‘Just being pretty won’t win’: Michelle Visage talks Australian drag


michelle visge rupaul's drag race down under
Image: Stan

RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under judge Michelle Visage has shared her thoughts on Australian drag compared to the rest of the world.

This Saturday (July 30), the new season of the Australia-New Zealand spinoff of the show begins.

Michelle Visage again joins RuPaul and Australian comedian Rhys Nicholson on the RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under judging panel.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Visage weighed in on the regional nature of drag, and the modern commercial side of the artform.

“Perth drag will be different from Melbourne drag, Auckland drag will be different from Christchurch drag,” she said.

“Australian drag will be different from the rest of the world because of where it is.

“When I think of Australian drag, it’s got comedy, it’s not hard. Almost like British drag.

“It’s not as fiercely polished as the Americans want to make it now, like an Instagram photo.”

Visage said in her opinion Australian and British-type drag in its infancy was “raucous and dirty and live, and giving a f__k you to society”.

“It wasn’t just about being pretty, which is why being pretty alone will not win you the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar or Down Under’s Next Drag Superstar,” she said.

“It’s so much more than that.

“You’ve heard me say over the years, ‘Okay, you’re pretty, what else can you do? We need more.’

“What I love about [Australian] drag is that there’s still a roughness to it. And that makes it authentic and that makes it vulnerable. And I love that.”

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race made expectations high’

Michelle Visage also reflected on the commercial side of drag, and the expectations stemming from the fact that modern drag is “now a business”.

“When I was growing up, it wasn’t a business,” she said.

“Those kids had day jobs, and then they would go to clubs six or seven nights a week and do their drag show.

“Because drag queens didn’t really get tips. They got paid, if they were lucky, I don’t know, $50 a night.

“But it’s a business now. That’s why the expectations are high, because RuPaul’s Drag Race made expectations high.

“You need to not only look good, but you need to be what they call in the pageant world the total package.

“You need to have all of it, you need to know how to sew, to sing, to act.

“And by the way, not always well. You just need to be able to fake it so you make it.”

Australian drag performers Beverly Kills (Brisbane), Hannah Conda (Sydney), Aubrey Haive (Melbourne), Faux Fur (Sydney), Kween Kong (Adelaide), Minnie Cooper (Sydney), Molly Poppinz (Newcastle), and Pomara Fifth (Sydney) are all competing on the new season.

Joining the Aussies on the new season are New Zealand queens Yuri Guaii and Spankie Jackzon.

In a new behind-the-scenes clip, some of the new Aussie queens have also given their take on Australia vs US drag. Watch below:

Earlier this week, Stan confirmed that Lucy Lawless as well as Bindi and Bob Irwin were special guests on the show.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under streams on Stan from 4pm this Saturday (July 30).

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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