- 03 Aug 18
Since winning the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race , Bianca Del Rio has not stopped working. Between touring all over the world with her one-queen comedy shows and filming two movies, Bianca rarely enjoys a moment to herself. Her new show Blame It On Bianca comes to the Bord Gais Theatre in August 6, making it her third solo tour in Ireland.
Bianca loves Irish audiences saying, "I enjoy travelling. And I also enjoy the fact that when I come to Dublin, I don't look or sound like an alcoholic as everyone there is already drunk."
Having grown up in a small town in Louisiana, as a young adult Bianca moved to New York City, where she worked as a costumer on Broadway. By day, she spent her time sewing, crafting, and hand-embroidering outfits that would be worn by cast members of musicals like Wicked and The Lion King . By night, she would throw on a pair of lashes, heels and a wig, and entertain the crowds in various gay bars in Downtown Manhattan.
At times, Bianca performed for as little as four people. Cut to today, and she is selling-out 4,000-capacity theatres. Despite her success, Bianca remains humble: she never takes anything for granted. "You can't get lost in the idea of it and think, 'My world is set', because you never know how long anything is going to last. You still have to work, which I think is why I work harder now than I ever have - My work ethic hasn't changed but the appreciation is a lot bigger."
Soaring to fame in 2014, after being crowned America's Next Drag Superstar, Bianca has become well known on the drag circuit for her sharp tongue, her harsh eye make-up, her quick-fire wit - and the impression she does of Judge Judy.
Regarded as one of the most successful and polished queens to ever appear on RuPaul's Drag Race , Bianca is the only contestant never to have scored below safe in the weekly challenges.
The cult of Drag Race is growing. Dolls are being made of some of the more famous competitors, drag conventions are being run across the US, and The George hosts events at least once a month where Irish viewers can meet alumni from the show. Many viewers have gone to bizarre lengths to meet their favourite contestants. Bianca has had her fair share of unusual fan encounters!
"The worst was when a woman mailed me a catheter," says Bianca, "which you use to urinate. You stick it in your penis to urinate to save yourself from going to the bathroom and she thought that would be the ideal gift to send me. And she wrote out a well-worded letter explaining how it would work. I guess she wanted to make sure I was OK!"
Expect The Unexpected
Whilst some fans feel giving queens special gifts is the perfect way to express their love, many others do so by getting tattoos featuring contestants' faces. Past contestants have spoken about fans getting their face inked across chests and in some case, buttocks. Bianca finds the fad utterly bizarre, albeit flattering.
"They start off with my face and then two years later it will look like a picture of Marilyn Manson. It's very weird to me. It just shows the global impact of Drag Race."
However, not all fan interactions are positive. Many contestants have reported receiving threats of violence and death. Bianca, with her cut-throat sense of humor and no-nonsense attitude, is known for taking no prisoners when anyone comes for her.
"I do find it quite funny when somebody has a lot to say - we call them keyboard warriors. People have too much time on their hands. Especially for me in particular, if you're concerned with what I'm doing, then you're focusing on the wrong thing. I'm a man in a wig. All of it is a joke. Rather than say something hateful to them, I just know in my heart that one day they're going to die - and that makes me feel a lot better."
Despite travelling non-stop over the past four years, Bianca remains politically aware. Coming from a Latino household, she has strong opinions on the current climate in the US.
"America's fucked up right now. The worst part is that it's not so much the arrogance of this big bloated bigoted child we have as President, it's the people who support it and it's brought out a lot of hate and racism - and not in a funny way. It's disturbing - and it's not just gays who are going to struggle from this. I'm embarrassed that I'm from a country that should be a little more progressive than this."
Upon being told about Ireland's recent progress with the Repeal movement, as well as legalising equal marriage in 2015, Bianca heralds the country as an example for how the rest of the world should be going.
"Anytime there's progress in something, I think it's great. I think you should be able to marry who you want and do what you want to do with your own body!"
Always using comedy as a means of coping with difficult issues, Bianca talks about the importance of keeping people happy in the face of such hard times."You have the deal with real life as it is, so any time you can make a joke about it you should. Sadly, it's not the way it works all the time, but if it takes a drag queen, then I hope it works."
Her Dublin show is almost sold-out.
"Expect the unexpected," she advises. "I have a portion of the show that is scripted but then I do a lot of stuff with the audience. The magic happens when we are in the room together because I can't help myself and say something shady."
Blame It On Bianca performs at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin on August 6.
Tickets available from Ticketmaster.