Editor’s note: There are plenty of fun events in Dallas this weekend. Here, we home in on one. See our Things To Do page for the full lineup.
RuPaul’s Drag Race offers everything you could ever want in a TV show: glitz, glamour, fierce competition, drama, shadiness, humor. Since first airing a decade ago, the show has introduced and entranced mainstream audiences with the art of drag, and completely changed the game for drag queens. Suddenly, queens who had niche success for years in the drag community were finding themselves on a much larger stage. Bianca Del Rio, the sassy winner of season six, is one such star. The 44-year-old New Orleans native was already an icon of the drag world, but now she’s an icon–period. Since the win, Del Rio’s star has only continued to rise. She released her first book last year. In June New York magazine named her the No. 1 Most Powerful Drag Queen in America, and she’s been living up to her title with a wildly popular world tour.
This Saturday, she’ll bring her merciless comedy and aggressive eye makeup to Dallas for the It’s Jester Joke Tour. You can find tickets here. She gave us a call beforehand to give us all the juicy details.
New York magazine called you the Most Powerful Drag Queen in America in June. How does it feel?
Well, in that week and in that moment it was a lovely honor–but we do know how the world works. On one list you’re going to be the best, and on another list you’re going to be the most hated, so I take it all with a grain of salt! I look at it this way–look, I’m just grateful to get to be working. It’s a lovely honor, but it doesn’t mean shit in the real world, to be honest.
Has your approach to doing drag evolved since winning Drag Race?
Yes and no. In many ways, I think my experience prior to Drag Race helped me out a lot. A lot of queens now, in particular, just want to be on a show and want to be famous, but they never put in the work, they haven’t done the work beforehand. I used to work in clubs with four people, and sometimes 100 people. And now, I consider that training to help me work an audience of 2,500 or 10,000, or whatever. I think that gives me a greater appreciation for it.
Definitely, the years before the show changed what I get to do now–there’s a larger amount of respect for it all.
What can people expect from the show?
I would say expect the unexpected! The show is called It’s Jester Joke, because people have lost their minds. People can’t have fun anymore. People are so politically correct. People really don’t have a sense of humor. So, I’m here to remind people that, despite what’s going on in the world, shut the fuck up for an hour and a half and just laugh at ourselves, because people have just lost touch with reality, I find. Everything is not about breaking someone’s back–everything is not about offending someone, it’s just realizing you have to find the humor in all of it. We’re all gonna die anyway, so why be a miserable bitch?!
Have you been to Dallas before?
Yes, I have and I’ve enjoyed Dallas! I’m Southern myself, I’m from New Orleans, so Dallas, Austin, Houston, anywhere in Florida, those places are what we called our big getaways when you live in Louisiana.
Have you gotten to check out the drag scene here much?
In the past few years, I have not. Usually our schedule is so tight, we get in the day-of, do the show, and then head out…If I had more time, I think I’d be getting into more trouble. I’d be drinking and eating and not getting my job done!
You’ve gotten a lot of slack for your heavy-handed makeup, but it’s remained Bianca’s signature. Will you ever do no-makeup makeup?
No. [Laughs.] No. Everybody does drag for different reasons. There’s nothing wrong with being a beauty or having a little touch of makeup, but that’s not me. Also, I’m a 44-year-old man and this is just who I am and what I choose to do, and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to let somebody tell me what I can and cannot do. You don’t like it, don’t look at it! That’s how I’ve always felt about it. Let some pretty young girls do it. It’s not something that I feel comfortable with, or that I feel represents me. I think my makeup should be as harsh as my humor.
Do you have any advice for aspiring drag stars? Tips or tricks you can share?
I’ll say don’t do it, we have enough drag queens! [She bursts into laughter again.] No, I mean, truly, honestly, because of drag race there’s queens falling out of fucking trees now. They’re everywhere, everybody’s a drag queen! I say, look, do it if you enjoy it, there are no rules to drag.
People often ask me, can women do drag, is it okay if straight men do drag? Do whatever the fuck you want. This is your life. If putting on a wig makes you happy, get out there and do it. Get out there and put in the work, find out what you want. Go work at your local club, volunteer for a couple of gigs, I mean, that’s what I’ve done to begin with, and I’m still doing it now.
The trick is not necessarily to do what someone else is doing. You can be influenced by someone, you can appreciate someone’s hair or makeup, you can appreciate someone’s clothing aesthetic–but find what works for you.