Kate Butch on conspiracy theory Drag Race UK wanted rid of her before the comedy roast
‘You have to take what you do seriously, but don’t be serious about it’
Ouch, this one hurts. After an amazing season of proving any naysayer wrong, the Buxton charmer Kate Butch got the dreaded “sashay away” dismissal on last night’s Drag Race UK season five. She won our hearts, she won a badge, but she did not win the makeover challenge – but not everyone is happy about that. Was it riggamorris? Was she robbed? I sat down with Kate Butch to get into everything Drag Race UK season five as we say goodbye to the funniest queen of the season.
Kate, hello. I’m devastated. Congrats on an amazing season. How are you feeling after watching it all back?
I’m feeling good. It was a nice way to go out. I didn’t embarrass myself, I didn’t completely flop. To go out on such a lovely episode celebrating Switchboard, I couldn’t have asked for a better run on the show.
I dunno if everyone agrees it was your time – everyone is split on the judging. How are you finding all the love from the fans on socials?
People have been so kind about me. I will say people have not been so kind about DeDe, which I do not stand for. People need to learn how to uplift someone without dragging someone else down. But no, lovely. The fact that people related to me and wanted more from me is nice and I just couldn’t have asked for more.
Everyone who watches Drag Race, Kate Butch, knows that the makeover episode is one that has the most questionable judging and I want to know how it feels going home on an episode so notorious. Is it relieving or frustrating?
A bit of both. I think the criteria for what they’re looking for is a lot harder to discern. Sometimes people win for wearing identical outfits, but then someone like Crystal Methyd did really well doing Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street and they’re not biologically related. It’s always a difficult episode to get to grips with. I did think maybe because it was for charity they might give us a reprise and a little double shantay, but it is what it is. I’m really happy with the storyline and the message behind it that we presented.
Every time you got positive feedback on Drag Race you always seemed a bit taken aback – Kate Butch, was that the case?
I knew going in what my strengths were. I didn’t want to appear too cocky and confident so when I got told that I was funny and my jokes were good, I was like, well yes! That’s what I do, but I don’t want to look like an absolute bastard. I’m good at seeing a big picture and I could see why the judges were critiquing me on certain things. The critiques were fair the whole series, generally.
I feel like out of all the eliminated queens so far, you’ve stayed out of drama the most. You didn’t really have any Werk Room fights. Was that easy for you to do?
Every shady thing that I would do was with a wink and a smile, it’s funny, it’s silly, it’s drag. I’m happy to not be a conflict-y person. I’m happy to sit back and watch it and comment on it from afar.
When you got to Drag Race and saw all the queens in the room, did you think you’d make it to top five? That’s such an achievement, and you’ve placed higher than some big name legends!
I walked in and I saw everyone and their outfits and learned how much they spent, and I thought: Just make it through the first week. And then no one went home. So I thought right, make it through the second week and don’t be the first to go. I have what I have outfit wise, but what I have personality wise is something not everybody has and can’t be bought for quite a lot of money. I took every day as it came. No plan, no strategy, resigned to the fact I wasn’t going to win but just to see how far I could get.
I think it’s quite refreshing to see someone unburdened by the desire and hunger to win. Just there to have fun and be silly, which I think we could all do more of in this day and age.
At what point did you know or think you weren’t going to win?
I worked out that the challenge after the makeover would be some kind of standup or roast thing. I knew if I got onto that I’d do quite well and then I’d be in the final three, and that kind of didn’t make sense given the trajectory I’d had. It’s not my time to be in the final three, so make sense that I go home now. I knew it wasn’t my time because… I didn’t spend any money on the outfits! I’ll do another series where there’s prise money and I might spend a bit. I’m the only queen not in debt!
You also seem like the only queen of the season who never really gets in her head or has doubts or listens to the inner saboteur. What’s your secret to keeping that level headspace?
I’m best friends with my inner saboteur. Michael Marouli said this to me, “don’t think about what the next challenge is, don’t think about how you’re coming across.” It’s difficult to let that go because there are hundreds of cameras pointed at you. You have to take what you do seriously but don’t be serious about it. Some people get it right, some don’t. It’s wild.
I think the stakes are different for a lot of people. Cara has been known as a legend of London drag and has all those people supporting her from before Drag Race. A lot of people spent a lot of money and were focussed on making sure their outfits made it into every episode. I had none of that. No one knew who I was before Drag Race. I was just having a nice time.
You also just had such a great rapport with the judging panel. You spoke and joked with Ru and Michelle like they were just audience members at the Kate Butch show. Does that come naturally to you?
I found it easy to do. We’re all human beings. We all go to the toilet, we all wash our hands, just Ru and Michelle went to nicer toilets than we did. I did put in my mind that that’s not RuPaul, that’s my mum’s friend Ruth Pauline. We’re just having a catch up, we’re having fun. The moment that I made her laugh for the first time I was like, a-ha! That’s your favourite thing to do. You do so many Drag Race franchises and a little moment of joy is what you want, and I can give you that. I can do that.
How hard actually is it to make Ru laugh?
Not that hard. If you’ve got a good sense of humour! Ru loves a reference. She’s just a playful and fun personality in a statuesque package. I had no issues or qualms making her laugh.
Just a final note on this season: This whole cast has killed it. There have been so many episodes where it feels like there wasn’t even a bottom two. Did it feel like that when you were there?
Absolutely. There would be times in Untucked where we would genuinely have no idea. It was splitting hairs a lot of the time. Disaster Class… less so! But yeah, we just thought we should have an All Stars 7 situation with no eliminations. It’s a great cast. We all have our own strengths, there’s no filler queens. I think each and every one of us could and should be on a future season because I think we’re great. I love us.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Series 5 continues every Thursday at 9pm on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. For all the latest reality TV and entertainment news like Pop Culture Shrine on Facebook.
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