Bianca Del Rio: 'I always, knew I would be different, I'm an outsider & proud of it'

Other | Saturday 16th September 2017 | Claudia

We met up with the outspoken and sometimes outrageous Bianca Del Rio to talk upcoming comedy tour 'Blame It On Bianca Del Rio', life prior to winning RuPaul's Drag Race, the sequel to Hurricane Bianca, as she lets us know exactly where she got all her sass from. 

What have you been up to for the past few days?

The past few days I have been back in London, doing press for my new show that will start this November in Australia. But then it will come to the UK next July, so I’ve been doing a lot of press for that and just giving people information about what I’m doing.

It’s my new stand up show called Blame It on Bianca Del Rio, and yeah, so I’m really excited about getting to do that, and I am also working on a book that will come out next Spring, and I’m also doing filming in October for Hurricane Bianca 2.

Can't wait for Hurricane Bianca 2!

Yes, I’m quite excited about that.

Saw the first one it was ridiculously funny.

Thanks, I’m looking forward to the second one, the second one is even funnier.

Is it gonna be on Netflix?

I’m sure it will at some point, I’m not sure how long it works out because it’s really my friend Matt K that writes and directs everything. So I’m kinda in his movie, and it’s his film and I just appear, so he’s got all the details I’m not sure how it all plans out.

Let's get to know you a little better, define your self in three words?

Hateful, mean, clown. I think those three best suit me.

I think my drag persona definitely suits me well. And also it’s what I put on stage it’s what I like to do, what we call insult comedy and the great thing about the UK is that they seem to get my humour a lot.

Now let’s take it back to the beginning, you grew up in Louisiana, right?

Yes, I did.

Did you grow up with so much sass, were you always like this?

I think totally, without a doubt it definitely was who I was as a child, and as I’ve said before to other people as a child it was a problem but now it’s celebrated. And so it got me in trouble when I was younger, but you know it was quite good in many ways because that was just the way I viewed things.

I was always very honest with my opinions of the situations which could lead to trouble, but it’s definitely worked out for me later in life. But I always, knew I would be different, I'm an outsider and proud of it.

Being different is always good!

I think so too, and I think that’s true with a lot of the drag queens I talk to, that either something happened in their childhood or something happened in their life, that was dramatic and it forced them to feel less of themselves and they feel better when they’re in drag. That never was the case with me, with me it’s just a packaging to get away with murder, so it’s kinda like I’m already sarcastic but you put a wig on it, and it’s funny.

So you did a lot of design in your high school, West Jefferson?

Yeah when I was in high school, yeah I did a lot.

Did you ever make any outrageous costumes?

Well I did a lot of theatre and I also did a lot of stuff for other people; I’ve done more than my share of wedding dresses for people.

You know in New Orleans we have Marty G, so there’s a lot of Marty G costumes. So I’m not really sure there’s one, in particular, that would be, 'oh god'. I’ve been selling since I was fifteen, so now I’m forty-two so it’s been a while. I made a lot of shit.

But it’s been amazing just to see the journey. I mean of course I no longer get to work as much as I used to; I mean I still make my own stuff. Towards the end of my days in New York, I was making clothes for Broadway, which was great and I enjoyed that tremendously. But since then I moved from New York and now I’m in Los Angeles, cos my travel schedule is just insane, but eventually I’d like to go back to it someday because I don’t think I’m gonna do drag forever, I can’t, I mean I’m already forty-two I’ve done it twenty-one years!

You have to keep on doing drag forever, you are too good.

Oh god no, oh god no, I mean it’s wearing. I mean even today with the schedule it was, it’s daunting. Hours and hours in drag. I felt like I was in drag race again

So did you ever wear any of the outfits you made to school?

Whenever there was anything to dress up for school, whether it be Halloween or any themed day, I was all about, that was my big moment.

It was your time to shine.

I totally cared about that than anything else completely.

