TV

Sister Sister: “Drag Race U.K.” Felt Like “Living in a Zombie Apocalypse”

“What the actual hell is happening?”

After Sister Sister’s fierce run on Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K., we now know what all the fuss is about.

From donning her best Dusty Springfield on the runway to her mummified monster mashup and winning the reading challenge, the Liverpool-based queen was one to watch since she first stomped into the workroom. Even though she brought her best looks and wittiest comebacks, Sister Sister never won a maxi challenge. After placing in the bottom two twice, she was asked to sashay away after her Lockdown Supershero look was too much for Ru and the judges.

Sister Sister spoke with NewNowNext about her time on the show, including lip-syncing against an absent Ginny Lemon, how Drag Race changed her drag forever, and if playing a psychic on Snatch Game made her a believer.
 

Where’d the name “Sister Sister” come from?

It’s one of those things where it starts off, and then you forget the origin for it, and then there are people asking you along the way. You have to come up with a new answer every single time. But it was “Sister” for a small period of time. And then my comedy partner made a suggestion — she was like, “It sounds so much better if you just doubled it up. It’s cheekier and rolls off the tongue, and you can hear RuPaul saying it.” And I was like, “Yeah, good idea actually. Maybe this will further my chance of actually getting on the show if I just double it up.” And lo and behold…

I feel that’s it’s rare for the judges on Drag Race to say they wish a look on the runway had been toned down. Were you surprised when they came for your Supershero look?

Yeah. I was literally gobsmacked. I’m like, “Guys, you wouldn’t know taste if it hit you in the face. And this outfit is the equivalent of about 50 smacks right now.” Do you know what? I aimed for obnoxious, and I think I absolutely hit the ball out of the park with that one. It’s so funny because I remember in Episode 1 Michelle Visage telling me, “We need more. Think more. If you ever think that it’s small enough, go heavier.” Cut to seven episodes later and I’m wearing an entire botanical garden on me.

Looking back, do you wish that you had not gone so big? Or are you happy with the final look?

No, I wish I would have gone bigger! My God. There was way more room on the body for more flowers. Always go bigger. Still, even now.

I’ve been wanting to ask you about one of the most iconic moments of the season: Ginny walking off the stage and not even lip-syncing. What was going through your head during that moment?

It’s so strange. It did take me a while to clock on and realize that she had officially left. For so long, I just thought she’d stormed off the stage and was doing the wham underneath RuPaul’s table or something, in typical Ginny Lemon style. And then, I remember sort of thinking, “I need to look around the stage and incorporate it into what I’m doing and try not to look panicked.” But for me, it was a no-brainer. As soon as I realized that she was gone, I was like, “Right. I am carrying the weight of this party on my own shoulders right now. I’m just going to have to turn it out and give Ru the rest of the judges exactly what they want.” And yeah, I think I did. I watched it back and I was like, “Yeah, good for you, baby girl. You smashed that.”

When the sirens went off and they said that filming would pause because of COVID-19, what was that like for you?

God, it was literally so hectic. I remember it was on a Thursday. We finished the lip-sync, we were sat on the couches, having a massive family argument, and then that siren went off. And it’s a part of the show that the sirens don’t normally go off [during]. So, you can see they captured it. We were all like looking around going, “What the actual hell is happening?” We congregate around the TV, and then they cut the cameras and were like, “The world is on fire, guys. You have to go home.” It felt like we were living in a zombie apocalypse.

During the pause, did you think that filming maybe wouldn’t resume?

Yeah, there was so much uncertainty. Literally nobody knew what was going to happen. We kept getting told by production, “We have to finish the show. We just don’t know how or when.” So, it kind of was the only thing that was providing a sense of hope throughout the whole lockdown as well, because there really wasn’t anything fun going on. Looking back on it, the first lockdown was actually pretty shit for everyone. I was working from home, it was really boring, I was super depressed. But all of my money and all of my ideas were just going straight back into drag. I was just invested in it, in the hopes that we’ll all reconvene and we’ll get to finish this. A little bit of queer magic for everyone.

Did you change your Snatch Game character or brush up on your sewing during lockdown?

No, my Snatch Game stayed exactly the same. I knew I was always going to do Sally. The only thing that I changed was every single runway outfit going forward. And it’s literally because you’ve got time. You’ve now got time, and you’ve now got money to spend on it. And everyone looks great in drag when they’ve got time and money to spend on it. My confidence polished up as well, going back. I knew I had the goods to showcase when I went back.

When you were leaving at the end of the episode, you said that Drag Race had changed your drag — how so? It must’ve given you confidence.

God, massively. I do feel molecularly different. I feel like my whole body has just a different vibrational frequency than when I started it now. Part of it is just Drag Race; part of it is just being in the public eye and stuff. But I think all I ever want to do is just be a better, more courageous, more polished version of Sister Sister. The fan base that I’ve made along the way, I literally cannot wait to just get out there and showcase everything that I’ve been working so hard on to an actual, real-life audience.

Speaking of Sally Morgan, do you believe in psychics? Have you ever been to one?

Yeah, I think there’s so much that we still don’t know, right? I’ve got family members that I’m super respectful of because they believe it more than I do. But I just love the artistry of it. I love the spookiness; I love the magic and the mystery of the whole thing. I’m into the vibe of psychics. I bought my mum tickets a couple of years ago to go on a ghost hunt. I live in this really old part of Liverpool, and there’s an abandoned police station just around the corner, and they were doing a live seance. And I bought the tickets to go and see it, and it was literally four hours of me and her just stood in a room with a load of strangers and people shouting at each other, and shouting at random ghosts to show themselves. I was like, “This could be a lot worse. I could be just sat at home now. So, at least I’m out of the house.”

You didn’t see any ghosts?

Of course we didn’t see a ghost, no!

But you’re open to the idea of psychics having some gifts?

God, yeah. Definitely. I do just find the whole thing so interesting. I appreciate psychics for being really good storytellers. They get these ideas from somewhere, and they talk about it, right? It’s the artistry of the whole thing. I’m completely sold. I love it.

Were you surprised when you were asked to sashay away?

I knew my time had come. I didn’t actually think that it was going to be my last week. I think because it was such an obnoxious outfit that ultimately landed me in the bottom, it could have gone either way. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. is available on WOW Presents Plus.

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