When it comes to the UK’s crop of queens, few have used the opportunity of RuPaul’s Drag Race to their advantage quite like Baga Chipz.
Already one of London’s best known drag performers before the show came along, she was a stand-out throughout its first season, providing some of the most iconic and hilarious moments.
Since then, Baga has never been far from our screens, bringing some old-school camp to shows like Celebrity Masterchef, the Celebrity Circle and Celebrity Karaoke Club.
For Pride month, we caught up with Baga for our Over The Rainbow series, where she shone a light on some of the UK queens she doesn’t feel get the credit they deserve – and, naturally, gave a special shout-out to a certain Corrie icon...
What is your favourite Pride memory?
Oh I’ve been to so many, and most of the time I only remember putting the makeup on and then within an hour, I’m shitfaced. I’ve done that many Prides it’s like, which one [is my favourite]?
I love Sitges Pride because the stages are big and the sun’s out. I love a good Brighton Pride. I think with London, it’s beautiful and everyone’s out, but when you’re a drag queen, with a suitcase trying to get from A to B, getting through Soho it’s like trying to get through with an elephant behind you. And then you’ve got people stopping you for pictures: “Oh it’s our Di, it’s the people’s princess.” It takes you 45 minutes to get from Admiral Duncan to Molly Moggs and it should be a two-minute walk.
It wasn’t exactly Pride, but I’ve done a big gay event in Mykonos, and that was brilliant. It was very summer vibes, we went out on boats and stuff, I felt like Geri Halliwell doing Latino Latino... Mi Chico Latino. I was on a yacht and I had my hat on and my swimming costume, you know what I mean? I went in the sea in drag and all that, very Diana St Tropez, sitting down on the diving board, all that. Everyone loved it.
Who is your LGBTQ hero?
I would say the drag queen Sandra. She’s just amazing, she doesn’t get the credit she deserves. She’s been in the business for 40 years, and you know what it’s like for drag queens of colour today – imagine what it was like in the 80s! So Sandra is an inspiration to me. You don’t have to be on a bloody TV show to be a drag legend. Sandra is a drag legend. And the amount of charity shows she’s done, she must have raised millions throughout the years.
And I love Holestar. She’s an Afab queen – and [she proves] you don’t have to have a dick to do drag. I’m not being funny, I don’t really show my genitals on stage, and I don’t know many drag queens that do, so I don’t really know what the problem is. Drag is an artform, it’s like saying, “oh only Picasso and Rembrant can paint, you’ve got to be a man”. No! It’s performance, it’s singing and dancing to I Will Survive, you don’t need a dick for that. And a lot of these Afab queens do their makeup better than me, so who am I to judge?
What is your go-to Pride anthem?
Well, as a drag queen, I’m all about sisterhood and my friends and girl power, my drag mates and all that. So maybe Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves, because we work hard for the money, you know what I mean?
But when it comes to Pride, it’s got to be… not Heather Mills... Heather Small! Proud.
What is your favourite LGBTQ film?
My ultimate camp classic film has to be Whatever Happened To Baby Jane, it’s so brilliant. I love [puts on Bette Davis voice] “what are these things that I’m supposed to be saying to you” and “we got rats in the cellar”. And obviously I love the song, I even do it in my show sometimes when I’m a bit drunk.
It’s not LGBT or anything, but it’s two gay icons being powerhouses on the screen. And I think gay men in particular love those strong, powerful Hollywood women. That’s why we love the likes of Judy Garland and Cher, and I personally love Tina Turner – a lot of gay men relate to the struggles, and the strength, of these powerful Hollywood women.
What was an LGBTQ TV show or TV moment that made you feel represented?
Lily Savage put drag on the map for British television. Obviously RuPaul did it globally, but if you remember, when Lily Savage was on The Big Breakfast and Blankety Blank, that was when drag was first on proper telly.
Who would be your ultimate queer icon?
I’d say for this Pride month alone, Sharon from Coronation Street, Tracie Bennett. The other week she tasered Jenny Bradley, and then she did: “’Ave it!”
I actually tweeted to Tracie Bennett: “This is the best Pride month present ever.”
But ultimately, I’d go for Elizabeth Taylor, actually. Because she had many gay friends in the 40s and 50s, and she helped raised hundreds of millions for AIDS and HIV. She’s a three-time Oscar winner... well, a two-time Oscar winner and a humanitarian Oscar. She’s just an ultimate icon.
We don’t talk about Elizabeth Taylor enough these days. I think she’s obviously a Hollywood icon, but people just like to talk about her marriages and stuff. And she did get married nine times, which is camp.
What is your message for young LGBTQ people this Pride month?
There’s a long way to go, but I think it’s getting much better, every year.
In all seriousness, just live your authentic self, be proud of yourself, enjoy yourself with your mates, and if nobody can accept you for you who you truly are – bin ’em. Well, not if you’re a murderer or anything, I don’t condone that, I mean with your identity.
This article has been edited for clarity and length.
Baga Chipz launched a very special travel agency earlier this month with Drag Race UK 2021 finalist Ellie Diamond which only features their hot destination of the year: Great Yarmouth, the only holiday resort trendy millennials should be checking into.
In a bid to encourage the capital’s trendsetters to ditch exotic, sun-drenched, Instagram-alluring haunts, the two queens shouted about the grand opening of The Hoo Travel Agency.
The travel booking site Hoo allows you to make your own offer on hotel rooms and get amazing deals on hotels.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.