I think it was just the natural thing to do; I love all the fanfare of it, and that’s one of the reasons I still do drag now because I still enjoy performing, but I also still like the costumes and the wigs and the makeup, I don’t how long but I do enjoy it still shockingly.

You’ve always been a person who gives zero fucks about what you say, how did you get all this confidence?

I don’t think that I was always that assertive, but I think it’s gotten worse now or almost severe now, because I get annoyed with the fact that we live in a world where everybody has something to say about something, with things to social media, you offend this one, or you bullied this one, and it’s not that. Sometimes it’s just an opinion and if you don’t like it you don’t have to take it, you don’t have to hear it. And I’m the same way when people have something to say about me, I’m not gonna be everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s totally fine.

I am not trying to win you over, if you don’t like me you don’t like me, it’s totally cool. But I think that also stems from that I saw a lot of my friends that always wanted to be liked, and for me I kinda thought if you don’t get it, you don’t get it. I’m not gonna try to over-explain myself or try to be someone different for you to like me. So I think that’s where the zero fucks came in, you know where you’re just kinda like this is me take it or leave it, and if not I can be by myself, and that’ll be totally fine.

We love that attitude! So take us back, what was the shittest job you ever had when you first started out?

Well, I think every job that I had working in drag was shit.

Well, I was fortunate to work five nights a week in New York, or sometimes three times a week depending on what was happening at the time, and what year it was. But some nights you’d go into a club do a show and there’s three people in the audience or sometimes there would be a hundred, and now I’m performing in two thousand seat theatres.

So what’s fascinating about that is that I never forget those days when I didn’t have an audience, but then it makes you appreciate what I have now far more, so those days were brutal, but the great thing was I still had a job, and through it, it basically gave me my set skills to be as hateful as I am, because when you’re there and one person’s drunk, one person’s asleep, one’s not interested and you gotta win them over. So it was challenging and I think it was really good training for me, and also good training for drag race

So I am Latino too.

Really where you from?

My dad is from Chile and my mom is from El Salvador.

Mines from Cuba and Honduras.

So in the Latino culture, as you know, it’s really macho, it’s just that kinda culture, where if you’re not a 'typical' man you’re frowned upon. How did you break free from those labels?

It’s where the different came into play, I mean I wasn’t one of these children that was like ‘I’m gay’, I didn’t even think about that. I was called gay and told that I was different by family members or my brothers and sisters, which is typical of that age group calling me a "lil fag."

But what was interesting is that I didn’t think about the sexuality of it, or even cared what they thought. Because I knew my life had to be more than what was happening; I knew I wasn’t gonna stay in Louisiana, I knew I wasn’t going to get married and have children, I knew I wasn’t gonna buy a house and live a normal life. So for me it was like let me do what I have to do to get outta here, which was basically at seventeen I left and went to New York, then moved back to New Orleans, then moved back to New York.

So it’s kinda like my life went on this rollercoaster. But I knew getting out was the right choice, which meant if someone didn’t understand no matter who it is, I didn’t have time to explain it, because I didn’t know who I was to even try, but I couldn’t not be me. Which meant the best thing to do was get through high school which was hard cos people are arseholes, but then you move on. But now they understand it, now they totally embrace it.  And I think it’s also as parents and siblings, maybe they think they might have done something wrong or did something wrong as a parent for you to turn out that way. I think they feel responsible, which is really not the case. But I think they’ve seen it now that it’s a little more welcoming and kind.

During that time what did your drag family teach you about acceptance?

Well, you know I didn’t really have a drag queen at that level growing up. I had the drag queens that I knew that I was friends with, but it really wasn’t anybody that was that nurturing or accepting, which is funny because in the South it’s usually the case someone has a drag mother; I didn’t have any of that.

