This week’s episode of Drag Race UK was the most dramatic and controversial of the series so far.
After last week, when RuPaul declared there would be no winners because the challenge performances weren’t up to scratch, expectations were high for Snatch Game.
Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle and comedian Judi Love joined the queens and, as ever with Snatch Game, there were hits and misses. Kitty Scott-Claus’s Gemma Collins impersonation and Ella Vaday’s Nigella Lawson had RuPaul unleashing his signature cackle, but some of the other performances fell flat.
In a shock result, fan favourites River Medway and Choriza May faced off in the lip-sync. And in one of the most controversial moments in Drag Race UK herstory, both were sent home.
Over the course of the competition, fans have fallen in love with Choriza May and laughed at virtually every bizarre phrase that’s come out of her mouth.
PinkNews caught up with the Spanish icon herself to talk about the judges’ critiques, the shock double elimination and who she thinks should take home the crown.
PinkNews: Hi Choriza! How do you feel about your exit from the competition and watching the episode back?
Choriza May: Before the episode aired, I told my agent: “I’m gonna be in such a mood today. I’m s**ting myself and I’m really, really anxious about what’s about to happen, so I apologise in advance!” But watching the episode was such a relief. I was like, “OK, I didn’t do bad at all!” That lip sync was something else and the double elimination was uncalled for. So, I felt a lot better after I watched the episode and I’m holding up better than I thought it was going to be.
Watching the show, it seemed like the judges didn’t really ‘get’ your looks, is that what you think too?
It’s funny how they give you a label: that your looks are not good enough, that they’re not polished enough, and then some people run with it. To be honest, I think my looks were pretty amazing every week. It seems like if you’re not wearing a very specific silhouette, or you don’t do the very obvious thing on the runway and they don’t get it straight away, then it’s not good enough.
I’m very against that. There’s nothing wrong about not “getting” a look straightaway. There’s nothing wrong about maybe me telling a story about my look. Just because a look is not instantly recognisable with one of your references, that doesn’t mean it is not good enough. And certainly I added lots of Spanish references, lots of things that are part of the Choriza’s world that they didn’t connect with. That’s fine! It’s their opinion, but also there are just four people on the judging panel. On social media, it’s millions of people who seem to have loved the things I presented, so that’s what I stayed with.
You’ve spoken out about receiving some xenophobic abuse while on the show. As a whole, did you feel welcomed by the Drag Race UK fandom?
Absolutely! In the UK and worldwide. I have no complaints. Yes, there’s been some xenophobic comments and some rude comments as well. We all get them. But honestly it’s been a very very, very, very small minority. I think 95 per cent of the feedback that I got online was absolutely wonderful. Sadly, this doesn’t happen to most of the queens, so I’m lucky that people have connected with me in that way. But I can’t ignore the fact that some of my sisters have received some hate. So, just to put the message out there: If you are watching this show, just enjoy it! Support the people who you love. If you support me, send me a message. If someone has been shady to me on the show, send me a message of love, don’t send them a message of hate.
Your interview commentary was one of the reasons fans fell in love with you. There were some hilarious moments, like you talking about your boyfriend’s penis is! What was it like watching that back?
You go into Drag Race and think: “I am going to be the fiercest and shadiest!” But I didn’t like having that pressure on my shoulders so I just thought: “I’m just going to be me!” Most of the things I said I forgot. So every time I was on camera, I was like: “Oh god, what is it going to be now?!” Thankfully people have laughed at it, but it’s been worse for my boyfriend and he’s been watching it with my parents. They don’t speak English so he’s been having to translate into Spanish for them, so that’s a bit awkward!
Do you know if the real Theresa May knows about you?
You know what? I think she might! There was an MP at the Attitude Awards that I attended with my sister. He said: “I know Theresa May personally, would you like to record a video for her and say hi?” So I did! I don’t know if the message arrived to her, but I hope it did… Even though I don’t agree with her political beliefs.
Who did you think was your biggest competition in series three?
Kitty Scott-Claus! Every time we’ve had to pick teams, she is always the first one that has been picked. She’s talented, she’s funny, she’s kind-hearted. I think she’s not getting the recognition that she deserves. The judges have been sleeping on her, she has not won any challenges yet but I think she has deserved to win a couple.
How did your family react to the show?
They were already very, very on board with Choriza. They know that with everything I do, I give 100 per cent to it and they’ve seen me perform live, which I think was very eye-opening for them. My mum has performed with me in front of 4,000 people. So they were very, very, very, proud of what I had achieved. But the show was just the cherry on top. They’re just happy that I’m doing what I love, so it’s been very nice to have their support.
Who was your favourite guest judge?
Baby Spice! And I won the challenge. I was so excited to meet any of the Spice Girls, but as a kid, baby was the one I really admired. Now I’m a bit more of a tart, so I really like Geri and that’s why I dressed as her this year. But performing in front of one of the Spice Girls was something that, if I told three-year-old me, I would never have believed it!
A lot of the fans feel like you and River Medway were sent home too early. Do you think we got to see all of your drag or were there other skills you were excited for us to see?
There’s going to be like more acting and more comedy, I would expect, on the show. They are the challenges where I do the best, really, so I was very excited for them! I’ve done all the hard ones: the sewing one, the dancing one. I was there six episodes and showed six different skills, so I think people really have gotten to know me, so I’ve been lucky enough that people know who I am as a person and know who I am as an artist. I had different goals going into the show. Obviously, one was winning. But the other one was having a great time. And that’s what I did! Looking back, it brings me so much joy.
Looking to the future, would you ever consider coming back for All Stars?
I’m conflicted! On one side, I had so much fun doing it, so I want to do it again. You may have seen me cry and you may have seen me stressed, but I was enjoying every second of the filming. But then on the other side, RuPaul and Michelle are the main hosts on the show… They really did not feel my drag, so I don’t really see the point of me coming back. I don’t think they are big fans of my drag, to be honest.
To prove myself through their judging again, I think it would be quite damaging for my mental health. It’s really, really, really worked me up all these months thinking: “I didn’t do as good as I thought I had”. And it took me to watch the show to realize that I did do good. Why have I been focusing on critiques that, in my opinion, a lot of the time were very unfair?
So the answer is… I don’t know, if I’m honest! If I did it, the main reason I would do it was for the fans. I was not expecting the support and love for the fans, so the feeling of disappointing them and not being there for them anymore really hurt me and saddened me. But the support has been amazing, so if I do it again, it would be for them.