Bob the Drag Queen talks 'RuPaul's Drag Race' win, activism, and New York drag
Drag stars officially have a new queen to worship. On Monday night, RuPaul crowned Bob the Drag Queen the eighth winner of his reality series RuPaul’s Drag Race. A favorite from the start, Bob steamrolled his way through the competition, with a sharp wit and a brash honesty that propelled him to win many of the shows challenges — especially those relying on humor or acting.
After snatching the crown, Bob the Drag Queen talked to EW about his time on the show, the New York drag scene, and the advice friend and former Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio gave to him before starting the series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your favorite challenge and why?
BOB THE DRAG QUEEN: The first challenge! I was like, I know I can do [the Gone with the Window re-creation] — and being able to do it myself was a dream.
What was your least favorite challenge and why?
I genuinely had fun doing everything. I was never like, ‘No, not this challenge!’ I truly enjoyed it all.
What was your thought process behind choosing your drag name?
If your drag name should be anything, it should be easy to remember and easy to Google. Try it now! Google me! (Laughs)
You were the first queen to ever perform two different characters on Snatch Game. Were you nervous about that decision, or confident it would work?
I was pretty confident it would work and I would do a good job. I had a few ideas and then just went for it. It happened without me knowing I was gonna do it.
Your style of drag was called “ratchet drag” by some of the other contestants and by judge Michelle Visage. How do you respond to that label?
I think some of the other queens, and Michelle, were throwing the word around, and I don’t know if they really knew what ratchet means.
This season saw an influx of drag queens from New York, including yourself. Can you describe what it means to be a New York queen?
If you are a New York queen, you were probably a singer or dancer or some type of performer before. Geography in New York changes styles a bit — Brooklyn is more grungy and Manhattan is more showy. But New York City is the home of brilliant drag.
You’ve talked about your history in LGBT activism, which led to your arrest, on the show. Do you see your drag as being a part of your activism, or a separate thing?
It’s separate, but sometimes it overlaps. I’m not afraid to speak my mind, but sometimes I am just speaking my mind, and it isn’t a statement. Like, people say if a black woman wears her hair natural then she’s making a statement — or, you are just wearing your goddamn hair!
Did you come up with “purse first” on the show after you made that purse for the first challenge, or is it something you’ve been saying for a while?
I made it up that day and I started saying it! We were bored and I said it and then thought, ‘Oooh, that rhymes.’ Then I started saying it down the runway.
You’re friends with Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio. Did she give you any advice before you went on the show?
Let’s not throw the word “friends” around! (Laughs) I’ve met her and she really loved me. But, the best advice she gave me before coming on the show was don’t falsify yourself. Just be yourself. That is the lamest advice but it’s the best. Having been a product of reality television, I can really say that you want to be a version of yourself that you know. You want to be on TV and like what you see.
You said you started doing drag around the same time that Drag Race premiered. Was the show itself influential in you creating Bob the Drag Queen?
Oh, the show was the catalyst for me doing drag. If it wasn’t for this renaissance I would not be a drag queen. You wouldn’t get to deal with this!
RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.