Interview with Baga Chipz from RuPaul's Drag Race UK
RuPaul and BBC Three ru-veal the first ever line-up for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK - Meet the Queens!
Tell us a bit more about you!
Well, I’m Baga Chipz MBE, I’m 29 and I’m from London. Baga Chipz is a pub queen; tart with a heart; Like someone’s auntie I give advice on how to pull fellas and how to get pissed. I’m not one of these gorgeous beautiful Kate Moss lookalike drag queens. My style is more cabaret, old school, sequin frocks, Shirley Bassey, Danny La Rue, Lily Savage kind of drag. I’m common as muck, Baga Chipz from Walthamstow.
Why did you decide to apply for Drag Race UK?
I’ve always been a fan. It’s the dog's bollocks of drag TV shows. I want to show off my acting and performing skills and show Ru what Baga Chipz does.
When I auditioned it was like putting a quid on the lottery. I thought I haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance. When I got the phone call I thought it was a prank call and then I started to get emails and I thought 'well done love!'
Where were you when you got the call?
When I first got the call, I was watching Coronation Street, and I thought I don’t miss Corrie for no-one and I thought they’ll phone me back after. Well, it was RuPaul’s bloody Drag Race! I just couldn’t believe it and I even missed the second episode of Corrie that night because I was over the moon!
What are your greatest strengths?
My greatest strengths are my comedy and my wit. I’m a live performer and I do my own material. I might not have the best outfits or makeup, but put me on a stage and I will entertain the absolute shite out of the room.
How do you think you’ll fare in the competition?
I think I’ll do really well in the Snatch Game and the acting challenges. I like playing different characters. I’m good at accents, but I’m absolutely petrified when it comes to making dresses, or wigs. I’m the star dear! I normally have people do that stuff for me. You don’t see Lady Gaga or Shirley Bassey sewing their own dresses or doing their own makeup, do you?!
How did you come up with the name Baga Chipz?
I was having a drink in a pub in Birmingham and this fella came up and started flirting with me and my mate. I said: "Look, why do you want burger when you can have me, prime steak on a plate?" And he was like: "Prime steak? More like a bag a chips."
I thought, you can’t get more British than a bag of chips, can you?! You’ve got your Crystals and your Sandras but I’m unique. I stand out. If anyone else has my name, then they’ve copied it!
How did you get into drag?
About ten years ago, my mate put me into drag. She made me up as Amy Winehouse with the tattoos and beehive and we went to a karaoke bar where I sang 'Back to Black' and everyone was like: "Wow, that’s amazing." The owner of the boozer said would I like a gig. I literally smashed his hand off and the rest is history. I’ve done drag for the past ten years - it keeps a roof over my head and keeps me in clean knickers.
How has drag changed over ten years?
The drag scene has changed dramatically over ten years. When I first started off, you put a sequin frock on and you’d look like a man in a dress. It was all about performing and making the audience laugh but since RuPaul’s Drag Race came out people have stepped up their game. I’ve got a lot to thank it for - I didn’t even wear lashes before. My act has changed dramatically!
Even the straight community watch Drag Race. I’d say eighty per cent of my show’s audience are heterosexual couples. Drag isn’t just for the LGBT community, it’s for everyone.
What has been the impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race on the drag community, and you?
Drag Race has opened the art of drag to millions around the world. It’s not about being pretty, but being an entertainer. Drag Race has changed drag forever, giving it a bigger audience with a bigger platform and its entertaining telly and we bloody love it!
Drag Race has also shown the world we’re here, we’re queer - get used to it.
What does it mean to you to be in the competition?
I feel like I’m dreaming, I feel so privileged to be on this programme, to be picked by Ru.
I need to bring it and entertain the shit out of Ru.
I hope this show brings out the real me, as underneath this, there is someone quite sweet and shy who is kind. I’ll do anything for anyone, I’ll give you my last quid.
What do you do when you’re not in drag?
When I’m at home, I’m watching Coronation Street, eating a pot noodle, smoking a fag. I’m like lady of the manor with a fella over to feed me grapes.
I’m also bit of a geek when it comes to the monarchy.
What do you think viewers will think of you?
I think it will be a facial reaction. They’ll be speechless, or maybe utter one word: ‘trollop’. I’ll never be famous, I’ll be infamous. Notorious Baga.
August 24, 2019 2:00am ET by BBC Three