TV

Even Lawrence Chaney Was Gooped By the “Drag Race U.K.” Finale

"I was like, 'Bimini is going to win. I’m fine with it.'"

We throw around the word “gag-worthy” a lot, but the Season 2 finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. truly gooped and gagged drag fanatics around the world.

While many thought Bimini Bon Boulash had it in the bag, RuPaul crowned Lawrence Chaney the winner, proving the Scottish queen correct when she first stomped into the workroom and proclaimed, “I’m like the Loch Ness Monster, a legend!” After being crowned, Lawrence told the Ru and the judges, “Listen, I’ve said a lot of things this season, so I’m going to keep it short and swift: Who’s ready for the purple reign?” It was a reference to her favorite color and her drag racing-inspired runway look.

Like any season of Drag Race, this one had dramatic highs and lows, especially given the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent seven-month break in production. Running on no sleep, Lawrence spoke with NewNowNext the morning after the finale about being the U.K’s next drag superstar, thinking Bimini was going to win, and her theory as to why Susan Boyle hasn’t called to wish her condragulations yet.

How was your night? Where did you watch the finale?

Me and the other finalists were able to watch it together at a private screening. We had to socially distance. We weren’t allowed to hug — very upset — but we were all able to watch it together, and it felt like a reunion because these are the people with that electric energy you see on screen. I love being surrounded by that. It was nice that in the air, there was so much love and positivity. I convinced myself, I was like, “Bimini is going to win. I’m fine with it. I’m so cool with it.” And when it was it, I’d won. Bimini was like, “I love you. You’re an inspiration. You’re the only person I would ever lose to. And I’d be happy about it.” Then Tayce was like, “What do you mean, Bimini? How dare you?” It was just a really loving and supportive environment. And they were all able to go and get drunk and have a very merry time. I had to stick around and do a lot of press, and I still haven’t slept yet. Running on adrenaline.

You haven’t slept?

Nope! Not a wink!
 

So you were surprised that you won?

I was really surprised. To me, it’s very easy to look at social media numbers and go, “All right. Okay. The person was the most this, the most that.” Because it makes sense in your head, processing-wise. So I was like, “Bimini’s going to win. She’s got 20,000 retweets and half a million subscribers, or whatever, so it makes sense.” And when it was announced I had won, I was like, “What?!” It made no sense. Someone made a “Lawrence Chaney’s Most Iconic Moments” [compilation], and I watched it back and I went, “Oh actually, that was quite a rollercoaster I was on, wasn’t it?” It was quite a lot of highs and lows, which is quite nice to see. And it was nice to reflect on it because it did have a nice trajectory to be the winner, so it makes sense to me now. I definitely understand it more now, given time to process it.

Can you take me back to that moment when you were on stage holding that scepter? Was it an out-of-body experience? What was going through your mind?

It was so weird because holding the scepter, no matter how glamorous you imagine that moment to be, I remember because that scepter was so long, I was posing with it. I went like this [moving her arms by her head], and it was caught on my wig so of course, I had a moment. They cut it out, thankfully. I was like, “Give me a break!” So everything keeps humbling me, which is nice.

How have the fans been?

The way I try to tell myself — and a lot of my family and friends are telling me this — is what person has been crowned a Drag Race winner and hasn’t had, “You robbed so and so, so and so’s been robbed”? Everyone was robbed; not everyone can win. It is what it is. The response has been mostly positive, though. I got so many texts last night from family, friends, cousins, one-night stands, just from everyone. It was really… humbling is the right word for it.

You said you’re the Susan Boyle of drag. Has Susan reached out to say condragulations?

I wish Susan Boyle had reached out. Oh my God, I don’t even think Susan Boyle has a phone! What was sweet was Dawn French, she reached out and she said, “Oh, it was utterly deserved. I loved you. You’re amazing.” Which blows my mind because she is again a plus-size funny lady, and she’s everything I want to be.

What does it mean to you to be the first winner from Scotland? And do you think this will put Scottish drag on the map?

I think it’s really going to change people’s perception of Scottish drag, and it sounds silly because me saying that, none of you will know what the perception of Scottish drag was because no one knew. We didn’t have viral makeup artists, queens. It’s a very small community. We’ve all got the same amount of followers, and it feels really nice that in a scene where we are taken advantage of by promoters and given not terribly great money, it’s nice that we have a winner so we can go, “No way, you’re not treating these local queens like that because this scene raised a winner.” So, we’re going to be treating queens with respect from now on. And I’m the first plus-size queen that RuPaul has crowned. Mind-blowing.

Ellie looked emotional when you were crowned. How are you two these days?

So, this is the thing. I get on TV, things come across the way they come across. I’m an adult; I can handle it. But it was really sweet because me and Ellie… Ellie before Drag Race, she styled me wigs, we’ve sewn outfits together, she’s stayed over at my house after gigs. So we are very close friends. I am the sort of friend that’s like, “Hey, where’s my missing eyeshadow palette, you dog of a human being?” Obviously, on camera, not everyone’s seeing me and Ellie both doing that to each other, so it comes off a bit one-sided. So I get people’s perception of that. But Ellie at the screening last night — Ellie just started crying when I was announced, and that made me cry even more because she was like, “I’m so happy.” And because our makeup’s so big, it was running down our face. You’d have thought that she won with the amount of tears.

Who do you think should be crowned Miss Congeniality for the season?

Oh, Bimini. Bimini deserves some sort of an award for the season. And Bimini is the most positive-minded person. Bimini is the sort of queen that would zip you up, glue your wig on for you, put your nails on before she’s even started doing her makeup. She’s so caring for other people, and we hardly ever see it where someone who’s caring, is also a real big contender as well. She’s a really special person, so love Bimini, Miss Congeniality all the way.

And what about United Kingdolls? Is it going to be world domination? When can I see you live?

Honestly, very soon. We’re doing Australia, New Zealand. We’ve got a sold-out tour in the U.K. It sold out in five hours. That’s wild. But yeah, we want to do more music. We want to take over the world.

Have you thought about what kind of show you’re going to want to do for WOW Presents? Talk show, variety show — what’s your dream?

See, I love a talk show because I love talking. But what I love is interacting with people that I’ve never met before. I like establishing a connection, a genuine connection. And I like that kind of dynamic about myself, so maybe that’s a good route to go down via talk show. You’ve seen my impressions on Snatch Game; you’re not going to get some sort of sketch show. You’re not going to get some SNL shit with me. You’re not going to get that.

Well, Lawrence, condragulations on the win! Now go get some sleep!

Never!

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."
@chrisreindeer