Cheryl, Twiggy, Maisie Williams, Andrew Garfield, and more set to sashay and slay at Drag Race UK
We love you, Elizabeth, but Britain (and the world) will have a handful of new queens to adore when RuPaul’s Drag Race UK debuts later this year. But before we can meet our crop of royal contestants as part of the official cast reveal in the weeks ahead, EW has rounded up all of the confirmed guest judges set to sashay across the first Drag Race UK stage. From iconic girl group members (Cheryl, Geri Horner) to modeling legends (Twiggy) and Oscar-nominated actors (Andrew Garfield), see which celebrities are set to hold court over RuPaul’s queens in the gallery ahead.
RuPaul and Michelle Visage
The most iconic duo outside of Yvie Oddly and spinal excellence (who’ve served together on the U.S. Drag Race panel since season 3) will have an international kiki when they take their signature brand of sisterhood to the U.K. to whip the queens into shape. We just hope Michelle Visage (and Ru) remember their setting spray and waterproof mascara as they make the jump across the pond.
Graham Norton and Alan Carr
Joining RuPaul and Michelle Visage on the permanent panel are Graham Norton — one of the United Kingdom’s most beloved names in late-night television at the helm of The Graham Norton Show — and comedian Alan Carr (the mind behind long-running talk show Chatty Man). With nine BAFTA Awards between the queer pair, fans can expect a touch of humorous gold to grace the main stage as these chatty Cathies have a go at the ladies vying for the crown.
Mama Ru called Cheryl’s name when searching for Drag Race guest judges, and the iconic recording artist (and ex-Girls Aloud group member) answered loud and proud. The pop star is a mainstay in the U.K. music industry, having notched six No. 1 singles atop the British charts. In addition to hitmaking, the singer has long voiced support for marriage equality and gay rights in the region, and even has a well-known drag doppelganger named Cheryl Hole (who’s also rumored to be a part of the Drag Race UK cast). Upon joining the guest-judging panel, Cheryl admitted to being “such a huge fan of the show,” continuing that she can’t “wait to watch our U.K. queens make their mark!” In a press statement, the Greatest Dancer coach continued: “I am a huge fan of Drag Race. I have always admired the work and dedication that goes into drag and have learned over the years that it is an art form. It is not only fun and glamorous but equally as skillful and admirable, I find it incredibly inspiring. I just love the makeup, creativity and the drama. I am honored to be a guest judge.” (Side note: If there’s not a lip-sync smackdown to “I Don’t Care,” we might have a meltdown on par with Silky Nutmeg Ganache in Untucked).
Our spidey senses are tingling for some Andrew Garfield realness. The former Amazing Spider-Man actor (and Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge star) is set to kick off Drag Race UK as a guest judge on the season’s first episode. A self-proclaimed fan of the Drag Race franchise, Garfield said drag’s “creativity is always totally outside the box,” indicating “when someone does something I wouldn’t have thought of myself” is “one of the many reasons I watch and love this show.”
Actress Maisie Williams will engage in a different Game of Throne(s) — involving way more wigs, lipstick, and sequins than her popular HBO program — when she takes a seat next to RuPaul for an episode of Drag Race UK. The Bristol-born performer will swap winter for wigs as she presides over the competition with Ru and Michelle Visage across a single episode of the upcoming program. “What I love the most about drag is the story of the drag queen behind the façade,” Williams said of the series in a press release. “I think that so much of drag comes from a place of real pain and seeing how that transforms into a character is so interesting to me. I love that about art and about drag.”
Sing it with us: “Mama, I love Ru.” At long last, Geri Horner — also known as Ginger Spice — will make her Drag Race debut on the U.K. panel, touting her signature message of girl power as she joins the competition program for a one-off episode. “I just love how drag encourages people to be exactly who they are,” the girl group icon, who recently wrapped the Spice Girls reunion tour in June, said of her new Drag Race gig. “This show has brought so much joy and pride to people all over the world, I can’t wait for everyone to see the amazing queens representing the UK in this first ever series.”
The ever-hilarious Michaela Coel is sticking to the Drag Race U.K. panel like Chewing Gum. The writer-actress (who’s appeared in Black Mirror and Black Earth Rising, in addition to her aforementioned sitcom) will preside over an episode in which she serves “realness, wit, and glamour,” according to a network announcement. “I love that you have to dare and drop all of your societal norms and restraints that you’ve been taught,” Coel previously said of the art form. “You have to dare to embody something higher.”
A veteran electronic music producer and singer, MNEK has crafted tracks for Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé, and Christina Aguilera (in addition to releasing his first solo album, Language, last year). His next conquest? Fine-tuning the ladies of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK The London native will coach the queens through a musical challenge with help from dance masters AJ and Curtis Pritchard. “I had so much fun working with the queens on Drag Race UK! The public is in for a real treat,” MNEK has said of his stint.
An icon of swinging ’60s fashion (and reality competition judging panels), the former America’s Next Top Model sweetheart and modeling legend will sashay from the realm of Tyra Banks and into RuPaul’s family for Drag Race UK. In a press statement, Twiggy said she’s seen “the most gorgeous women in the most glamorous outfits” in the drag world — the “creativity of the clothes and the makeup” of which she called “brilliant fun.”
Joining Drag Race UK’s big slate of girl group icons is Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall, whom has long been open about her connection to the LGBTQ community (she’s even called RuPaul her personal idol in past interviews). Little Mix also incorporated several Drag Race alums into their “Power” music video, including Alaska, Courtney Act, and Willam. “ “I love absolutely everything about drag. I love that it’s art,” she said in a press release. “I love how fabulous it is, how fun it is, I love that you can transform your body into a fantastic beautiful woman… the whole thing! I just wish in my next life I can be a drag queen.”
Celebrated U.K. journalist, LGBTQ ally, and television personality Lorraine Kelly will be on-hand for the British version of the fan-favorite Snatch Game challenge, which sees the queens channeling celebrities as they play a mock version of Match Game. Kelly — who hosts an eponymous talk series — has revealed her stint on Snatch Game was “hilarious” and left her “in awe” of the competing queens.
Joining Kelly as a Snatch Game panelist will be Stacey Dooley, a television personality and documentary filmmaker who recently won Strictly Come Dancing (Britain’s version of Dancing with the Stars) — the next season of which Michelle Visage will compete on. “I had the most incredible time,” Dooley revealed of her appearance. “I didn’t know what to expect. They were magic, all of them. So impressive. It was brilliant.”