The drag queen superstars spill the tea on the brand new season of their hit present, the death-dropping seems, and what Coming Out Day means to them.
Transfer over, Batmobile. HBO’s We’re Right here — the drag documentary-meets-makeover sequence starring Shangela, Eureka O’Hara and Bob the Drag Queen — would possibly probably characteristic essentially the most fabulous types of transportation ever created. Within the opening scene of season one (which premiered in 2020) and season two (to be untucked right now), the world was launched to a few of the campiest vans to ever grace the small display: a fuschia-bowed set of wheels, a mobile-enlarged elephant and a literal “purse first” car.
“I don’t wish to break it for you, however I truly by no means drove the [purse] truck myself,” shares Bob over video chat. “After we did season one, I didn’t also have a driver’s license, so I legally couldn’t drive that truck.”
Because the drag-mobiles are captured driving via American suburban streets within the opening minutes of the brand new season, it’s instantly obvious how precisely this scene represents your entire sequence. For these unfamiliar (or these with out an HBO subscription), We’re Right here is a six-part present that follows three of essentially the most exuberant exports of RuPaul’s Drag Race as they journey throughout the U.S. and undertake varied small-town residents with a connection to the LGBTQ2S+ group as drag youngsters. Every episode begins with the hosts — all decked out of their finery, therefore the necessity for vans with house to haul all of it — sissying that stroll via the principle stretch of the group, culminating in a wonderful lip sync efficiency (as a result of, after all!). Alongside the way in which, count on to cry — and never just some tears, we’re speaking ugly sobs — because the tragic backstories of the makeover-ees take centre stage.
“I inform individuals on a regular basis after they say, ‘Oh my God, I cried,’ I’m like, ‘You cried? It wasn’t only a one-hour occasion — I used to be there for ten days! I used to be crying each day for ten days,’” Bob reveals.
Shangela additionally admits the expertise is much more emotional than what’s introduced on TV. “We’ve been with our drag children since day one, and so they’re typically somewhat apprehensive and cautious. And you then see them work so laborious, not solely on themselves however [also] placing collectively this quantity, in order that when the ultimate be aware hits on the finish of the music, you’re like, that is virtually a unique particular person than seven days in the past. Nevertheless it’s not — it’s a free particular person, and it’s so lovely.”
After spending quarter-hour with every queen on video chat, it’s barely alarming how shortly one can really feel secure to reveal their soul. Effortlessly enthusiastic, heat and humorous, it’s no surprise they’ll join with the individuals round them so shortly.
“Watching the primary season, the one factor I discovered was that it’s okay for me to be tremendous susceptible,” shares Shangela.
Eureka agrees, confessing they higher understood the present’s influence on these communities shifting into season two. “Season one made me perceive how one can higher talk with my drag daughters, what conversations I wished to have extra of, and I simply wished to get nearer with each person who I labored with.”
Nonetheless, COVID-19 had different plans. The proverbial darkish cloud to the hosts’ collective ray of sunshine, sequence two was shot round December 2020, smack in the midst of the pandemic. As masks grew to become a compulsory accent, the queens agreed that there have been positively highs and lows.
Bob names the environment of the ultimate performances as essentially the most important change. “We used to return with an enormous crowd going bananas, however it grew to become rather more subdued with everybody carrying masks, and there have been only a few individuals there.”
Eureka provides that the virus did disrupt the queens’ connection to the townspeople, who have been already on the defensive in such an in depth and intimate setting. Nonetheless, it simply made one-on-one time with their drag daughters that rather more worthwhile. “They get to be round individuals which can be like them. You see them open up in a different way.”
Whereas the present undoubtedly evokes comparisons to RuPauls’ Drag Race — the heart-to-hearts, memorable quips and drag transformations — We’re Right here builds on the world that RuPaul Charles created and takes it a high-heeled step additional. Because the revolutionary OG competitors sequence has pushed pop-culture boundaries, it has additionally been criticized for failing to signify the trans, bio queen and drag king communities.
However in We’re Right here, the class is inclusivity. Townspeople with numerous backgrounds, together with members of the trans, non-binary, straight, homosexual and autistic communities, are celebrated and are the present’s true royalty, as they battle homophobia, poisonous masculinity, their “interior saboteur” and typically even relations. It’s maybe extra becoming to deem the HBO sequence a Queer Eye-meets-Drag Race fusion, that includes the most effective qualities of each sequence and elevating the artwork type of drag to a wholly new stage.
