Bianca Del Rio is a queen for all seasons, especially hurricane season. The RuPaul’s Drag Race winner has been busy working on movies, television shows, an international tour and now a book.
Her name was in headlines recently, not because she’s one of the hardest working queens in the industry, but because a social media sparring match took off between her and conservative former child actress Candace Cameron Bure.
“I posted it because of the irony. I didn’t say I own it. I didn’t say I claimed it. I thought it was genius that this bible thumping, homophobic, Republican was wearing something that makes me laugh because that is the name of my show.”
Del Rio opened up to us about the feud, the legacy of Don Rickles, her real feelings on Donald Trump and what’s next for her.
I love talking to you!
Well, you have really good taste. How are you?
I am wonderful but how are you doing? Poor Don Rickles. Tell me about what happened when you found out about the news.
It was very sad. I was actually posting something on Instagram that was making fun of Vladimir Putin and then in one of the comments someone told me that he passed away. So immediately of course I switched over and Googled to double-check and found out that it was really true. It was very sad. That goes to show how much it mattered — I removed my Vladimir Putin because that was no longer important and actually posted R.I.P. for me. He was one of my absolute favorites, you know? What I loved most aside from his wicked sense of humor, he, as well as Joan Rivers, was working up until the end. At 90 years old, he was still doing casinos and dates, and that is dedication. So I respect him on many levels aside from being just fucking funny.
A lot of people have compared you to him or to Joan Rivers.
That is a huge, huge compliment but in all fairness, these people had been doing this for so long and were just so brilliant at it. I have so much respect for people who continue to do it up until the end. He lived a really great life. If you think about it, at 90 years old, wow! And to think at least 50 or 60 of that was performing is insane. I can only wish to be as funny as him or work as long. That is an amazing life to have.
Lady Bunny is still working!
Well, I didn’t say 100! I said 90! There is a big difference in those ten years. Bunny is working and eating.
Speaking of working, what are you doing right now? I know you have been touring your show. Where are you now?
We have been everywhere. We started in Australia and did 11 or 13 shows all over Australia. And then I traveled all over the U.S. and did 29 cities here. And then we did 14 shows in the U.K. and then I had a minute off because I had some secret projects I was taking care of. Now, I am wrapping up with my last 15 dates in the United States. I will be doing them for the next month or so on the weekends which is great because then I can get back to Los Angeles during the week and handle business. Then we wrap it up. There is always more to come, writing and planning the next tour and working on a book as well.
Yes! I know, fancy.
You know how to write?
Well, you definitely know I know how to read. Writing is a challenge.
That’s amazing. Is it going to be a memoir?
Oh, there is enough about me out there. No one wants to hear about me anymore. I can’t give away too much. It is definitely not a memoir of any sort. No one cares anymore.
If you had a memoir, what would the title be?
Oh god… Clown in a Gown. Asshole for life. Any of those work.
But a book! That’s exciting. You said you have been working on some secret projects. I know all about Hurricane Bianca and it was so good.
Much credit goes to my friend Matt Kugelman. That was his pride. He was the one who wanted to make it happen and he did a lot of the hard work. I just kind of showed up.
You also had a TV show on Logo.
Yes! We had a one-off. We were working with the brilliant people over at World of Wonder and Logo and they commissioned us to do a pilot for something. In the moment, Logo was undergoing this whole new change amongst the corporation Viacom and MTV and VH1.
Was the change puberty or menopause?
Truly, I don’t know! When it comes to that type of business and that type of money, I really don’t know what’s involved. So things are all kind of hold for now. I am not really sure where we stand with them. Hopefully, there is an opportunity to do more. I am just not sure where they stand with all of the madness.
With original programming, it requires so much money for to spend and to do, so it was one of those things where they just wanted to try it. As opposed to when they do something where it’s Prince Charming and a bunch of people are acting crazy in a house, you know fags drinking, that is a lot cheaper than a production that is written.
Are you excited about the show Fire Island?
I could care less. For so many years I worked on Fire Island so no matter what they show me on TV, it will not be the Fire Island I experienced. Listen, I am 41 years old. I have seen enough fags in my life to watch them on TV.
Did you see the SNL parody titled Cherry Grove?
I heard it was hysterical but I have not seen that yet.
I could see you making an appearance on Cherry Grove. Making a house call to these lesbians listening to Annie Lennox and playing parcheesi.
Yes! I love Cherry Grove. Cherry Grove was always amazing to me. I worked there for many years. I worked in the Pines as well off and on, too, but they always had their moments. You never knew who was running the joint or who owned the land. Cherry Grove was always welcoming.
Is Donald Trump part of your act?
I try not to get too political with him. Obviously he is a fucktard but you never know who is in the audience. There are a lot of people who voted for him or who are too afraid to admit they voted for him.
What would you say to him if he was in front of you?
If he was in front of me? The first thing I would do is actually you know, take the tape off of his tie and actually do something with his fucking hair.
Maybe you could take the tape from the tie and use it to tape down his hair.
