroom and we both look at each other kind of like “Oh heyyy.” I mean I’ve noticed Tayce for years and even prior to drag I used to dress Tayce and make her clothes and stuff, before I even did drag. It was only really since I started doing drag that when we got to be so close and didn’t know what it was. And then, you know, after the show when we had the gap, we ended up deciding this is not a thing.
We knew the show wanted this storyline so we amped it up. We played into everyone’s hands and gave them the content they wanted. And, yeah, that was really it. I mean, then obviously in the gap, we moved in together and now we’re back to the show. We’re really strong best friends, we’re basically sisters. So, you know, no more rendezvous for Tayhora.
At least in the editing, it’s clear you’re the unofficial villain of Drag Race UK season 2. Did you set out to play the villain, or did it just happen through the cut?
I had this attitude already, you know, but this actually was always something that was pushed on to me from the get go with drag. Because I was a fashion queen and I looked a certain way, people have this expectation, and they want for me to be this like Anna Wintour or this bit like very The Devil Wears Prada.
You know, being cold and intimidating, and being this person that, you know, doesn’t take no shit. People wanted that for me, and I kind of played into it. And I made it my aesthetic and my character.
I was an Instagram drag queen. I wasn’t one on the scene, getting books and stuff I was doing photo shoot editorials. The only thing people knew of me was an image. So, an image you can literally walk it up to them being a cun* you know? That is why people felt this way about me.
That’s why when Tia Kofi said “Oh I heard stuff about her”, because no one knew me. And that’s why I wanted to do Drag Race. To go into this show and prove that I am more than an image, and yeah, I am a bit of a cun* when I want to be. But I’m also so much more, like I can be funny, I can act, I can dance.
I’m a human being, ya know? That is why I think I went in there with almost a front on already because I knew people were waiting for me to be this person that they wanted me to be.
We asked Sister Sister, so we have to get your side of the story on the whole double chips debacle.
I mean, you know, it’s a difficult one. But I really pride myself on my creativity and my design, and that’s why I went into the show: to prove and showcase. So you know with a design like that one I had, the cone of chips, it was very different and unique and I have my references and stuff so I’m proud. I was very proud of that and I want to share it with you.
It was one of my favorite lewks that I’d done. Obviously at that point I knew what Sister Sister’s lewk was because over the break we were talking, as you check out the competition to know what everyone’s doing, and she wasn’t doing the same. So yeah, it’s funny how we came back and she changed it up.
But it’s one of the things that I think we’ll just never know. Being realistically, like, I know that they say, “oh she wouldn’t have deliberately copied, you and made a worse outfit.” The thing is I don’t think Sister Sister thought I was gonna stay much longer, and probably thought that one [competition] would’ve come up at a later day.
She thought she might have been able to get away with that, without me being there, but who knows. I don’t think she did copy me, I think it was just a subconscious coincidence.
Tensions were definitely running high during this past episode. Do you think Ellie Diamond is the reason you and Tayce ended up in the bottom two?
Oh no, I don’t blame Ellie Diamond. I mean, she didn’t help the cause, don’t get me wrong. Like, if I’d have been given a second or third I probably would’ve done a better job. But you know, there’s always technical errors with going first. You’re the first to go out, you have to run with that.
I came out, I did my full set, and no one was laughing. And then when I finished they said “Oh your mic wasn’t on the whole time. Do it again.” So I did it again. And, you know, that kind of thing is what freezes you. And that’s why I started to stutter, and I couldn’t get my words out, because I was just so panicked. I was trying to think where I’d gone to the next joke, and did the first time land the right way?
I mean there’s many factors to it, but I think what it really does come down to, you know, I think my British sense of humor, didn’t really read with the American sense of humor. We have very, very twisted dark sense of humor over here sometimes and I think that was just something that the judges didn’t understand. And that’s fine.
You know, I personally find fart jokes funny, and maybe they don’t. But no, I don’t blame Ellie Diamond. The more I watch it in a day. It comes down to the content that you produce, the context of your set, and you know, that’s what that’s what you’re getting judged on. You’re not getting judged on anything else. Yeah, we move, we roll.
