Drag Race UK played the Snatch Game and said goodbye to its very own lip-sync wrestler, the Baroness of Basic and queen of camp, Tia Kofi.
Ultimately, somebody had to go, and this time it was the turn of Clapham’s own Tia Kofi. We caught up with her about who she should have done for Snatch Game, RuPaul’s obsession with her, and her immortal Alan Turing tribute.
PinkNews: How was it watching the episode last night?
Tia Kofi: It was all sorts of ups and downs of emotion. But ultimately, the world’s still turning and everything’s OK, so I’m just really happy with the reaction. The response has been gorgeous.
Let’s talk Snatch Game. I imagine it’s one of those things that is much harder than it looks.
It really is, and I think it’s a hard one if going into it you are a sort of comedy person, like myself or Lawrence, because you thrive from that audience atmosphere, having that kind of like back and forth. Tayce and Bimini truly came prepared – they had their lines that they wanted to get in there, they had that iconic moment about finding out that your horse was cheating on you, and got them in. Whereas I was sat there being like, I need to be responsive to what is said in the moment – creativity! Comedy! That’s how it works! No. That’s not what Snatch Game is.
When did you realise it wasn’t going well?
When I sat down and realised you couldn’t see any of the leopard print I was wearing.
Do you wish you’d stuck to your guns and done Shirley Bassey – or someone else entirely?
Well, previously I auditioned for the show with Gemma Collins. I thought about it after the fact and I was like, I know that Gemma Collins stuff so well, should I have just gone balls-to-the-wall and done Tiffany Pollard in front of Gemma Collins with a pair of shoes on the table? I was trying to be respectful in the moment and thought, no, we can’t be doing “I’m claustrophobic Darren”, what if she doesn’t like it? If I could rewind time I’d have been like “Don’t you want your shoes back?” and just yell at here the whole time. I probably would have still been in the bottom but it would have been camp.
How do you feel about your Drag Race UK run overall? Are you happy?
Yeah. You can’t change the past and I’m just really happy with the way everyone reacted. It wasn’t the easiest, those first few episodes. People were like what is this? What are you wearing? But I feel like people warmed up and got into the vibe, felt the chakras, as Ginny would say. So I’m just super happy, and grateful for the opportunity.
People liked you, but RuPaul loved you.
Right? I wish I’d noticed that then, I only felt that watching it back. I was like s**t, this lady is truly in my corner right now. Please can I go back to past me and be like, Tia, hear what she’s saying in the critiques, she thinks you’re a bad b***h, go for it! In the moment I was just like, oh no, she didn’t like this, oh god. I didn’t see it at the time that she literally just said all of those nice things to me – what I heard was: “You didn’t do well.” But that’s on me, that’s my own insecurity.
After the lockdown break, you kept saying you were going to step it up. Had you survived, would we have seen more from you?
I had many other outfits planned that were gorgeous. But also like, Ellie Diamond, what do you want me to say in that moment? Even if the rest of my outfits had been bin bags, I’m obviously going to be like, mama I’m ‘gon step it up okurrrr yes gawd! What else am I going to say? No, actually, I think the rest of my runways are bad? It’s a competition! The rest of my outfits could have been that paper outfit Vinegar Strokes made last year and I still would have wore it and been like, I’m stepping it up!
I thought yours and A’Whora’s was one of the most interesting relationships on the show – it started off on a bad footing but it was really sweet when you began to connect.
We did surprisingly well considering everything that had happened. I say everything that happened, I didn’t really do s**t. But I think we did really, really well in that challenge and I’m so glad everyone got to watch that moment we had together that was very, this is a public service announcement: don’t judge a book by its cover, people are human beings, you should consider their thoughts feelings and emotions because we’re all complex individuals.
My other favourite Drag Race UK moment of yours was your Alan Turing runway which lives on in meme form. What did that mean to you?
I mean, if I knew my most iconic moment was in week one I’d have Ginny Lemoned myself in week two and saved myself the trouble!
It was so important to me because that runway was to produce a look inspired by a UK gay icon. Note to the entire cast: it wasn’t specifically to dress as that person. So mine was an interpretation, and it was extremely important to me. Legitimately, right now my phone wallpaper is Alan Turing because he’s such an important LGBTQ+ figure to me, to the world to be honest.
It boggles my mind that this one person was basically responsible in a big way for shortening the war by a considerable amount of time, therefore saving millions of lives. And imagine being so intelligent that you could create this machine, a framework for creating modern computing. Isn’t that impressive? Like, good for Naomi Campbell, she’s very pretty, but this person saved us from the Nazis and invented the computer, that’s amazing! And hopefully it’s a reminder of how our community was treated in the past in this very country not even that long ago.
What’s next? I know you’ve got a single out.
It’s absolutely amazing, I’ve got a song out called “Outside In”. I’ve always written music, I’ve written music for some of the queens form season one, and to have this opportunity to work with Tom Aspaul and Little Boots is an absolute dream come true and would never have come about without this incredible platform. So thanks Drag Race, thanks RuPaul, thanks to all of the crew and the team at World of Wonder and the BBC, and most importantly, thanks to Ellie, one of the runners on the last series, she was amazing.
Before we go – who do you want to win.
Me. Still me. Tia to win.
Drag Race UK continues Thursdays on BBC iPlayer, with the season so far available to stream now.