This weekend, we headed to Dragworld London – Europe’s largest drag convention – to meet and chat to some of our favourite queens that have emerged from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Keep reading to discover which important and inspiring life lessons we learnt from nine of the best drag artists in the game, including legendary queen Latrice Royale, current reigning All Star Trinity The Tuck and internationally-acclaimed Britney impersonator Derrick Barry…
Why are you excited to be in London this weekend for Dragworld?
Tatianna: I’m excited to be in London anytime, it’s one of my favourite cities. I got to do Dragworld for the first time last year and just had so much fun, so I was super excited when they asked me to come back. I love just getting to meet everyone, not just the fans, but also the different vendors and queens. The fans are so polite here and everything runs so smoothly. I’m down to hug everyone, but everyone is so polite over here and asks ‘may I hug you’ – that’s what I’m here for!
Shea Coulée: I just love this city. London was the first place I came to internationally from the US when I was like 19 and did a trip with some friends. The first gay bar that I went to was here actually, because in the US you have to be 21 to go to a bar. I’m so happy to be back, because I’ve made so many amazing friends in my travels here.
Derrick Barry: I mean, I am here with Drag Race winners like Trixie Mattel, Jinkx Monsoon, Alaska and Violet Chachki. That’s amazing to be a part of. They’re so globally known and they’re a phenomenon. I just made top five so I’m happy that I’m here. It’s just amazing to be included and celebrated for what I do as well.
Latrice Royale: First of all, drag is everything to me. To be a part of such a tremendous event that showcases equality and inclusivity is amazing. There are so many little babies here and it just melts my heart to see young kids finding their inner diva through drag. That’s just fabulous.
Nebraska: I’m having the best time, everyone just has really positive amazing energy. Everybody here is a fan of drag and it’s good to be around our people. London is very special to me, I’ve met some really incredible people here through performing in drag. One of the girls that I’ve met before actually got my face tattooed and she’s here today. It’s cool that I’m building this rapport with people and get to see them every time I come back.
Dusty Ray Bottoms: I’m excited to be in London because we’re here at Dragworld. It’s a great way for thousands of people to get together and celebrate drag – and most importantly to celebrate each other.
Ginger Minj: I’m always just excited to be in London. London is my home away from home and I’ve spent so much time here. I would live here if I could. I know you guys have your own issues, but we have so much going on in America that I’m happy just to leave that at the border and come over here and really reconnect with the people I’ve met here. Every single person that I have met at Dragworld has become so close to me and I feel like I have a personal connection with the fans that I meet here, because I get to talk to every single person and the majority of the people that I meet here reach out to me on twitter or Instagram and we continue relationships and conversations. It’s become this really fun family reunion every year.
Trinity The Tuck: I think it’s important that we bring events like this around the world to let people embrace what it is to be LGBT, to be a drag queen and the art form. Also to show acceptance and that being gay or doing drag isn’t scary.
What is something you never travel without?
Tatianna: Deodorant. Some people really need to learn that lesson too…
Shea Coulée: Good skincare. Planes dry you out so much, so I always make sure I have some good serums and moisturisers with me. You just need those when you’re on the road.
Derrick Barry: I always have the pillow from Bed Bath & Beyond that you put between your legs with me. It’s supposed to align your hips with memory foam but I fold that as a wedge and use that as a sleeping pillow for next to the window on a plane. If you don’t travel with pillows it’s the most uncomfortable thing, unless you’re flying first class which, let’s be real, most people aren’t. I actually always travel with a pillow I sit on, one that I put behind my back and one for my head. So three in total.
Latrice Royale: My hygiene kit. You’ve got to at least smell good.
Nebraska: My boobs. They’re always in my suitcase.
Blair St. Clair: I never travel without hairspray. It can be used for so many things. I spray it on a little spoolie for my eyelashes, I use it on my hair to glue it down of course and the alcohol in it can break down stains! It’s like the all-purpose cleaner.
Dusty Ray Bottoms: My Khiel’s products! I need my facial products.
Ginger Minj: A bottle of Febreze. Everything gets to funky and nobody wants to smell like corn chips.
