Samedi, 1 octobre 2022
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    Bianca Del Rio unsanitized

    Loud, brash and politically incorrect, larger-than-life American drag queen Bianca Del Rio exploded onto the scene after winning season six of the hit TV series RuPaul’s Drag Race. A self-professed “clown in a gown” and dubbed the “Joan Rivers of the Drag World” by The New York Times, the bestselling author, actor and insult comic was ranked No. 1 by New York magazine on their 2019 list of “the most powerful drag queens in America.”


    Not bad for the wildly funny entertainer otherwise known as Roy Haylock who got his drag start in New Orleans nightclubs back in 1996 at age 20. After making his West End debut in the hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Haylock reprised the role of Hugo / Loco Chanelle in the 2022 North American premiere at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles where I caught up with Haylock in February, ahead of his “Bianca Del Rio Unsanitized” 12-city tour across Canada.


    You are touring your Unsanitized show around the world. What is like to perform live during the COVID pandemic?
    Bianca Del Rio : When I started the tour in America last year, I was trepidatious because I assumed everyone was going to be low key and wary of buying tickets. But it was the complete opposite. Everyone was bat-shit crazy and ready for entertainment. I think what we’ve learned over these last two years is people will welcome any opportunity to get out of the house if they feel safe and ready to live in the moment.


    You co-star in the stage musical and film adaptation of Everyone’s Talking About Jamie. What drew you to this project?
    Bianca Del Rio : Basically the director of the West End production reached out to me and asked, if I’d be interested in doing this show. I had seen the show earlier with Michelle Visage who had a role in it. At first I thought they wanted me to replace Michelle but they said, “No, the other role of the drag queen.” So I did a pre-pandemic Zoom call with the director and he said, “I will not take no for an answer. I think you’re perfect for this.” I had such a great time in that show that I also joined the cast of the UK tour before introducing the show to an American audience here in Los Angeles. It has been lovely just to be in one place for five weeks.


    You are the first drag queen to headline Carnegie Hall and Wembley Arena, selling out both venues. Are British audiences different than American audiences?
    Bianca Del Rio : What I often say is if everybody just has three drinks, we’re all the same. But I also have to say that I’m very specific to an extent because I’m dealing with drag, I’m dealing with reality television. So I think people have an idea of what I’m going to be like, if that makes any sense. It’s very rare that someone walks down the street, sees a sign for Bianca Del Rio and says, “Let’s go see that show!” I deal with a very specific audience. They know what they’re in for, though I do change my material depending on where I am. If I’m in America, it could be Trump-related. If I’m in the UK, Boris-related. I have an arsenal of shit in my head I could unleash at any moment.


    I think it’s great that young kids today can grow up realistically wanting to be a drag star. Entertainers like yourself and musicals like Everyone’s Talking About Jamie are revolutionizing not just drag, but show biz.
    Bianca Del Rio : First of all, I think just visibility is important. When I grew up, gay was one thing, drag was a whole other thing. None of it was really accepted, much less mainstream. I’ve been around long enough to know when it was a taboo. I was around when even gay men didn’t like drag queens because it was too gay, which was insane. So I’ve experienced this roller coaster of moments and feelings, situations where I was working at nightclubs, at a cabaret space or in a theatre, and once again to a very specific audience.


    But now that drag is on television, it has been put to the forefront where everyone celebrates it. I don’t think it’s about, “Should I or should I not do drag?” Like do whatever the hell makes you fucking happy! Whether they watch, engage or go to shows, I would say 80 per cent of my fan base are straight girls, and I’m not mad at that. Drag is for everybody. It brings people together.


    You are R-rated, but do you find that drag has become G-rated as it has gone mainstream?
    Bianca Del Rio : I wouldn’t say that all of it is G-rated because usually the nicest people or the most G-rated drag queens I know are super cunts when they get offstage. It’s how you approach it. Some performers want to be people pleasers and want to be liked by everyone, so the sweetness and kindness shtick works for them. But it’s not me. I’m definitely not an “Everybody say love” kind of gal. Quite the opposite. I can be a bitch onstage but I’m actually a nice person in real life.


    Your comedy is fearless and I think we need that fearlessness more than ever today. What is it about the humour of fearless comics like Joan Rivers and yourself, that is so important and needed today?
    Bianca Del Rio : First and foremost, the fact that you’re been putting me in the same category as Joan Rivers is an honour. There was nobody better than Joan. We need their humour because everybody’s got a stick up their ass. Truly, honestly, you have to laugh at everything because there’s no way you’re getting out of this world. Otherwise you’re going to be a miserable son of a bitch. I think that’s the game, you know – humour lies in truth, the truth lies in humour. That’s what makes things funny and makes everything relatable. The minute you lose your sense of humour, you are truly fucked.


    Does Bianca get away with more than Roy Haylock?
    Bianca Del Rio : Not now, because I’m old enough where I don’t care. Maybe if I was 35 I’d be a little more cautious but right now I don’t give a shit.


    As you travel the world, do gorgeous men throw themselves at the feet of Bianca Del Rio?
    Bianca Del Rio : Oh god, no! I don’t want ANY man near my feet! Have you seen drag queens’ feet?


    How do you feel when people call you a living legend – because you are, Bianca.
    Bianca Del Rio : That makes me sound old. Save that for somebody who’s on their deathbed. Honestly, nowadays, especially with Drag Race, people use that word too easily. Everybody’s a legend, everybody’s fierce, but that’s not the case. You can call me that when I’m dead: “She’s a dead legend.” Right now I’m just riding the rollercoaster of life and just trying to make people fucking laugh.


    INFOS | Bianca Del Rio Unsanitized cross-Canada comedy tour headlines MTELUS in Montreal on March 21. For tickets, visit evenko.ca and thebiancadelrio.com.

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