Bianca Del Rio: ‘I would gladly do my comedy without drag’

The foul-mouthed drag queen comic, and winner of the six season of RuPauls Drag Race, on touring the world with her Rolodex of Hate

Hi, Bianca! So where the hell are you?

I am actually in New York City, down on 16th Street. Ive been here for two days. Im just schlepping from one place to another, interviewing and talking about myself.

This years been quite the whirlwind for you (1). You keep popping up everywhere!

It truly has. Actually, these last few months, Ive had a couple more days here and there when I stay in the city a day longer, or stay in Los Angeles for three days in a row. That actually makes it worse because you kind of get accustomed to everything, and then you have to leave again. Getting back to that grind is somewhat difficult. All these girls usually complain about, I need time off, and for me its not good because then it throws me off completely.

Actually February, it might be two years that Ive been traveling as much as I have, which is kind of nuts. Ive also been one of those people that have said yes to every gay thing that comes my way. Ive had some great gigs and had horrible ones. I always look at the horrible ones, and think theres got to be something in this that I can use later in my show. It all pays off in the end.

Does Bianca even bother with a personal life at this point?

I have my dogs, I have my friends, but as far as relationships go, its a little difficult when youre on the road as much as I am. Its not a bad thing. You also got to be somewhat careful with the people that you meet on the road. You dont know if they really like you or if they just want to borrow your dress.

Speaking of dresses, how many suitcases do you typically travel with?

Usually four. There will be one that is my actual drag clothes and shoes. One of them is my makeup and my jewelry and my wigs and that kind of stuff. Then usually the other two are merchandise, and then I use a pretty large carry-on for my boy stuff, depending on how long Im out.

No wig boxes?

No! I assemble my hair on my head. I started out with wigs years ago when I was younger. Ive always done wigs. For me, its part of the process. I dont carry around wigs on sticks. I put my hair together every night, and then I just mantle it every night because its just the best way to travel.

You drink a lot in your show. Are you actually swigging liquor, or do queens tend to fake it onstage?

Its no act, its real. I know some people that do pop drink and stuff like that because they cant handle it. For me, when I started working at bars, I would drink. Im used to drinking.

Its very Dean Martin of me.

Youre so polite on the phone not the Bianca I was expecting.

Well, catch me after a couple of drinks. The world is just a little too fucking serious. I take pictures with fans, and I always show up on time dispel all those drag queen myths of being late and all that madness of not showing up. When it comes to the stage, I just let it rip and let it happen because I know somewhere, somebody else is tanking it.

I dont really do it so much in real life; it might just work through my advantage at the DMV or something.

Variety recently singled you out as a comic to watch out for in 2015 and not as a drag performer. Do you consider yourself a comic first and foremost?

For me, call me what you want, as long as Im working. Ive been all of those things. I dont really know about a title, but the interesting thing with drag, particularly when it comes to comedy, I dont do any funny dressing up. Ive made it a point with this show to make it more about stand-up comedy and less about drag. I didnt want to do costume changes. I didnt want any music. I didnt want any of that, because I didnt want people who may not know me outside of the Drag Race bubble see me as, Oh a drag show. Ive done those things. I would gladly do my comedy without drag. I wouldnt be opposed to it.

Do you think you could be as lacerating, the way Bianca is, without the full regalia?

I think yes and no. There are friends of mine that Ive known for years who didnt like my brand of humor, but once I was on Drag Race, they loved it. Really, I dont know. I wouldnt know until I tried it. Seeing you as a person can either help or harm you. Its definitely something worth experimenting with.

Youre known for your comedy, not your lip-synching abilities. Do you think not wanting to have to lip-synch helped you win the Drag Race crown (2)?

This is the thing: A lot of queens basically say that Biancas not even a really drag queen because she doesnt lip-synch. Im like, What a fucking idiot. Isnt that the point of the fucking show? Which is not to lip-synch because that means youre in the bottom? No, I didnt want to lip-synch. If I had to, I could, because I learned every song. But thats not the point of the show, stupid.

Every season, its the pageant queens v the comedy ones. Do you think that battle has run its course on the show?

I dont know their intention. You got to remember when we go in, we dont know the information. I dont know everything. They dont give a file on each person. We meet everybody when we actually meet them when we first come in the room. It just becomes what it is. Im not privy to any of that information, but its not as fascinating to watch. Either young versus old or comedy queen when theyre ugly.

The people that spend all this time and energy making these audition tapes, when they get on the show and then they go, What? I got to do this? Its silly. Realize thats the show! You know the structure of it, so be prepared. Do the best that you can in those elements.

What was RuPauls reaction to seeing the Rolodex of Hate show?

I dont know if she has seen it.

What?

Shes doing 40 different shows on TV right now.

True.

Any time Ive seen her, shes always been very supportive and shes always proud of me. I thank her immensely for this opportunity. TVs a pretty powerful thing. I recently did a podcast with her and shes obviously generous and laughed. Getting a compliment out of her is not that easy.

If she comes, Ill give her free tickets. Ill hook her up. Its the least I could do.

Footnotes:

(1) For more than a year now, Del Rio has been touring her comedy show, Rolodex of Hate, to cities worldwide. A taping of her show in Austin, Texas, is now available to watch exclusively on Vimeo.

(2) Del Rio won the sixth season of Logo TVs popular drag queen contest series, RuPauls Drag Race. Every episode, one queen is eliminated following a lip-synch for your life battle.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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