From Miss Vanjie’s legendary backwards sashay to Soju’s lovably infected cyst, it’s a newfound RuPaul’s Drag Race tradition for a season’s first-eliminated queen to steal the spotlight. For better or worse, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK‘s inaugural eliminee did just that on Thursday afternoon’s season 1 premiere, bowing out of the Emmy-winning series’ first European edition with her damning literally splashed across her face in the form of a poorly received (and, subsequently, heavily meme’d) tiger-inspired mug.
Though the 21-year-old oozed lewks and comedic sass upon her Werk Room entrance (she amusingly compared her sky-high bun to, well, a stiff sex toy), her nerves appeared to get the best of her on the runway, with an awkward performance (and much maligned hand motions) landing her in the bottom two against seasoned performer Vinegar Strokes, who easily bested her in a hilarious lip-sync to Dua Lipa’s “New Rules.”
Shortly after the elimination, EW had a chat with Gothy Kendoll about her short time on the show, how she’s coping with her nerves, regrets about her tiger face, and how she really feels about guest judge Andrew Garfield‘s flirty admissions on the main stage. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK premieres new episodes Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. PT on the WOW Presents Plus subscription streaming service. Read on for EW’s full elimination interview with Gothy Kendoll.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hello Gothy! How are you holding up the morning after the elimination?
GOTHY KENDOLL: Yeah, I’m totally fine! We filmed so long ago, I had some time to let it sink in before the fan reaction.
I’m glad you feel that way! I love that you wrote on the mirror that you were the UK’s Porkchop! I loved that nod to her.
Except I’m skinny and pretty!
I’m wondering if there’s like, a British equivalent meat we could call you instead of Porkchop? Like, should we call you Gothy “Beef Wellington” Kendoll?
Oh my God. Yeah, why not. My nickname in my drag family is Gobby C-mtroll. Like, “Gobby” as in very loud, and then “C-mtroll.”
That’s quite a name. I wish we could’ve seen her on the show! I know it sucks to be the first out, but it’s become a newfound tradition for this show to have the first-eliminated queens become iconic in their own right, and now you have your own iconic meme of you roaring with the tiger face. If you had to go out first, are you at least glad you went out as a meme like Vanjie’s chant and Soju’s cyst?
Of course! Every first queen is kind of iconic. [You always remember] the first one. I feel like I represented my drag at the time to the best of my ability. I’m happy to be leaving as a meme! That’s the thing about being British as well: Being able to take the piss out of yourself in any situation.
Could you sense in the moment that the judges weren’t feeling that look? Michelle had a look on her face while you did that on the runway!
Well, Alan said I looked like an estate agent, but I don’t know any estate agents who wear Mugler. I thought Michelle would like it because she wears a lot of black…. I tried to do the whole Leicester Tiger thing for the hometown theme, and if it didn’t translate, that’s fine. I was happy with it. Who cares?
I’m in the States, so what’s the connection between Tigers and Leicester?
So, Leicester is a little midland city, and they have a rugby team called the Leicester Tigers. They’re one of the best rugby teams in the world. Then, we also have Red Leicester cheese, which is bright orange, so that’s why I painted myself orange and did a tiger face.
It’s funny that you brought a sports reference to a queer competition show. I feel like, in the U.S., there’s a lighthearted disparity between sports and something like Drag Race.
Oh, no. I hate sports. But I’m just thinking, what else has my hometown got? [Laughs] In my audition tape, I actually had a tiger face on. It’s something that I do!
In hindsight, do you have any regrets about that look or your other look or how you performed? Do you see what Alan meant about it maybe looking like a child’s face paint at the zoo?
I liked it! I hated the queen look the most. I had a designer working on a piece for me and he only made half of it, so I had to make that skirt out of the hotel curtains.
You literally pulled the hotel curtains off?
Yeah, I pulled the curtains off and made a skirt out of it!
Did you have to pay for that?
No, the BBC paid for it. So, it’s alright. I expected the first challenge to be a make-it one like in the U.S., so I thought I’d make it in the hotel room. That was the only thing with my confidence as well. I wasn’t confident in that queen look at all and I think that came through in both looks.
So this was the night before filming that this happened?
Yeah, I had an underskirt anyway, so I made a quick skirt to go underneath the other skirt to poof it out more. The designer had made the bodice and the corset top, which I was happy with, but he didn’t have time to make the skirt. I was like, it’s alright, because I did fashion at uni and I know how to sew. It was the first runway and I didn’t have time, so I had to whip something up, and we only had 45 minutes to change from the tiger to the queen looks.
I hope you gave that designer some s—t, because it got you eliminated!
Oh, no! It’s my fault for saying it’s ok. I can’t be a bastard to him!
I’m sorry it worked out that way. Do you have a favorite meme of yourself that you’ve seen since last night?
Probably the one of the Shrek boy going “Do the roar” and then it’s me. They’re all pretty horrible. [Laughs] I’ve been pretty adamant about staying off of social media, so I haven’t seen too much of the reaction, aside from the positive ones, which is nice!
What did you think of Andrew Garfield getting sort of flirty with his comments to you guys?
I think in the press he’s been open to being open…. I think it’s true! I Googled after to see if he was gay or not. He was really nice…. He’s “open to impulses,” I wasn’t really shocked by that. Look at us all, we’re all really fit!
I had really high hopes for you, you seemed so confident and funny in the Werk Room. I loved what you said about your anal bead hair. Was that really the inspiration?
No, not at all! I have a photo of my grandma in the ‘60s at the Moulin Rouge and she has buns on her head like that…. Then, poor grandma, I had to make a joke about anal beads.
Connecting grandma and anal beads, that’s something you’d only hear on Drag Race.
Exactly. I think that summed up my drag! I’m happy with my anal bead hair.
Did you finally let Baga have a try with it like she said she wanted to?
No, I don’t want it going anywhere near her [laughs].
You seemed so confident in the Werk Room, but you talked a bit about your nerves getting the best of you here. Are you usually a nervous performer?
I never perform, that was my first time lip-syncing on the show! I DJ and throw parties and do photoshoots, I don’t really go to a club and host a night or perform on stage. To be doing that for the first time ever in front of RuPaul on the show was intimidating. Since then, I’ve gotten my teeth done and I’ve had a lot more confidence and preparation with performing now.
I find it interesting that you say you don’t perform as much, because I think that the history of drag, more traditional drag, is rooted in live performance. It’s cool to see this new wave of queens come along largely because of the Drag Race franchise where it is about the look. You said in the Werk Room that you feel like traditional drag queens in bars are boring and mean. But I feel like that kind of drag is traditional British drag at its finest. Do you feel like an outsider on the scene in that sense?
I think so! I struggled to get gigs before. That’s why I turned more towards DJing, and obviously I was doing fashion. My drag was leaning toward it. I didn’t take inspiration from the traditional queens, who I have a lot of respect for…. But I wanted to do something new and fresh, and that’s really exciting. Me, Scaredy, and Blu are showing off the new wave of drag!
Some people have criticized that evolution of drag. How do you feel about that?
I feel like being gay is always about being accepting new things. We’ve always got to let things keep progressing and developing. We respect and love the queens who’ve set up this traditional sense of drag and are keeping it alive, but you always need to let fresh ideas and fresh perspectives come in, otherwise it’s going to die and there won’t be any drag left.
Who would you have done for Snatch Game if you’d stayed around?
I had Ozzy Osbourne and Nigella Lawson. She’s basically a really hot chef…. She’d be a great character to do. Watch one of her cooking tutorials on YouTube and you’ll see right away that she’s just a slapper!