One of the biggest stars to have come out of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ is none other than Bianca Del Rio, real name Roy Haylock.
With over 100 queens, three inductees in the hall of fame and 10 queens being crowned as America’s next drag superstar, ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ has not only brought queer entertainment into the mainstream but has launched careers for drag queens on an international platform.
An early fan favourite on season six, Del Rio produced iconic catchphrases such as “Not today Satan, not today”, “Really Queen?” and one of the best snatch game performances with her imitation of Judge Judy.
Also, she was the one to call out other queens for being inauthentic, which resulted in the legendary “I feel very attacked” moment in Untucked, the RuPaul’s Drag Race aftershow, by Laganja Estranja.
And while RuPaul’s Drag Race is a great platform, it takes creativity, uniqueness, nerve and talent to have a fruitful career after the show.
Having toured her stand-up comedy shows since she won in 2014, Del Rio starred in two movies, Hurricane Bianca and Hurricane Bianca 2: From Russia with Hate, and published her book Blame It On Bianca Del Rio. The “Joan Rivers of drag” has been able to take her 15 minutes of fame and stretch it to an international career.
Speaking on one of the biggest changes since winning one of the best seasons of Drag Race, Del Rio says: “My entire life has changed. Television is a very powerful platform. I knew the show was popular among the gays in the US, but I had no idea how many fans the show has all over the world and how many straight people are fans. I’m beyond grateful for the doors it has opened for me. Let’s face it, if it wasn’t for Drag Race, you wouldn’t be interviewing me right now.”
While Del Rio is known for being a prominent drag figure in New York, the Drag Race winner got her start in Louisiana, New Orleans. “I was living in New Orleans and working, doing five nights a week for 10 years in a bar, and doing costumes and wigs and stuff there for the opera and the ballet.
And then the hurricane hit, and we weren’t allowed back into the city at the time. So I visited some friends in Atlanta, and I had a friend in New York who said, “Why don’t you come up here and kill some time and figure things out?” So I came to New York, and I decided if I could get an apartment and a job, I’d stay. And I did, and that was it.”
And with Del Rio heading to South Africa with her stand-up comedy show, Blame It On Bianca Del Rio, she becomes the first winner from the show to headline a show in two major cities in South Africa.
Speaking on her new book Blame It On Bianca, Del Rio said she didn’t want to do a book about her life. So she opted for a book where she gives advice. Fans submitted questions and Del Rio answered them in her no-holds-barred fashion.
And while Del Rio has been travelling the world, season 10 of the Emmy Award-winning show recently finished airing in the US. A very important issue has been highlighted by the Chicago-based contestant, The Vixen, whereby she addressed racial optics and racism within both Drag Race and the show’s fans.
As a drag queen of colour, Del Rio, for the most, has not experienced racism directly, but she is well aware of some of the discriminatory things that occurred to her black Drag Race sisters. Speaking to Pink News, the Hurricane Bianca star said: “I haven’t experienced situations like that, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And each person has a different experience. I mean, I make jokes at everyone’s expense and some people will say, ‘I think that’s racist,’ or, ‘You can’t say that you can’t do this,’ because we live in a world now where everybody’s discussing the PC police, you know: this is right, this is wrong.
“But as far as racism for me, in particular, I haven’t experienced it; I haven’t got that type of hate mail. But if I did, I wouldn’t entertain it because 99% of the stuff people write or type, they would never say to your face.
So why should I be concerned with someone I’m never going to meet? Someone I wouldn’t * **s on if they were on fire? So I don’t bother.”
* Bianca Del Rio is set to take the stage at the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town on August 10 and Teatro At Montecasino in Johannesburg on August 11.