‘I couldn’t be happier’: We spoke to Choriza May about her time on the Drag Race España panel
‘Hopefully RuPaul will see now that queens make great guest judges’
Two weeks ago, I got an exciting notification on Instagram. Choriza May had sent me a voice note, and that was always something to be excited about. The voice note told me that she was going to make history as a guest judge on Drag Race España – becoming the first contestant that isn’t a winner in the franchise to ever do so in a non-host capacity. I was overjoyed for Choriza because I knew how much this meant to her and how it could now signal a shift in the bizarre lack of competitors returning to guest judge. I jumped on a Zoom with Choriza May to discuss what it was like for her to have the honour of guest judging and to discuss exactly what is making season two of Drag Race España so special.
‘Drag queens make great judges because we are the experts in the field’
Hello Choriza my darling!
Hi! Good to see you.
Likewise! Are you in the UK right now?
Yeah, I’m touring with panto at the moment.
Yes! I’ve seen the pictures, I thought it was random that they’re doing panto in spring?
I blame climate change.
I watched your episode of Drag Race España last night – Choriza May, in your eyes, what makes a great judge?
I think someone in the arts world. If you’re an actor and you’re judging an acting challenge then that’s great, you don’t need to be a drag queen to do that. If it’s singing or the girl band challenge and they’ve got a Spice Girl on then they have that insight. I think drag queens make great judges because we are the experts in the field. There should definitely be more drag queens judging. On Drag Race España they always get great people in. It’s not just enough to be gay to be a guest judge.
What was it like going from competing to judging? And how long was the turn around between filming Drag Race UK season three and your España judging episode, because it can’t have been long, right?
No, not long at all. We filmed Drag Race España as just UK Meet The Queens had aired. It was crazy. I was just a local queen performing in Newcastle, announced I was on Drag Race and then got the call to guest judge. I always had this big debate on whether I should do Drag Race UK or should I do Drag Race España and somehow I feel like I’ve achieved both. I couldn’t be happier.
Did you know any of the queens in the cast beforehand?
Yeah, most of them. The only two I wasn’t familiar with were Juriji and Marina. I knew all of the rest, not personally but from Instagram. Ariel Rec and I are quite close friends, she was in my music video for My Pussy Is Like A Peach.
‘The team were so amazing – something I haven’t told anyone yet is that they gave me a tiara!’
It was so nice seeing how much love the queens had for you when you came into Untucked – how did it feel having such a talented cast looking up to you?
You know what, it was great. I only got to watch the episode last night. To see their reaction, to see Estrella singing my song and seeing them so excited. It was amazing to see the support. I live in the UK and work mostly here, but to know they have my back there was incredible. And the team? The team were amazing – in fact, something I haven’t told anyone yet is that they gave me a little tiara crown. I was like, “Finally!”
I also got to meet all the eliminated queens, to surprise them. My message to them was what RuPaul says, “Losing is the new winning.” I came sixth and look at me now; guest judging on Drag Race España. Put in the work and it shows. I was so scared after my season that I wouldn’t get enough work like I wanted because I didn’t make it to the top three and yet it’s been great for me. I have nonstop work until next year. It was great to see them. It was just overall such a wholesome experience.
Choriza May, this season is seeing so much acclaim from the fandom, what do you think it is about this season and Drag Race España as a whole that’s making it work so well and resonate with so many?
How genuine everyone is. Not that the other seasons aren’t, I just think Spain goes full on with the emotion. Everyone is so emotional in different ways. No one is afraid to speak up, and they’re not scared of the fandom. These girls don’t give a heck, they were reading themselves from the get go. Because Spain has such a rich culture that gets overlooked, I think the most beautiful thing about it is people are getting to discover parts of Spain that aren’t just paella and aioli. In Spain, there are many things we are not proud of but many things that we are – and they’re being showcased to perfection.
Why do you think Ru is so reluctant to let queens come on the judging panel on the other franchises?
