Drag Race UK 5’s northern queens on what it means to represent ‘up north’ on TV
‘I’m the fashionable northern chip shop woman’
For season five of Drag Race UK, the northern queens have shown UP. The show has had some critique over the last few seasons that a lot of the queens were based in London. Even the northern queens the show had cast were not always repping their hometown drag scene and were based in the capital. This year, the north dominates. Six out of 10 queens in the cast of Drag Race UK season five are northern – so I caught up with them all to find out what it means to them to rep us northerners in a country feeling increasingly London centric.
“You know, it’s actually lovely having Michael, Tomara, Ginger, Naomi and Kate from the north and up and down the country. I think that our drag is usually inspired by northern women, and northern women are brassy – the funniest people you’ll ever meet. All you have to do is go to a northern chip shop and you’ve had a laugh for the day. That’s where our drag is inspired from, especially my own. I’m the fashionable northern chip woman!
“It’s so nice having the other girls there who can understand the humour, who can relate to different points of view. It was nice not having to fall into a London accent the moment you walked in.”
“Michael [Marouli], Tomara [Thomas] and I are all from actually really quite close to each other up in the north east. We didn’t know each other at all before we came here, but certainly for me just hearing the accent in the room was so comforting because you’re away from everything, your support system. All the people you love, your friends, your cats, the things that make you feel like a human.
“Just having those voices in the room is really important to me. There are a few really special moments between the three of us in the series that happened because of that northern bond.”
“It means the world to me. Coming from the north east, from Newcastle for me personally, you know it’s a working class town. There were not many opportunities so just to see the representation was incredible. Everyone’s story, what they’ve done to better their life and the struggle – I just think it’s amazing. We’ve finally got some north east representation!
“I’m so proud as a Geordie. First one from Newcastle to be on the race. We’re really patriotic in Newcastle, we want to see our people do well. I’m so pleased that I’m part of it.”
Miss Naomi Carter
“I think it’s quite special. When the cast rumours were about and the Meet The Queens video came out everyone was like, oh this is London’s Drag Race. But when you watch the videos and you hear everyone speak it is quite a lot of northern representation compared to previous years. I feel honoured to be a part of it. I feel like northern drag doesn’t get appreciated enough. I just love to see it.”
“It’s just really comforting to be around those accents again after spending so long in London. And I would like to point out that Buxton IS in the north west. I know a lot of Derbyshire is in the Midlands, but I identify as being in the north west. I think northerners, we’re rough and ready. We’re up for a laugh. Not that southerners aren’t, but we have lot less of a filter.”
“It was so good because sometimes southerners don’t really get our banter. I was thinking with Ru, he’s not gonna have a clue what I’m gonna be saying. We’ve only seen Choriza May from Newcastle and that was it, but then obviously with our cast we’ve got three north east queens so I knew we’d have a good old time.”
See all of these northern queens when Drag Race UK season five starts tonight on BBC Three and iPlayer. For all the latest reality TV and entertainment news and gossip, like Pop Culture Shrine on Facebook.
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