Ellie Diamond on ‘Drag Race UK’, Scottish drag, and her future
Fourth place still isn’t too bad of a spot to be on Drag Race UK season 2. Out of the twelve talented queens to enter the werkroom, twenty-one year old Ellie Diamond managed to take out nearly all of them and make it to the end. The Scottish queen has plenty to be proud of, even if she’s walking away without the crown.
One of the youngest queens to compete out of all Drag Race franchises, Ellie Diamond quickly became a fan favorite for her bright and bubbly personality, and the way that translated into her runway lewks. We know she has a bright future in drag ahead of her.
Rough start can’t dull her shine
One of Ellie Diamond’s biggest moments on Drag Race UK was her opening up about her brother and her father. Unfortunately, her father was not as open about her sexuality and drag career as the rest of the family, and Ellie was homeless for a period of time.
Thankfully, opening up about her experiences has given her a community of support. “It’s like, the amount of people that messaged me since that episode of me talking about my connection with my twin and having that kind of relationship with your dad, going like ‘I understand. Like I feel, I know what you mean, I’m going through the same things.’”
Making it to the top in her own way
While making it to the top four of Drag Race UK season 2 is no small feat, Ellie made it with no RuPeter badges either. Many underestimated her, yet she made it to the finale either way. “It’s exactly what Michelle [Visage] really said: ‘Ellie Diamond came in as a ten and stayed consistent through the entire competition.’”
“Maybe I didn’t have a growth like Bimini [Bon-Boulash] did. . . .But I stayed good, good, good, all the way through. I guess my track record kind of shows that.”
You can read our full interview with Ellie Diamond below.
How did you get into drag in the first place?
So my first sort of introduction to drag was my friend. At the time we were in school together and she was like “Oh have you watched this TV show?” and I was like “What is it?” and she said “It’s called RuPaul’s Drag Race.” And I was like “No, never heard of it never seen it.”
So she showed me episodes, and she showed me season six, and it was the first queen I ever seen entered the workroom, Adore Delano. I was like, “I need to do this. This looks like so much fun, like dressing up in wigs and costumes and stuff like that.” When I was younger, I used to do all of that anyways.
I was very much involved in theater, and doing a lot of shows, like amateur productions and stuff like that. And then I was also doing tap dance, jazz, ballet, all these sort of like really “gay” things and all that sort of came to one thing in drag. I was like, “Oh my goodness, I look so fabulous!” So I started doing drag in my bedroom and just worked my way up.
Why did you audition for Drag Race UK, and what was your reaction to being cast?
So I didn’t apply for season one, because I just was not ready, I wasn’t prepared, I didn’t feel like my drag was at the right stage worthy of Drag Race. So I kind of took that year to get myself a little bit better with sewing and wigs and making sure everything has a nice finish or polish to it.
Then I applied to season two. I applied because I sort of just wanted to put my name in there, see what happens, how far I get, and give them a little bit of who I am, and make sure they’re aware of me. Like this is a brand new show that’s here in the UK now, finally, after so many years, so you want to go on it because it’s a fun experience. So I put in my name to just sort of see how it goes.
And then I got the call and I was like, “Okay, thank you.” And then after they hung up the call, I replied to an email really quickly because I was like, “I need to know what we’re doing and what we need to get prepared now, so I can start.” I then I got the lists that we needed, and then after I was in my fabric shop buying it all up and making all the lewks.
You beat the odds and made it into the top four without winning a single maxi challenge. How does it feel to prove your critics wrong?
It just sort of shows the skills and talents I have I guess. It’s exactly what Michelle [Visage] really said: “Ellie Diamond came in as a ten and stayed consistent through the entire competition.”
Like that’s the thing. Maybe I didn’t have a growth like Bimini [Bon-Boulash] did, like how they were quite bad in the beginning, and they really grew at the end. But I stayed good, good, good, all the way through. I guess my track record kind of shows that.
But like the entire time I was there, I was like, “I mean I know I’m not doing crap like I know I’m not like, not doing great at stuff. I’ve done well in Sntch Game, I’ve done well in like all the design challenges. Like, the only time I fumbled and was in the bottom was in the acting challenge, because it was so good that you had to go off of track record, therefore me and Tayce were in the bottom.
But we both killed the lip sync and we were both saved. So I guess it’s especially the wide range of skills and talents I have that so I don’t need a to have a challenge win to validate me.
How do you think the world of Scottish drag compares to the rest of the UK?
I guess, the easy way to put it is there’s more opportunities in London and Manchester, just big cities where there’s things happening, like big brands and like loads of fashion companies and people that want to work with you.
They’re all based in London generally; that’s not a joke or tea, just a fact. So it’s like, up in Scotland where there are these sort of opportunities, yes, it’s usually the same queen getting the same sort of opportunities. There’s not very much variety for everyone to like pick and choose from.
It is what you have to do, because that’s all that there is. So, I guess in some ways, it’s like you can go to America and find like great dive scenes where queens go and deal with bad crowds because it’s all there is, you know?
One of the most emotional moments out of the entire season was your confessional about your relationship with your father. Do you regret sharing such a personal story on air?
It’s always, always worth discussing these sorts of subjects and talking about them because that’s how things get better. It’s like the amount of people that messaged me since that episode of me talking about my connection with my twin and having that kind of relationship with your dad, going like “I understand. Like I feel, I know what you mean, I’m going through the same things.”
It is good because then they can message me, like I mentioned, and then I can message them and we can discuss this and help each other get through, I guess. It is a quite traumatic thing for a child anyway to go through, you know?
Do you think your time on Drag Race UK helped you grow as a performer?
Yeah, of course. I mean, as a performer, I guess not 110% because we’ve not been performing. But as for like disagreements or like knowing myself a little bit more and like understanding the sort of talents I have. I mean my self esteem has really been good since watching it back, cause I go “Okay, you should be more sure of yourself here.”
It definitely helped me a lot of ways that I would expect it to. Especially with the COVID situation & the pandemic right in the middle of it, it just really just like gave me all that time to think about who I really am and find my place and where I fit myself into this world and just sort of like to keep it chill a bit more.
What’s next for Ellie Diamond? Where can the fans find you?
I mean we just had a UK tour announced with the top four. So that’s amazing. It’s gonna be a twenty-seven day tour all over the UK, which is fabulous. Then like I’m sure there’s going to be a million things that come out in the woodwork as time goes by. It’s just sort of getting those doors open, getting those opportunities. And like you’re just trying to find the right path to take. You can either go down the yellow brick road, or the red one. The red one might look similar but you never know what you’re gonna get, so you just have to see what happens. I just try to do everything for fun.
You can catch up on all of Drag Race UK season two on BBC iPlayer now in the UK, or on WOWPresents Plus in the U.S. and other select territories.