Drag Race UK season four queens

We spoke to every queen from Drag Race UK season four before tomorrow’s premiere

‘When I say this is a good season, there has *never* been a cast like this’

I am on a Zoom call with the entire cast of Drag Race UK season four, and the tension is palpable. I know instantly that we’re in for one of the greatest seasons of Drag Race ever – across the entire global franchise. How do I know this, I hear you cry. Because I can feel it radiating off this cast. They are brimming on the edge of their NDAs to spill how iconic this season is. They are gasping to tell us every detail of how much they kill it – and speaking with the queens of Drag Race UK season four had me in awe.

Here’s what they had to say for themselves.

Just May and Pixie Polite

A common theme throughout these chats is how good RuPaul smells. Pixie said “It was one of those things where even though you’re seeing Ru in front of you in real life, it still sort of feels like you’re watching television. I had to slap myself mentally to realise she was right there in front of me in sniffing distance.” May jumps in with “And she smells lovely,” with Pixie hurriedly agreeing.

“The show does such a good job of humanising LGBTQ+ people and bringing our lives and stories into the living rooms of people who probably wouldn’t ever have encountered us in the real world. The show has magical way of crossing boundaries and divides – whether that’s with straight people or between different cultural communities.” Says Pixie Polite.

“We’re experiencing a lot more hatred towards the queer community, trans community in particular. Drag queens are getting a lot of flack and because of that it’s more important than ever to be visible.”

I asked the two what they were most excited for people to see them do on the show. Just May says “I’m most excited for people to see me do versatility, I’m more than just Geri!” Pixie said “I’m excited for the public to see everything, because not only does this show showcase a lot of talent, or lack of in the case of some queens, it also really shows the human side of who we are and the true effort that goes into drag.

Jonbers Blonde, Starlet and Sminty Drop

I am not being dramatic when I say these three queens look like winners. And they had a LOT to say. When asked on the biggest challenge when it came to competing, they got right into it. Jonbers said “Getting ready for it! Choosing what you’re gonna bring. Honing in on specific ideas that it’s done to the point of perfection for the world stage of drag.”

Starlet and Sminty both echoed on how much they overthought it. “I was anticipating based on what the judges have said about past contestants,” said Starlet. Sminty said “For me, I get in my head a lot. Trying to keep myself out of the headspace where it’s like oh GOD, I’m so rubbish. Everyone’s pulling stuff out of their bags and you think yours isn’t good enough. I had to be like, ‘What I’ve got is amazing’. Don’t cloud your judgement of yourself.”

All three queens are HYPED about the fashion this season. “It’s amazing as you’d envision is,” says Jonbers, “The music is thumping!” Sminty says “The fashion this season is literally like you’re watching fashion week.” “When everyone’s backstage and they’re in their looks you just look everyone up and down like ‘THIS IS AMAZING!'” Sminty agrees. “We can all see each other and it’s just like, girls: We’ve done it again!”

As a fellow Mancunian, I asked Sminty what it was like walking into the Werk Room to see Cheddar Gorgeous and Danny Beard – two huge names on the Manc drag scene. “That was so crazy. I’ve known Cheddar and Danny for ages now. We often do different gigs in Manchester but we always see each other and catch up at the end of the night. It was definitely nerve wracking seeing them there, because I know the calibre of drag that they do and how well they’re known in the queer community and as idols of the drag scene.

“Three days before I was supposed to go away to film, I’d heard that both of them were on the show. I was freaking out like, ‘What’s Cheddar gonna do for this, what’s Danny gonna do for that’ having a proper meltdown. It goes back to what I said about not getting in your own head but I’m a hot mess.”

When asked how this season takes things to the next level compared to the previous three, the three queens of Drag Race UK season four had one word on their lips. “FASHION.”

Danny Beard and Le Fil

“I thought that was a bottle of champagne then, girl!” Danny Beard bellowed at me as I opened my bottle of water. Alas it was not bubbly, but it was a cause for celebration to be sat on the Zoom with Danny – who has followed me on social media for a long time and it was great to speak. Danny and Le Fil have great chemistry and the vibes are immediately immaculate.

“I am super excited to watch everything back again,” says Le Fil. “Obviously when we’re on we just see the strengths of everybody. Everyone’s got their own thing going on. We come from so many different points of view, different sections of queer culture, different types of drag. It’s going to be a wild ride.”

Danny said “I know I really pushed myself from what people expect of me and what I delivered. I’m a sassy, shady, singing cartoon clown. My show is balls to the walls and I ram it down the throats. The beautiful thing about Drag Race is that it doesn’t just show us in drag, so you get to see the person behind the persona. Not just for me, but for a lot of the girls – the person behind the persona is often a lot mot more interesting. Even when I look like dug up Liza.”

How does this season kick things up a notch compared to previous? “Well, let’s not mention season three girl!” Danny jokes. “When I say this is a good season, there’s never been a group like this. We’ve got iconic people in the season like Cheddar Gorgeous. She was the first drag queen I ever saw. Dakota, the first trans woman to compete on UK. We can make magic. I’m someone who works on their own, and getting an opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds and we learn from them. Le Fil taught me a lot on a certain challenge, and I can’t say too much but it’s just the best experience.”

Le Fil echoed the sentiment. “We’d just come out of a really difficult global time, and we had this desire to go out and release. Season four was the perfect time to go on there guns blazing and get everything out there that we’d wanted to for so long.”