It feels like two sentences of your comedy set actually aired on BBC Three. Why did you choose to keep your set as it was rather than tone down the vulgerness of it?
So when I went out and spoke with Alan [Carr], he didn’t say it was bad. He liked it. He said “You know if you’re gonna go vulgar, go vulgar.” So I did. Obviously with the show, you know, you get things approved and signed off before. So I was told that set was fine.
You know, you have to go through about six different people before you can actually stand up there and read out that set. You have an on-set comedian, an on-set artist, the producers even go through stuff. I have it fully revised by about six different people, and no one flagged it.
So, when I got my critiques they were like “Oh, you know, a lot of it’s not going to air. And, you know, the BBC blah blah blah.” I was like, “Well, why did it go for that many people and no one said that?” You know?
It’s very hard to know what was the right thing to do because no one told me it was wrong. When Alan was saying the things he did, it was about another joke and they just walked around the area a little bit. I did use some of the stuff that they said, and the gaping a$$hole was definitely something that they said to use so I did.
The thing is, as well, a lot of it was cut. We had to do eight minutes of stand up, that was condensed down to about 40 seconds. So, yeah, there’s a lot of content and for each joke they chose not to use, there were jokes that I was praised on by Dawn French and they thought it was genius and they didn’t even air it. So you know, you can’t predict what’s going to go on air, baby.
Our hearts sank when we saw you and Tayce in the lip sync, and we weren’t the only ones. Tell us more about what that moment was like on stage.
I mean, Tayce and I a bit prior we kind of knew what was going to come. We kind of felt it was going to be in the edit at some point where we were going to have to play against each other. Because you know, it creates this content, you know is what people like to watch on telly. They like to see that. We knew it was gonna come, we just didn’t know when. We were hoping it was going to be for the crown.
But it wasn’t, and it was hard, you know, even though Tayce and I have been put against each other in the past. Even with the sewing challenge, you know I’ve always helped her out because, you know, we know everyone’s features failed because we’re best friends. So you know we always have each other’s back.
So to have that moment of, you know, for you to get on in this competition and to continue, you need to send this girl home. That was, that was hard, you know, but it’s the name of the game. It isn’t called best friend race, as they always say. You have to take a pinch of salt, buckle up and just go into it. And you know, I gave it a good go with the lip sync I personally thought I did a good job.
Do you think Drag Race UK helped you grow as a performer?
Yeah, I mean, not even as a performer just as a person. You know, Drag Race really makes you analyze yourself and understand yourself and become so much more self aware. You know, the weirdest thing ever is to get to tune into the telly and see yourself and watch it back and see how you were feeling in that time and how you feel about it now.
It’s two different things, you know. When I was going through that segment, it was a year ago with that content. I’m a different person too then, you know, and it’s hard. It’s sometimes harder to watch it back, because in that moment you know how it was and sometimes it’s not that way on the screen.
That’s the weird thing though: we were filming that episode for 48 hours, but you’re only seeing an hour. So, you know, you’ve got to just kind of understand it’s a show. But yeah, it’s been, it’s been a crazy experience, but very very difficult, you know.
Where can the fans find you? What’s coming next for A’Whora?
I’m gonna do a bit more reality TV, based on a few more channels, do a few more things. Things are coming up, you know. With the United Kendolls, we’ve got a lot of potential new music and tours and some amazing festivals over the summer. And, you know, we’re going to go a bit international with it, so that’s gonna come.
You can buy my merch to help me get through these very difficult times. And you can also request a Cameo for me to dump your boyfriend, or, you know, and it doesn’t need to be just. And, you can find on Instagram and Twitter if you want to keep in contact with me.
But the next happening is British Vogue baby, or taking over the fashion industry. It’s time to shake things up a little bit. You know RuPaul said “Don’t f*ck it up” but I’ve come here to f*ck things up.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK airs Thursdays on BBC Three in the UK and on WOWPresents Plus in the U.S. & other select territories.