Interview with RuPaul’s Drag Race UK's Divina De Campo
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!
I’m Divina De Campo, I’m 35, and from Brighouse in West Yorkshire.
My act is a massive variety of different things. You’ll get some opera, Italian aria, some pop tunes, some show tunes, some blue tunes. I like singing things that are a bit more challenging or exciting, that make people say: "Oh my god, I wasn't expecting that."
A bit of everything for everybody.
How would you describe your style of drag?
My style of drag is old school glamour. A sequin dress, a big wig, a big lash, an approximate face (laughs).
How did you get your drag name?
So Divina is Italian for Divine, who was a big inspiration for me. I have a strong falsetto and I use that a lot as part of my acts, and then De Campo means field, but I got that really because I’m super camp. I think that drag names should give you a flavour of what you’re going to get, so I think Divina De Campo does that - it tells you there’s gonna be more than you’re expecting.
What makes you unique?
My ridiculous laugh - which isn’t fake! I’ve taken a long time to build up my skillset, so when you come to a Divina De Campo show you know there’ll be some comedy, some dancing, some singing, and some acting. I think there’s credibility to an artist who has made everything you’re seeing on stage. The choreography, the music, the lyrics. All of that is my ideas, my vision. That’s what makes me unique. That, and I’m a complete control freak.
When was the first time you did drag?
As a kid I was dressing up in dresses all the time, but the first time I went out, I went out as Christina Aguilera from the Moulin Rouge video. I had this ridiculous massive blonde wig and all these sexy clothes on. I went to meet my best friend and he didn’t recognise me at all. It was hilarious fun, and I just kind of got the bug from then on.
What does drag mean to you?
Drag to me is absolute freedom. You can do anything and everything that you want. If you want to do a lip sync number about 1940s Germany, you do that. You wanna do something about time travel, perfect, let’s put that in. Politics? Even better. Just entertainment? Perfect. I’m down with that. You can do whatever you find interesting. The process is what I find most exciting about drag. That you started with an idea and by the end you have a fully rounded concept you can put on stage. And hopefully, it's something you can make money from (laughs).
Why did you decide to apply for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK?
I decided to apply to make shit tonnes of money! No, I decided to apply because there is no bigger platform for a drag queen than RuPaul’s Drag Race. This is the Olympics of drag and I wanted to see where on the race track I’d finish.
How has RuPaul’s Drag Race had an impact on your drag or life?
It’s quite difficult to understate how much of an impact RuPaul’s Drag Race has had, not just on me but on drag in the UK as a whole. I started drag in 2005 and the internet was only just becoming a thing, so there weren’t loads of makeup tutorials or lessons about how to make wigs or any of that stuff. There was almost none of that online. That has changed dramatically in the last ten years because Drag Race has a cult following and people are making content so that you can now find how to do a smokey eye, a cut crease, a bold lip, or teach yourself how to make dresses. So because of the effect of Drag Race and all of us wanting to be a bit better, and look better, I think it has elevated my drag and we’ve seen that all through the UK. Everybody’s just pitching a bit higher all the time.
What’s been your biggest mishap on stage?
I think the worst thing I ever did was when I was doing a Cheryl Cole song, 'Call My Name,' and she does a swan dive on TV and I so I ran out into the audience and head butted some fixed seating. My eye just exploded everywhere with blood everywhere and I just carried on singing. Then I gave someone a birthday cake, stood with blood everywhere, trying to hold the cake far away so I didn’t bleed on it (laughs). I finally put a plaster on and drew my eyebrow over the top and finished the show, until I went to hospital at the end to get stitched up. A proper drag adventure!
How do you think viewers will describe you?
I have absolutely no idea what anyone will think of me in terms of the competition because I hate competitions - there’s a secret for you. I find them really stressful, so I worry about whether I’ll turn into the neurotic crazy person or whether I’ll be okay.
So you’re not competitive?
I know how intense this whole experience is going to be! I don’t know whether I’m good competitive or come across as a horrible person. I’m very competitive with myself - I always want to be better. Everything should be better every single time you step on stage, to me. I don’t know how that will translate when you’re in the mix with other people.
How are your lip-syncing skills?
I’ve done a mixture of singing live and miming, or lip-syncing if you prefer. I’m old school so it’s mime!
What about your sewing skills?
I’ve never had a sewing lesson in my entire life, but I do make things. It’s something I’m trying to get better at but I tend not to use patterns, so I sketch out an idea then try and make it. sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Are you a death drop queen?
I could not do a death drop if you paid me. I can do the splits and I can do tricks. My training is dance and drama. I've choreographed and have worked all over the place with international artists.
August 25, 2019 4:45am ET by BBC Three