Cheddar Gorgeous and Copper Topp

Both Cheddar and Copper and quick to say how they’re feeling about their secret casting finally being public knowledge. “It’s been a very strange wait, we filmed it many, many months ago,” Copper says. “I’m very excited to see what happens, because we’ve got no idea! It’s a top dollar cast this season and you’re in for a real treat.”

“I’m really excited to meet all you guys, to sit down with the press. We’ve had this strange thing in our lives that we’re not allowed to talk about, and I struggle with that because I’m a very open person and I like to talk about everything all of the time. It’s nice to finally be able to connect with everybody.”

Copper and Cheddar were asked how they feel about representing the community in the current landscape, where negative press surrounding drag “corrupting our children” swirls through right wing media. Copper says how she comes from a very diverse world of drag queens and is proud to represent everyone’s differences and comedy.

Cheddar mic drops, frankly. “I think it’s a funny idea that we’re representing a wider community because as Copper points out, the drag community is incredibly diverse – both in terms of styles represented and people represented. The idea that you can think of drag as a cohesive singular community is a little bit erroneous. But I tell you what is a wonderful opportunity, to challenge misconceptions of drag.

“Because, ultimately, that’s what those misconceptions are about. They’re lies that have been told about drag. Misconceptions that have been perpetuated for other political and social ends. When you’re able to put yourself out there and show the diversity of what we do, that in itself is a challenge to those other narratives that you see being spun about drag. And don’t be mistaken, that is spin.

Cheddar Gorgeous is a queen I’ve been aware of as long as I have been out as queer, since I was 14. She’s often been touted as a queen most demanded to appear on Drag Race UK, so I asked her why she felt like season four was finally the right time. “I think the show changed a lot. The show became a lot more open in how it embraced drag.

“For me on a personal level, it was an opportunity to get excited about drag again. I’ve been around for a long time, but maintaining that excitement for something as high octane as drag is a difficult thing to do – and if you’re not pushing yourself and finding those challenges, why bother doing something? Drag Race really was that new opportunity for me to challenge myself.

Drag Race UK season four queens

There’s been conversation online from a minority that there’s an over saturation of Drag Race as the franchise goes more global, but these two UK queens from season four are having none of it. Copper says “I don’t understand it – we need more queer content. Drag Race inspires people to find a strength in themselves, and if that spreads globally and makes it more accessible then I think that’s beautiful. The future is bright, and the future is queer.”

“As Copper points out, I think it’s an incredibly anglocentric criticism,” Cheddar says. “The idea that other countries shouldn’t be allowed their own versions of the franchise in their own populations and drag queens to thrive and have this experience that we’re having right now and that it should be limited solely to countries from the English speaking world? I don’t think that’s a good criticism.

“But more importantly than that, I think there are more important things in our world to put your attention to in terms of critique. If you’re someone that’s genuinely worried about the proliferation of Drag Race, I think you should spend a little bit more time watching the news.”

Baby, Black Peppa and Dakota Schiffer

This trio of Drag Race UK season four queens looked so gorgeous on the Zoom call I almost fell off my chair. Baby told us quickly how “Correct” it felt to be going on to Drag Race, and you only need to take one look at how gorgeous she looks to agree with her.

Dakota agrees about the correctness of it all. “Sitting there after everyone walked in, although I was so nervous, I remember sitting there like ‘What a cast.’ It just made so much sense. Correct. I may not have FELT correct, but every other queen there I just thought the cast was stacked. It felt very surreal but just amazing.”

“It felt right.” Says Black Peppa. “I remember before I turned the corner I was like… is that Baby? I was already freaking and obviously when you came in Dakota I was like, okay, this feels wholesome.”

Dakota spoke to us about being the first trans queen to walk into the Drag Race UK Werk Room. “It certainly was such a privilege to represent, because in the UK specifically it’s an really difficult time and climate to be trans right now. To be given that opportunity to represent was overwhelmingly. It felt daunting at times but it motivated me.”

I asked who everyone was most gagged to see when they walked into the Werk Room. Black Peppa is straight in with “Danny Beard and Cheddar Gorgeous.” “I was GAGGED to see Cheddar,” says Baby. “I had no idea at all. Most of us all have similar hair stylists so you can get rough rumours of what’s going on, but Cheddar it was like oh GOD you’re here, because Cheddar is amazing.”

Drag Race UK season four queens

“Different kind of gags!” Says Dakota. “I nearly fell off my stool when Cheddar walked in. It’s funny that us three are all on the Zoom right now because Peppa and Baby were the two queens I knew the most before coming on. So seeing them both there, as much as I was a nervous wreck, I was so happy that I knew people.”

Black Peppa also shared about how Monique Heart helped her prepare for the show, as the Drag Race icon is Peppa’s drag mother. “A lot of people always ask how Monique is my drag mother when we’re long distance. First of all, she’s been so loving – hence her name. We have similar situations in our lives that we’ve been through. She helped me so much when I told her I was on the show.

“I’m so grateful because I always wanted a mother figure because my real family don’t really stay in contact me that much so having that meant the world to me, as does Yshee Black in Birmingham.

Watch the full Meet the Queens for Drag Race UK season four here. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season four and all the queens returns to BBC Three and BBC iPlayer on 22nd September at 9pm.

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