Basically, the people I worked with in the theatre gave me the training of what to do and how to function and be on time and be professional. And that kind of stuff still sticks with me, so when I see a lot of these younger queens that are not professional it really is kinda annoying because it’s a great opportunity, and really despite what I do on stage of being an arsehole you can’t be an arsehole off stage, and some people have got it reversed, very nice on stage but an arsehole off stage.

You also do a lot of lip syncing, does it take a lot of mouth training?

No, I don’t, I never lip sync, so no I used to, I used to yeah like early days. But now I haven’t done that for in I dunno how long. It’s an odd thing, oh I did do so recently for the work the world tour and I hadn’t done it for years; it’s a weird thing for me now because there are so many different types of drag queens.

There’s drag queens who dance, drag queens who lip-sync, drag queens who do comedy, and I just prefer to do comedy, like doing lip syncing for me, I’m just not the best at it.  So I think there’s other people who are brilliant at it, like Darien Lake, Trinity QueBonne is amazing at it, it’s not my cup of tea, but I can appreciate it when it’s done well. But it’s definitely not (my cup of tea), you wouldn’t want to see me do it

I would like to see you do lip syncing! 

Oh no no no, I am sure somewhere on YouTube in the world of the internet there’s someone on there.

So what inspires your drag act?

It wasn’t necessarily out of a conscious choice, it was always I was hired to be the host of the show, and throughout the show, you would have other performers that are on stage, and they would say “kill time”, or she’s not ready “so talk to the audience.” So that’s kinda where my skill set of came from, which is basically bullshitting my way through the show, and then through it, you start to figure out, collecting jokes, collecting material and that kinda evolved from there

Your life has completely changed since winning Rupaul's drag race, what’s the one thing you didn’t expect from this experience?

The point of doing the show is to win 'is what you wanna do' but luckily there’s a lot of people that don’t win and are still successful, so it’s not even like oh to win is the only way you’re gonna be successful.

But for me it was just the process and getting through and realizing on a global level, how many people actually watch the show, I just assumed a small amount of people in America watched it, I didn’t think about the UK or Australia or Brazil, and that many people are interested in me, and what I’m doing, is kinda fascinating.

So I mean for me travel the world the last three and half years, has been unreal. I mean this will be my third tour, that I’ll be going out solo and each time the theatres are getting bigger and more dates are added, so it’s kinda like an amazing golden ticket opportunity. I didn’t expect that, or I didn’t expect the longevity, I really thought this will be fun let’s see how it goes, and it’s kinda exploded which has been wild. TV’s a really powerful thing.

TV definitely is.

Yeah, and you don’t realize it, I mean you have no idea who’s watching it, and what’s happened also with us, with the later seasons of drag race have just been released on NetFlix in the UK and stuff, so you get a new stream of fans who are just catching up with the new seasons, so it’s great, great timing.

I watched RuPaul's Drag Race on NetFlix, so I get it. I actually watched all the seasons, I just binged!

That’s a lot, that’s a lot of drag.

So what has been the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done in drag?

The naughtiest, oh, I don’t know. I can’t really think of anything that would be naughty, I mean a lot of people would probably say some of the stuff I say and do is the naughty, but I don’t usually retain the information.

Erm, I never think I’ve physically done anything naughty, but I’m sure I’ve said something that is someone definitely thought would be naughty. But nothing really pops up in my head at all that I can really think of. I mean I talk so much shit, I have no idea.

It’s like sometimes when I hear it back at me or someone quotes me, I’m like “I said that?!”, oh ok, or they make a meme of out of me, I’m like I don’t remember that. But that was the perfect example with drag race as well, you’re filming and saying this stuff, and you don’t realize what’s gonna become a catchphrase or what’s gonna be used, and then you come back, you see the show months later, and you’re like “Oh my god, I said that, I did that”, that was shocking because rarely do you have your life filmed on a daily basis like Drag race, so that was probably, in there I’m sure I’ve done some naughty things, said some really horrible things.

I’m sure you’re just being you.

I am just being me typical.

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