Last year, Victoria Scone saw in a new era of RuPaul’s Drag Race when she became the first ever cisgender woman to compete in any of the global show’s franchises.
Victoria got off to a strong start and went down a storm with fans, only to end up bowing out in week three due to a knee injury sustained during a lip sync performance.
Still, the drag queen has retained her spot in fans’ hearts, and she’ll always be remembered by the show’s devotees as the first cis woman (“and the best, darling,” she jokes) to open the door for more types of performer down the line.
Victoria Scone at the Drag Race UK launch last year (Photo: Tim P. Whitby via Getty Images)
“Of course, I’ll always be very proud,” Victoria tells HuffPost UK. “It’s just a shame that it took so long for someone to be the first. It’s funny, or maybe it’s sad, that we’re still having firsts, and there are still a lot of firsts to go.
“I did feel like a little bit of a sort of sacrificial lamb, ‘up for debate’ – and everyone was talking about it. But it’s good to talk, and it’s good to have debates, because it makes people realise their faults and their preconceived ideas of what they thought drag could be and how many people we are not including in the queer spectrum of us.”
“There are so many queer people that don’t have the platform that certain people do have, and that’s a privilege,” she continues. “But as long as we’re recognising that and working on it then we’re going in the right direction.”
While she acknowledges that the reaction to her casting was mostly positive, there was some criticism from more narrow-minded Drag Race fans, many of whom unknowingly erased Victoria’s own queerness in the process.
“There was sort of the assumption that a woman = straight woman, which is quite funny,” she recalls. “Not that a straight woman couldn’t do drag, of course. But there was the assumption… it wasn’t even a thought that a woman could be queer. But my god they can! They’re very good at it.”
Victoria is passionate about increasing representation on the Drag Race stage, and believes drag kings being allowed to compete should come next.
Victoria Scone at the Rainbow Honours earlier this year (Photo: Eamonn M. McCormack via Getty Images)
“Whether people think it’d work or not, I’m telling you, it bloody well would,” she insists. “Some people didn’t think me being cast was going to work, and I proved them wrong. Slightly. If I hadn’t broken my knee.
“But I do really want to see drag kings within the Drag Race franchise, someway or another… It’s only very small changes that would need to be made, but people don’t like change! God, I love change! How boring would it be if we were all the same? God!”
For Pride month, we spoke to Victoria about why Barbra Streisand is her ultimate queer icon, the family film that inadvertently inspired her own awakening and the next fight for LGBTQ people…
Who was the first queer person you can remember looking up to?
From a very young age I was going to dance lessons, as a lot of people do, and I was in pantomimes. And I remember the receptionist of my dance school was a trans woman. I was brought up with this lovely lady, and I didn’t ever consider that that was a thing.
It just goes to show, these bloody bills that are being passed at the minute in the US about kids not being exposed to drag shows and queer people… it blows my mind, because if you’re brought up to realise that queer people are just people, it just becomes the norm. And it absolutely is the norm.
Another icon that I looked up to because of watching televised pantomimes on TV around Christmas was Julian Clary. And it’s quite funny, because I recently hosted the Rainbow Honour Awards with Julian Clary, which was a very full circle moment for me. I remember watching Julian on TV, wearing these fantastic costumes, saying all these crude jokes – which is very much my humour.
Julian Clary on stage at the Palladium last year (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)
What was the first LGBTQ TV show or film that you remember resonating with you?
Probably because I’m in the arts, everything I saw was bloomin’ queer. Rocky Horror is a very obvious one, that would have been on bloody VHS or something, and I remember thinking, “I need me a bit of this”.
And I vividly remember having a queer awakening watching Labyrinth with David Bowie. Although David Bowie is male-presenting, that film made me queer, somehow. And so many people say the same thing.
David Bowie in Labyrinth (Photo: Jim Henson Productions/Kobal/Shutterstock)
What’s a song you associate with your own coming out?
That’d be difficult to say, my coming out was a very slow arduous process. There was no big hoo-hah as such, it was very drawn out and boring. And I didn’t really tell anyone for a while, and then it was kind of obvious, and then I was in a relationship with a man for a while, and that was weird, and now they’re gay and I’m gay… so I don’t really know.
But I open every single one of my shows with the song Get The Party Started, and it reminds me of starting out in drag, getting a small sense of being accepted in a queer space, being booked and performing. It takes me back, and I still perform it now, and it sets the tone perfectly for a gig.
What was the most recent LGBTQ show or film that made an impact on you?
I did really enjoy Fire Island. It’s so funny, it’s really good. It has a broad spectrum of different ethnicities of queer people, which is nice, because sometimes queer TV can just be two white men. It’s also based on the story of Pride & Prejudice, and I think it’s really clever how they’ve put that queer spin on it. And how they’ve made it reflective of, “we’re just people, and we’re having relationships just like straight people do”, which is obvious to us but maybe it’s not for some… er… homophobes.
Also, it’s just bloody funny. So funny. We are funny, as queer people. We have a good sense of humour, we see things in a different way.
The stars of Fire Island (Photo: Disney)
Who is your ultimate queer icon?
I have to say Barbra Streisand, I always say that she is my drag mother. Again, probably my inner stage kid coming out, but Don’t Rain On My Parade is one of my favourite songs in the world to sing – it’s just so gay and I love it so much. Everyone knows it, everyone has a singalong and it’s just so empowering.
She’s just an absolute icon to me. I think it’s the knowing exactly who she is and living unapologetically, I love it, I just eat it up.
Barbra Streisand (Photo: Kevin Mazur via Getty Images)
Who is a queer person in the public eye right now that makes you excited about the future?
I am really excited about Lucy Spraggan. I think she’s a really powerful lesbian, and I don’t think we can ever have enough lesbians, in my view. She is just really exciting, she has so many ideas and she’s really excited about queer people.
She’s also had a really interesting life, she’s had such an interesting journey and gone through so much. She makes me excited about possibilities and what we can achieve.
Lucy Spraggan (Photo: Shirlaine Forrest via Getty Images)
Why do you think Pride is still so important today?
Maybe it’s obvious to us as queer people why it’s important, but we can’t ever shut up about it – Pride is still a protest.
And even looking inside ourselves, there are people within the queer umbrella that are marginalised and do not get to live their lives as outwardly as us or others, and that just cannot be the case. We can’t stop until we can all live our lives unapologetically and authentically. Therefore we can not be quiet.
What’s your message for the next generation of LGBTQ people?
Don’t get lazy. Know your history and where you come from. And never shut up. Never stop striving for more. And don’t be a dickhead. We have to look out for each other, because everyone deserves a seat at the table. And lesbians are really good at building tables.
Victoria Scone will be appearing as part of the RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season three tour which is travelling around the UK from 31 August to 16 October 2022.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.