That would actually help. Anything would be an improvement because he is fucking gross. I mean, besides the fact that he is ignorant and shouldn’t be running the country, he is fucking gross to look at. And he does something that really bothers me: He talks with his bottom teeth, and that makes me crazy. I don’t like people who talk with their bottom teeth. It’s distracting. Not fond of him. Not fond of him, obviously, but there are so many people in the political arena that have a lot to say about him. God knows I already have enough shit to talk about.
A lot of entertainment outlets have become much political since his inauguration.
They are becoming stars because of his stupidity.
Some important guy was on Chelsea Handler’s show right after the election. She was shook by it all but he was like “Your show is going to be a lot funnier because of a Donald Trump presidency.”
Completely. Which is sad, but that’s how it works.
That is how good art is made. By being oppressed.
You won your season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. And then two seasons later, another queen from New York won. On this season of Drag Race, there are four queens from New York City. I love when the New York queens go on the show because they are so good at what they do. Why do you think that is?
I think the fact is a majority of us are not from New York City. And when you finally get to New York, it takes balls to get to there to begin with. To make a living in New York is quite difficult for anyone, so I think if you have those type of balls and that type of stamina, it does help you in this competition. It really does happen quickly and you have to shit or get off the pot. When you are from a smaller town, you are not dealt with the same sacrifices as in New York. Whether you like the queens or not, they are not as scared as most contestants. Probably because once you can survive the subway in drag, you can handle anything.
Did you ever take the subway in drag?
Never! No, I didn’t. I always took a cab. I lived in Harlem for a minute and after taking so many cabs, I then moved to Hell’s Kitchen because I was like, “Shit.” What I was paying on cabs I could be paying in rent. And I would be too drunk to get on the subway! I would end up in the Bronx for Christ’s sake. You hear those stories of people falling asleep. It would have never worked for me.
You saw the viral photo of the Muslim woman sitting next to the drag queen, right?
Yes. That’s New York. That is pretty amazing.
You’re roasting Michael Musto on May 22. Tell me about your relationship with him.
Oh, I love Michael. He was one of the few people that was so kind to me when I first got to New York who totally gets my sense of humor. And talk about a New York legend, somebody who has been around. Well, somewhat around. I mean, usually he is asleep in the corner at some event. But he has been quite lovely to me. Also in his own rich way, which is genius, one night he took me out to dinner. And he was like, “I would like to take you to dinner.” And I thought, ‘That’s sweet.’ And then I found out that night he was going to all of these restaurants that were comping his meal. So basically, I was with him to review these particular restaurants. But we had a great time. And that was the first time I realized when you talk to Michael, no matter what you say, it goes to print, that fucker. I have learned to say everything and anything. Let him print it! He is good at what he does.
Same thing happened to me when he took me to out lunch!
Very Hedda Hopper in Feud right now.
Speaking of feuds, looking back now, what is your response to what happened between you and Candace Cameron Bure last week?
Well, I personally don’t care about this person. Never did even as a TV sitcom star. I didn’t think twice about her. But then here is something where she was on The View, and every person on The View shares their views.
As an audience member, I heard a lot about the things that she had to say, so I wasn’t in favor of her opinions and I didn’t agree with them. And here is something that was so ironic, was that photo of her in a shirt that said, “Not today Satan.” 10 to 20 people sent it to me. I don’t follow her on Instagram. I posted it because of the irony of it. I didn’t say I own it. I didn’t say I claimed it. I thought it was genius that this Bible thumping, homophobic, Republican was wearing something that makes me laugh because that is the name of my show. And I have been doing that show for over a year. That’s what I thought the irony was. If she only knew that a drag queen was doing a show with the name on her shirt, and that is what the majority of the people on my page saw it as. So we laughed.
I don’t particularly care about her. She can love Jesus. She can do whatever the fuck she wants. But also just like she does, I have my opinions as well. You can’t say, “I don’t know what’s in your heart.” I don’t know what’s in your heart but I saw what you said and did on The View, and it is quite obvious where your heart lies. And that is totally fine. So I was making fun of the fact that she was wearing a shirt that is the same title of my show. She can live her life and do whatever she wants. But it was fascinating to see the response from the Christian side of it.
I also pointed out in my piece you didn’t send your fans to comment, they did that on their own.
Let’s be very honest: If you are against a community vocally on national television for several months, they can say whatever the fuck they want based on what they saw of her. This is the thing, it’s a two way street here. I don’t particularly care if a Christian doesn’t like my gay lifestyle, but I can also not like her “Christian” lifestyle as well. And I wasn’t ugly to her. Calling her a homophobe isn’t ugly; that’s an actual fact. Everything she says is what it is. You are either for gays right or you’re not. It’s very simple. And if you’re a Christian and are told to love everyone, why the fuck do you care what homosexuals or gay people are doing? I just find of course, every time you put a religion or Bible in front of it, it is always very hypocritical coming from these people. And that is how I look at it. I didn’t send anybody to her page. Half of the people didn’t even know who the fuck she was!