Well, I’ve got to say this carefully. I think in America and the UK there are a lot of queer icons, so there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to guest judges. For some reason, queens are at the bottom of that list. Maybe they see us as contestants and they want to make this differentiation that RuPaul is *thee* queen of drag and then there’s the rest, and I think RuPaul wants to keep that hierarchy for the whole franchise. But that’s not something that’s happening in Spain for one reason.
Supremme has worked with most of these queens. Supremme sees these queens as her equals. Supremme and Sharonne have worked together for so long and love and respect each other. I don’t think there’s that big gap between the main drag queen figure and the rest of the queens in Spain. The lines blur a little more – and that’s why drag queens guest judging is allowed there. Hopefully, RuPaul will realise we make great judges and make great TV.
What was the process like for you on the panel? Did you agree with all the decisions made on the episode?
One of the things I left with was just how genuine the process was. Everyone’s always saying “Oh it was scripted, it was scripted for me to go home that episode.” But Drag Race España was such a genuine process – I left so happy to see how much the judges cared. Supremme was crying at the end of the episode.
That really comes across as a viewer, so it’s so good to hear from your side that it’s genuinely the case. It really does feel so authentic.
They’re there for a good time and they don’t want to see anyone do bad. I approached it the same way I approached Fashion Photo Ruview, because I’ve been through the process I know how it feels to get critiqued. I wanted to be constructive, because I think sometimes the critiques are brutal and it can be heartbreaking. It was quite an exhausting process because I had to judge 21 looks and had to make little jokes for every runway – there’s no one writing them for us! My brain was FRIED by the end of the day.
I thought I was going to be really nervous to be behind the panel, but I wasn’t. It was fun. It was a really good process.
‘If I’m honest, the vibes on the set for Drag Race España were a lot more relaxed than UK’
What were the vibes like on set for España compared to Drag Race UK?
It was a lot more relaxed, if I’m honest. It just felt a lot more chill. I think it goes with the Spanish personality, to be honest. They were all just having a good time. Everyone was happy. On my season, maybe some people didn’t have the best time. And that saddened me, I wanted to give them some of the fun that I was having but sometimes that’s difficult. Seeing my friends having a great time representing our country was joyful.
You’ve been so involved with this season with you doing Fashion Photo Ruview – how has that been for you? I love hearing your insights into Spanish culture when you dissect the runways!
You know what, when they offered I actually took a couple of days to get back to them. I think some of the hosts of Fashion Photo Ruview need a bit of perspective, because some of the critiques are brutal and unnecessary because these girls do what they can with very limited budget and time – sometimes what we’re presenting is not our best and we are very aware of that. I didn’t want to hurt any feelings. I decided that it would be positive for someone like me who gets the culture to critique from that angle, and be shady in a fun way that the girls would understand.
Working with Alexis, we just clicked right away. We really get on and really respect each other. It’s an honour, she’s an icon.
Love Alexis, she’s an icon.
She is an icon – she’s done well on every season she has been on. There’s been a very small percentage of fans that have said why are these queens judging fashion because they’re not fashion queens. Define fashion when it comes to drag?
Also – you literally *are* a fashion queen. You bring the looks and know exactly what you’re talking about!
There are two types of fans. There’s one that I respect, and one that exists. One just listens to the critiques on the show and runs with it, and there’s another that has their own opinion and thinks more deeply and I really respect that. There’s also this perception that if you’re not skinny, you’re not a fashion queen. Well, fuck that.
Completely agree. Do you think after your appearance we’re going to see more queens guest judge?
I really hope so. We’re experts. There’s no one better than us.
You’ve been so busy this year – touring, music, what’s next?
There’s more music coming! I just received the demo three days ago and it’s absolutely amazing. There’s more collaborations coming, a lot more touring – UK season three tour is coming up in September which is going to be iconic. More online content and more stupid TikToks.
And finally, Choriza May, why wasn’t My Pussy Is Like A Peach the Drag Race España lip sync song on your episode may I ask?
Catch Choriza May on season two of Drag Race España on the streamer of all things drag, WOW Presents Plus. For all the latest Drag Race memes and Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.
Featured image courtesy of World of Wonder.
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