“I’m going to say this out loud — that is the most effective drag on TV,” says Bob. “The drag we have now on this present is basically high-end, and we have now some insanely wonderful couture.”
Working example: Shangela’s western denim robe from the primary season. Followers of the star — recognized for her cathphrase “Halleloo” — have been fast to gag (however not within the great way) over the unjust exclusion of the look, created by her costume designer and fixed collaborator Diego Montoya, from the Americana Met Gala purple carpet in September.
“I’m searching for Anna Wintour to place me on the listing subsequent yr,” Shangela laughs. “However to me, each episode of We’re Right here feels just like the Met Gala runway as a result of we have now customized seems which have been created with totally different themes for every metropolis. [See season two’s football-inspired ensembles]. We’re so blessed to work with essentially the most wonderful designers and artists and in addition, child, I get to maintain the garments.”
The transformational powers of drag are to not be disputed — simply revisit any episode from the primary sequence. By means of hair, make-up and clothes, Shangela, Eureka, and Bob play fairy godmothers, and the magical metamorphoses of their drag daughters would make even Cinderella sashay away.
All three drag mamas are hands-on with their youngsters whereas planning the climactic reveal, and Shangela notes it’s a collaborative effort between all departments. “To me, it all the time begins with the music. I need them to go on stage with no matter message or no matter represents their journey the most effective. As soon as the music is chosen, I name my designer, and I’ll come to him and say, ‘Okay, right here’s the music, that is the temper. What do it’s a must to create?’ And he’ll sketch up one thing superior.”
For all its positivity and motivational mantras (assume “hope is right here to slay” from the present’s promos), We’re Right here can be a stark reminder of the obstacles the group continues to face. For each second the group welcomed the queens and their transformations with open arms, there are nonetheless teams of offended bystanders yelling derogatory feedback at Shangela, Eureka and Bob. Whereas the queens deal with the overtly conservative townspeople with empathy and humour (drag will not be a contact sport), Coming Out Day — which falls on October 11, additionally the date of the season two premiere — is a reminder that it’s not as straightforward for everybody.
“I do get plenty of questions, not simply from individuals however from dad and mom about popping out and the way they will help,” reveals Eureka. However her go-to recommendation is to all the time stay your fact. “Whether or not it’s gender expression, your sexuality, or no matter it’s a must to come out about, do it by yourself time. There aren’t any guidelines besides the foundations that you just create for your self. Place confidence in the individuals that you just love and that love you. In the event that they don’t settle for it, that’s okay, however I promise you that there are individuals in your life that already know and don’t care.”
That’s a strong message for anybody to listen to, irrespective of their background. However nonetheless, it’s a credit score to the queens and activists which have come earlier than them that such a private confession will be so readily accepted.
“I used to be fascinated with the individuals who have created areas for me to be sitting on this Zoom name proper now, and the way grateful I’m that individuals have allowed me to navigate the world,” says Bob about LGBTQ2S+ Historical past Month, an observance held yearly October. “I take into consideration Woman Bunny, Peppermint, William Dorsey Swann, Dr. Angela Davis, and I’m simply dwelling in a spot of gratitude. And you recognize, I’m additionally fascinated with how one can be sure that somebody coming after me has a fantastic house, too. So I’m ensuring that I’m doing my factor to contribute to historical past going ahead.”
And therein lies the magic of We’re Right here. By bringing the inclusivity of the Drag Race Werk Room to communities who want it most, it forges connections, and has proved to be a reminder to anybody who has ever felt misplaced — not simply the LGBTQ2S+ group – that we need to be liked for precisely who we’re. It’s all proper there within the title, we’re right here — you aren’t alone.
“I hope that individuals are impressed to do not forget that it’s so necessary to uplift individuals of our group and other people from totally different communities that is probably not even like us,” displays Shangela. “Know that so many individuals really feel remoted, alone, and it’s our job to attempt to assist and convey some positivity to the world.”
In spite of everything, within the immortal phrases of Ru himself, “We’re all born bare and the remainder is drag.”