Michelle Visage wants to replace Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman on Canada’s Drag Race
30 April 2021, 14:28
Michelle Visage spills the tea on Drag Race Down Under, hits back at critics who claimed season 13 was too long, and talks about her chances of replacing Jeffrey on the Canada's Drag Race judging panel.
I think we can all agree it's been a rough year but at least we've had several seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race to get us through this pandemic nightmare. And now we have another edition of the show to keep us occupied while we wait for our local drag bars to re-open.
Drag Race Down Under premieres this weekend (Sunday on BBC Three for all you UK Huns). Not only does this mean with got even more drag queens to fall in love with but we'll also have more quality times with our favourite Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.
We caught up with Michelle over Zoom to talk about Drag Race Down Under and to get her honest opinions about some of the more controversial topics to have hit the show recently (be warned: we do talk about H&M dresses and Cher...as we said, very controversial). Not only that but we also got the tea on her DMs with Lourdes Leon aka Madonna's daughter.
PopBuzz: Hello Michelle Visage, how are you darling?
Michelle Visage: I'm good love. How are you?
Yeah, I'm not too bad. Where in the world are you?
I'm home. I'm in Los Angeles.
Oh, lovely. I bet it's nice and sunny there.
It's gonna be a hot one. Today's gonna be like 88°F. And listen, I know it was cold yesterday for you kids [in the UK]. But I know it was hot the day before, so just hang in there.
Michelle, I've just had to put on a second pair of socks. I'm that cold. It's awful. I hate it here. Take me away.
Ah. Here we go.
Well, look, let's get down to business. Drag Race Down Under launches this weekend. Now, I know this one has been a long time coming. So, what was it like filming this in New Zealand and making the show a reality at last?
First of all, it was my first time in New Zealand. I didn't know anything about it. And it was the most incredible experience and I can't wait to go back, that type of thing. Everybody that I talked to was like, 'Oh my god, the best food ever in New Zealand, right?' And I was like, no, I'm in managed quarantine, the food is horrendous. I don't know what you're talking about. But then I got out went into the world with no COVID and every restaurant was open and heaving with people. And it was a little culture shock. I was scared because I was like, why are people here with no masks on? It was really a lot to take in. And then you kind of surrender and realise, oh, this is a country that has no COVID. You can do things like this. And I gave in to it, had the most incredible time, met the most incredible people. It was really, really wonderful.
I guess you must have had a very unique pandemic experience because you've filmed in the UK, New Zealand and America in the last year, so you must have seen it from three very different perspectives.
I did. And it was interesting to watch. You know, I'm not a political person but watching how different countries handled things differently, and how their Prime Minister in New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, just locked everything down and there was no COVID. They lived COVID-free. When I say COVID free, I mean, nothing. So, it was pretty amazing to see that. It was mind blowing because we definitely did not do that in America. We did not have that leadership. And then, over there [in the UK], you guys locked it down as well. So it's like, this is what locking it down means. So it was very interesting to see it, like you said, from three different countries perspectives.
While you were filming you had a visit from Kylie Minogue, who is making an appearance as a guest judge. I assume that was a very exciting day for everyone on set. What was she like?
Kylie is Kylie. She's a doll. Everybody knows how sweet she is and how lovely she is. But when the queens heard that name - and Dannii as well - they lost the plot. It was so exciting.
I can't wait to see the reaction gifs of the queens losing it when Kylie enters the room.
Drag Race has been such a comfort to so many people during the pandemic. What has it been like from your perspective, watching the audience embrace all the different incarnations of the show in the last year?
Oh my God, you know, that's the beauty about lockdown is that so many people have found Drag Race. It's like they think they found something new and that's what's so rewarding. It's like people -they weren't hesitant - but they thought they knew what it was. And then they watched it, and they go, 'Oh my God, this is so much more than I ever thought it would be'. I think that's why it's taken Drag Race so long to to be recognised. I think people thought they knew what it was, and then they watch it, and they realise the show is so much more than these beautiful humans dressing up, and makeup and hair. It's about heart and stick-with-it-ness and the tenacity of the human spirit. And, you know, what do you do when all cards are seemingly against you? How do you handle it? That's really what Drag Race is about: heart, perseverance, and the tenacity and the spirit.
It brought a lot of families together when they were apart, too. I've been watching Drag Race for over 10 years but DRUK season 2 was the first time that my whole family watched, and we would be talking in the family WhatsApp group about it every Thursday night. It was a nice bonding thing.
I love that. That's beautiful.
So, it was the season 13 finale last week. You voiced a part of it but weren't there in person. I was wondering what you thought watching it back? What was the highlight of the show for you?
Oh my god, it was super. RuPaul's opening number for starters...
Iconic. So good.
I mean, so that I really loved. I really loved being able to see Jaida do the correspondence from the drive-in because last year the whole finale was in lockdown, fully virtual. And she didn't get to do anything last year. None of them did. So I love that Jaida had her moment to be out there doing her thing, because she's so talented. That made me really happy. I thought the way they did this finale was so brilliant.
Right, Michelle, I want to try something new. We're calling it Honest Opinions Only. I'm gonna mention some mildly contentious Drag Race topics. All you have to do is give me your honest opinion, quick-fire style. Are you ready?
So who should be the next judge on Canada's Drag Race now that Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman has departed?
I was hoping you would say that.
It's just timing. It's always about timing. You know, I wish I could be two places at once. But as of yet we haven't discovered a way for that to happen. The problem is with the frickin' quarantining. It makes it so hard because you can't go to someplace, wait two weeks, then film, and then come back and wait two weeks. That's the problem. But I would certainly like that job.
We would love to see it.
Right, next one. Can and should queens wear H&M dresses on the runway?
As long as they throw glitter on it. You can absolutely do that. But just don't make it look like [a H&M dress] because I do it every week but I don't make it look like one.
Okay, next up. Cher said in an interview that she is going to have to go on Drag Race at some point...
...But will it actually happen, Michelle? I can't stand this limbo any longer.
I don't freaking know. But I pray every night. I pray for world peace, COVID to go away, and Cher to judge on Drag Race.
Amen to that. Next one. Some people thought season 13 was a little long at 16 episodes. Was it too long in your humble opinion, Michelle?
How can it ever be too long? What do you mean too long? Like, what do you have to do right now? I thought it was really fun. I don't think it was too long. It's like, you want something, you get it and then when you have it, you complain. So, I think we need to just all be grateful and love every moment that these queens give to us. That's what I think.
Ok, one last honest opinion. Do you agree that Drag Race UK season two was the best season in Drag Race herstory?
I mean, how is that fair? How is that fair? That's like saying, do you agree your one daughter is more beautiful than your other daughter? No. I can never confirm or deny any of that, because I think they're all really special. Each one of the series is so special. They have their own magic.
We've got time for one more question, so I would like to use this time to discuss the very important news of Madonna's daughter making an image of you as her Instagram profile pic. And it's still there. Have you had a chance to speak with Lourdes? What's going on there?
We DM with each other. When I saw it, I DM'd her. She's just the coolest kid. I mean, let's take away who her mother is just for now. She's still an independent, really cool kid who's really talented and incredible dancer. She's beautiful, smart, funny and very New York. So, she's very sassy. I mean, it's an honour.
Does she message you about the show?
She loves Drag Race. She loves loves loves it. We were talking about the finale. She was like, 'I was laughing, I was crying, it was so much!' I was like, GOOD GIRL. You were taught right.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under airs weekly on BBC Three from May 2.
DRAG RACE QUIZZES:
- QUIZ: How controversial are your Drag Race Season 13 opinions?
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