RuPaul’s Drag Race UK unveiled the 12 new queens coming to slay and inevitably sashay away over the course of the competition, including the first ever cisgender woman performer in the history of the extensive Drag Race franchise. Victoria Scone will compete along with Ella Vaday, Scarlett Harlett, Choriza May, Elektra Fence, Krystal Versace, Charity Kase, River Medway, Kitty Scott-Claus, Vanity Milan, Anubis and previously announced competitor Veronica Green.
“It feels right! I definitely didn’t invent the art of drag for women. I am not the first and I certainly won’t be the last... Me being here is political, but you can just have fun with it. That’s why I started. I just wanted to entertain people and that’s what we’re going to do! Drag can just be fun!” Victoria said in a statement. “We don’t describe cis male drag queens as AMAB (assigned male at birth) queens, so, as a handy tip, I’d just call us all drag queens or drag artists, and, if you must know, I identify as a Tony Award!”
In an interview with the BBC, Victoria described her style of drag as “very very camp,” taking inspiration from “old-school” styler of British drag and drag performers such as Danny La Rue, Ceri Dupree, Miss Jason and Son Of A Tutu.
While the status of Drag Queen has been traditionally reserved for gay men, the world of drag has increasingly opened up to include trans, non-binary, and cisgender woman performers over the years. Participating in drag culture is not simply about gay men dressing up as women—it’s a practice in hyper-femininity, fashion, queerness, entertainment, and comedy, while challenging gender norms and patriarchal standards. In a 2020 conversation with Vivian Manning-Schaffel at Shondaland, prominent Drag Race queen Monet X Change welcomed cisgender women into the drag community with open arms.
“Hopefully, we’ll have some [women] on the show soon. I think that women are just discovering, especially in the makeover episodes, if it can allow a man to tap into his femininity and lend himself to the experience, I think bio-women are like, ‘Hey, I can have that same journey and result, too,” X Change said. “When they put on drag, they realize that drag is not just something for men. It’s something anyone can use to kind of transform and tap into something within themselves.”
In the same interview, another queen by the name of Peppermint—the first openly transgender queen to participate in Drag Race—said that women’s involvement in drag has always existed, and it only makes sense they would eventually want to try it themselves. “I remember working at Lips (a New York City drag-themed restaurant) and women were our main clientele,” Peppermint said. “If most of your audience, and most of the consumers, and most of the people showing up to purchase your album, and who are tuning in to see your show, or flying across the country to go to Drag Con and get your autograph are women, eventually, they’re going to start emulating the people they admire.”
“To do drag requires a willingness, or even a desire, to challenge gender norms, challenge the patriarchy, look like a fool in a dress and a wig, potentially fail, and embrace the LGBT community,” Peppermint explained. “Every celebrity is not made to do all those things. There’s only a few who can and I think most of those people are women.”
However, RuPaul’s Drag Race as gone through growing pains to get where it is now. In 2018, RuPaul Charles said in an immensely contentious interview that he would “probably not” bring a transgender woman on the show who had transitioned.
For Victoria, she believes drag is for everyone, and she’s not alone. “To gate-keep who performs drag seems so backwards to me. As queer people, we are oppressed and marginalized, so why would we continue to do that within our own community? People often don’t even consider the fact that I—as a woman in drag—could be a queer woman,” Victoria said. “There are just not enough queer women in the public eye, in my opinion, so I’m here to be ‘celesbian’—a celebrity lesbian!”
As RuPaul himself says, “You’re born naked and the rest is drag.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 3 premieres this fall on WOW Presents Plus and BBC iPlayer.