Trinity The Tuck: Obviously duct tape and my make-up. Oh and an international charger, that is a must.
What is your make up hack to make your look last all day?
Tatianna: At an event like Dragworld I definitely powder down way more than I would usually and I always bring a make up kit with powder, bronzer, my lipliner and lipstick just to touch up throughout the day.
Shea Coulée: Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. It’s my go-to. It holds up like nothing else.
Latrice Royale: Well when it’s hot I have to repaint like five or six times. I literally pull out the foundation and do it all again. The key is really just to stay cool.
Nebraska: I sweat a lot, and if I don’t put on a setting spray my brows are going to come off. I use Green Marble setting spray because it is heavy-duty and that’s important for a queen like me.
Blair St. Clair: That’s kind of trial and error at this point. The number one most important part of make-up to me is the moisturising routine. Skincare is the foundation of any look and will make it last and look the best it possibly can. If you cleanse your skin well, if you tone your skin even better and then make sure that the pH balance of your moisturiser is perfect for your skin, any make-up can look good and last. And it took a lot of make-up to look this good…
Dusty Ray Bottoms: I use Kryolan sealing spray… did you read the ingredients on the back of that can? It’s probably terrible for you. I’m probably going to turn into a radioactive zombie someday, but listen, it keeps my face on all day so I’m okay with that.
Trinity The Tuck: Oh I don’t know, it probably hasn’t lasted! A hope and a prayer maybe? Continue to powder and I think that you get what you pay for, so investing in quality brands is always good.
What do you want people to take away from meeting you at Dragworld?
Tatianna: I want people to feel good. I mean I’m just a normal girl that ended up being on a TV show, so just being able to meet the kids and make them feel good is important. I just want everyone to leave thinking ‘Tatianna was a cool ass bitch’.
Shea Coulée: I just want them to feel welcome and loved. I know in my persona I project a lot of confidence and fierceness but I’m really just a warm person and I love meeting people. I just always want people to feel comfortable and know that there’s someone here that loves this.
Derrick Barry: I wanted to bring two very different drag looks to show that there isn’t just one style of drag that can be sexy. Yesterday I did an army look, because Nebraska did her Marine’s military look, and today we’re doing Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. I wanted to do two complete, extreme opposites that are both drag but one is generally considered more sexy I guess. To me they both are, so that’s what I want people to take away.
Latrice Royale: What I’m getting a lot of is how much I’ve inspired people and that I’ve helped some of them get out of a deep depression, their darkest times and they’ve overcome so much and feel good about their bodies that they’re in now. That’s just what it’s about. Celebrating who you are and loving who you are and drag does that for people. For them to take that away and be connected to me from that point is just amazing.
Nebraska: They paid money to be here and they’re a fan of drag so I want them to be happy. I want them to feel welcomed and leave being like ‘Nebraska was a cool bitch’.
Blair St. Clair: I really want people to take away the experience of acceptance and the fact that these events happen thanks to people that are so inclusive, loving and special. This is not an event that turns people away, it accepts and celebrates everyone.
Dusty Ray Bottoms: It’s always great for fans to meet the real people because, as awesome as Drag Race is, it doesn’t show a fully dimensional picture of who we are as people. It’s great that people get to see that I have a little personality at least.
Trinity The Tuck: I hope that they walk away feeling wanted and taking away a great experience. That’s my job and what I want for my fans. I want them to feel loved and accepted and that they are supporting someone who does care.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt in your career?
Tatianna: Don’t ever think too highly of yourself, because you’re just another person. Don’t get lost in the sauce. Do what you do because you love it and not because you want fame or money. If you’re doing it for those reasons you will never be happy.
Derrick Barry: When I was on America’s Got Talent, I was so thankful for the girl that booked our travels and I kept thanking her over and over again. Then she said ‘you need to start thanking yourself because you showed up’. Those two words ‘showed up’ just completely infiltrated into my life. I’m already that person that’ll say yes to anything but to have someone say ‘this happened because you showed up’ changed everything for me.
Latrice Royale: As soon I feel like I get monotonous in my career and I feel like I’m just doing the same thing, it’s time to feed my artistic side and do something different. I’m excited about that because 2020 I have some very adventurous moves coming up and exciting things happening. If you don’t take risks, you don’t move on and that’s part of the evolution of drag and of what I do.
