‘In one word? Adrenaline’: Drag Race UK top four look back on their iconic season
‘We’ve given fans the season of the sister’
Happy Drag Race UK season four final week to all those who celebrate! Jonbers Blonde, Danny Beard, Cheddar Gorgeous and Black Peppa are all vying to snatch that crown – and with mere days to go, I jumped on a Zoom call with this stellar group of finalists to discuss how they felt about the season and how ready they are for the finale. I was fangirling hard, as you can imagine. The vibes were immaculate.
Hello top four! So great to speak to you all, what a season! Can you put into words how it feels watching back your journey so far and with the Drag Race UK final this week?
Jonbers: It’s an explosion of emotions.
Cheddar: I’m excited. I just want to know now! I want to know what happens next, give us the episode!
Danny: Honestly, this journey’s been incredible. I don’t think there could be a better top four. We all represent something completely different in drag. We all come from slightly different communities, but we all want the same thing – which is to entertain people. Give them a good time. It’s escapism, it’s escapism for us, it’s escapism for our audience. This experience has been the best of my life so far, and I couldn’t say anything other than fucking amazing.
Peppa: For me, it’s just been adrenaline, adrenaline, adrenaline. If I could put it into one word. I felt it there, I felt it watching it back and I feel it going into the finale. This season has been such a diverse and talented set of girls, and may the best girl win!
What was the moment for each of you where you thought, ‘you know what? I’m actually gonna make that Drag Race UK final – I’m there?
Danny: I felt that Rusical week everyone was so strong, we all came together, it was the week I thought THIS is a strong cast. For me to do well this week against all these sick bitches, I think I could go all the way. That week really lit a fire up my punani to do some real hard work.
Jonbers: I’ll blow smoke up that punani as well and will concur and say that Rusical made everyone around us think it was an equilibrium here, everyone is perfection. There wasn’t one word said wrong, there wasn’t one look that was off. Everyone brought their A game. It was poignant it was episode five, because to get midway through and wow.
Peppa: I think my point where I thought I might get into top four was episode one! I was looking around, looking what anyone carried. I can be very quiet, but I observe a lot. I’m always watching. And I saw Danny Beard in the top, I saw Cheddar there. There was a few girls I thought was going to be there who aren’t, but when we got to the Rusical I clocked and thought Jonbers and Danny – watch out for them.
Jonbers: We know that the true story behind The Watcher on Netflix was actually Black Peppa.
Cheddar: I think I was irritating right up until the end. I was always like “Oh, I probably think I’m going home this week.” I don’t know when I was like YES, but at episode six in Snatch Game I remember taking the decision with myself and deciding to really take part and give it my all.
How are you guys all feeling about the final edit? Were there any conversations you had that didn’t make it to air?
Jonbers: I just want to say it doesn’t matter. Everyone can say blame it on the edit, but at the end of the day, it’s a television show. And at the heart of it are 12 people that love each other. There are a lot of things that you don’t see. The moments you don’t see are the positive moments of people pushing each other one, encouraging each other.
It really was a season of so much love you didn’t see. Going into this top four, it’s such a season of the sister. We all love each other so much.
Danny: I always say it would be so interesting to make a full spin off of the bus ride home, or the green room on lunch. It’s our time when we’re not on camera and the only times where we aren’t being recorded. So many times on the bus home people are spinning out and we all manage to help each other and pull each other back. Everyone had moments of spin out and everyone had moments of confidence.
I know it doesn’t make good telly, but we really are RuPaul’s Best Friend Race.
Cheddar: I think you don’t get to see all of the work. I don’t just mean our work, but you don’t get to see the work of the entire process going on around us. What was nice is that with the family resemblance episode we got to expose a bit of what was going on behind the scenes, but there’s so so much more that the viewer doesn’t get to take on. But maybe that’s part of the magic.
Peppa: There’s a lot you don’t see. From me, week one, running straight into it being Blobby painting my face pink and then running to the toilet to wash it off and get into a normal look. Different things like that, having the queen team glueing on my nail just the very second I’m running onto that runway. These things you just don’t see.
The amount of support I’ve gotten from these girls here in particular, when you don’t have connection to your family or back home you really depend on your sisters. That’s something I’ll always cherish.
Danny: And Peppa was always last to the stage. Make sure that makes it to the publications!
Watching the show back, what moments are you all most proud of and what has the fan reaction been like?
Jonbers: Oh don’t talk to me about fan reaction. Not the fan reaction! Let me tell you about the fan reaction bay-bee! No in all honesty, the fans are the fifth judge. There’s a lot of toxicity and things that get said, but at the end of the day it’s because of our shared love of Drag Race. You just have to go with the rollercoaster ride.
When you’re there you forget that, because you’re not seatbelted in. When you’re with your friends watching the episodes, that’s when the rollercoaster begins. Sometimes it’s a bit rough and sometimes it’s fine. Sometimes the fans are wrong, sometimes they should be silent. At the end of the day, everyone’s allowed to say what they want. What can you do?
Danny: I’ve really enjoyed actually being able to sit back and watch it. Obviously experiencing it is one thing, when you’re in confessionals it’s your individual experience. To sit back and get to watch everyone’s experiences get put together it’s just nice to know that we’ve been able to tell stories, educate, entertain and tick all these boxes and be there for the queer kids growing up now that have got something like this to look up to.
I never had anything like this. I used to sneak into my bedroom late at night and watch Queer As Folk and pray that one day I’d live in Manchester and a man would take me up to his apartment and lick my bumhole. So I love that we can be silly, we can be crude and we can be all those things and most of all be fabulous.
Cheddar: Drag’s the Trojan horse. That’s the way I like to think of it. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, it’s visually stimulating. People want to engage with it, and it can convey really important messages and meanings. And that’s what the show does really well, whether it’s through confessionals, the mirror chats we have or what we’re putting on the runway.
And what I really, really love is the way the fans have riffed off that, because it’s what the fans really love to see – when we give the fans something more. We’ve given them the season of the sister, and I think fans have really buzzed off that.
See all the final four in the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Series 4 airs on Thursday 24th November at 9pm on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.
Special thanks to Jasmine Aloma at the BBC.
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