Nebraska: To work in silence. What I mean by that is don’t announce your plans, have your goals, work on them privately and silently and make them happen. Once you accomplish them, let everyone else know.
Blair St. Clair: There’s two things I’ve learnt. The first would be stop and take breaks and the second part is to celebrate yourself. There are many times when I wake up and think ‘oh but I want to be there right now’ but I’m grateful for where I’ve come from and where I am today. Many times I forget that, but it’s important to always remember how far you’ve come.
Dusty Ray Bottoms: Gratitude and patience. I feel like the phenomenon of Drag Race has made a lot of people admire and love drag and run into it. But sometimes we don’t know how to pay our dues and we think we can just put a wig on and be superstars, so just learning to take a seat, take a breath and work on yourself is very valuable.
Trinity The Tuck: I think the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learnt is to be kind. It sounds cliché but kindness and love can really change the world. Right now we live in such a politically frazzled climate that the only way to counteract this hatred is to be kind to people.
What advice would you give to your younger self when you were just starting out?
Tatianna: Do it because you love it. You’re very lucky if you find a profession that you get paid for but you also love. A lot of people work because they have to. I know I’m very lucky that I get to be a drag queen, which means doing make-up and hair and performing. When you find that passion, really hone in on that and be really good at what you do – whether you make the income or not.
Latrice Royale: You have to have a thick skin. Number one. Being in drag is a career where you’re always under the spotlight and people are watching you and they’re going to share their opinions no matter what. It’s also very important that you know who you are as an artist and that you are an original and not a carbon copy.
Ginger Minj: You have to be yourself because everybody else is already taken. It’s cool to take the bits and pieces that you love from everybody else but you have to find a way to make it work for you. People can tell when you’re not being genuine. Just in life in general that’s the most important thing.
Trinity The Tuck: Be you. Try whatever you want to do with your art, it’s your art. Don’t do what you think other people want you to do. You should try many different things, invest in your craft, get yourself a couple of wigs a couple of costumes and heels and practise. Also, don’t pass up any opportunities to get experience and exposure.
What is the most guilty-pleasure song in your iTunes library?
Tatianna: Oh I have so many. I have to decipher all the ones that I want to judge myself on publicly… You know what, have you seen that meme about the Walmart boy with the cowboy hat? He released a song called ‘Twang’ and I heard it in a video on Facebook and thought it was kind of a banger. I downloaded it and gave him $1,29 of my money and I don’t even like country music like that.
Shea Coulée: I would say it would have to be ‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black. It’s on there. Sometimes you’ve just got to listen to it.
Derrick Barry: I don’t know if I’m embarrassed of anything. Maybe I have ‘Dear Diary’ on there from Britney’s ‘Oops!’ album… but that’s OG Brit, I’m never going to delete that! But I’d never perform ‘Dear Diary’.
Latrice Royale: It’s hard to say because I have a very eclectic taste in music, but I think people might be surprised to hear that I have a rock song on there that I used to play on Guitar Hero…
Nebraska: Well I’m in a relationship with Derrick Barry so I have every single Britney Spears album on there. I do love me some Britney.
Blair St. Clair: Oh I know… I have a Hannah Montana song. From like years and years ago… that’s just a little bit embarrassing at 24 years old…
Dusty Ray Bottoms: I listen to musical theatre so I have a lot of embarrassing stuff on there… Is Ashlee Simpson embarrassing? I love it though, definitely a guilty pleasure.
Ginger Minj: I don’t embarrass easily. If it’s there and I paid for it I’m proud of it. I do have ‘Baby Shark’ on there though… that’s because I love putting together conceptual shows of silly and stupid things for Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando where I’m from. We did a villains show, which was a tribute to Universal Studios, and I did a whole Jaws number. How could I have done a Jaws number without putting ‘Baby Shark’ in it! Also, it’s the karaoke version of ‘Baby Shark’, so I had to learn the words and sing them… that’s kind of embarrassing now that I’m talking about it…
Hero image is Shea Coulée