The Vivienne became a superstar as the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, and now she’s taking the US by storm in the all-winners season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. The actor and performer told Shadow and Act that it’s been a “dream come true” to be a part of this season.
“I’ve always wanted to do Drag Race again. Drag Race is a place you can really flourish and stretch the muscles that you don’t get to stretch on an everyday basis in drag,” she said. “But you know, when you come off a season that you’ve won, you think, ‘That’s it, you can’t go back. You can’t do All Stars.’ Then there were the rumors of the winners season. And then, you know, I got the call [to join the season] and it was all very quick. So it’s just a dream come true.”
She said that she “fell in love” with the original American seasons, which “has such a huge fan base worldwide, in every corner of the earth.” She said it’s “been so beautiful” to welcome American fans into her personal world of drag.
As fans of hers already know, The Vivienne’s calling card is stellar acting. One of the things she was looking forward to on All Stars, in fact, were the acting challenges.
“Anything to do with acting [I love.] I love the acting challenges and we got to do two–one was improv and one was scripted–and I love a character I can sink my teeth into,” she said. “I [also] got to do a roast, which I’d never done before on Drag Race. I’ve done roasts in the past and on Comedy Central, but to do a roast on Drag Race with a bunch of queens is always fun.”
“The graduation speech [challenge] as well [was], in essence, another comedy challenge,” she continued. “Every challenge has been fun apart from the TikTok one, I didn’t like that one,” she said with a laugh.
This season, viewers saw how the edit–a character in its own right–was trying to make it seem like The Vivienne and Jinkx Monsoon had a rivalry going on since both are excellent actors and improv performers. The Vivienne said that what we actually saw was “friendly competition,” especially since they are friends in real life.
“Well, the funny thing is when you’re acting or doing improv, you need someone at the top of [their] game to make it good. So, you know, there’s nothing worse doing a scene with someone who’s a bit crap,” she said. “So when you’re with Jinkx Monsoon, you know the scene’s gonna be great. You’ve just gotta do your role the best you can, but you know you have a great scene partner. Me and Jinkx really got on. You know you don’t see everything on TV. You don’t see the great fun we have cackling, laughing at the same references and screaming our Bette Davis impressions at each other all day long.”
“I think the keywords are ‘friendly competition’ and Jinkx even said at the end, ‘I wish we didn’t meet in a competition setting,” because you put drag queens in a room and sometimes a competition isn’t the best place to meet. But we’re great friends,” she said, adding how it’s easy for fans to twist the narratives created within the series. “We were [friends] on the show, we’re friends off the show, and me and Jinkx have already talked how we’re going to have a show. We’re always messaging each other silly ideas for numbers in shows and I can’t wait until we both can find some time to work on something together because I don’t think we realized how similar we both are in our style of comedy and acting. So…you wanna go up against the best, especially in challenges like acting and comedy. I think she found herself saying,’ Every time The Viv does something…I wish I had thought of that.'” And I’d be the same with Jinkx. It definitely shows that we appreciate each other so much and, I mean, she’s Jinkx Monsoon–what more do you need to say?”
The final challenge in the series found the queens performing in a variety show for the charities of their choice. The Vivienne sang an original song, “Bitch on Heels,” written by songwriter Diane Warren. She said the biggest challenge of narrowing down her talent to just one minute.
“You get 60 seconds and the stuff that I do, I can’t do in 60 seconds. So I kind of narrowed it down to what I should do. Um, And I think singing the song was the, was the best thing I did,” she said. “There’s so much I could have done, but in the 60 seconds you just think, ‘Make it sharp, make it punchy, make it fun, make it good,’ and the judges really liked it. So I got to showcase my single written by the gorgeous Diane Warren and I enjoyed it.
Since coming to America, The Vivienne said her drag has evolved thanks to the moments the all-winners season presented, such as outrageous runways and intense challenges.
“I got to do things that…you don’t get to do, like having a spike-themed outfit [runway]–would I have done that? Probably not,” she said. “I’ve gotten to show how my drag has evolved, I’m on tour in America, it’s crazy. I’m currently on a 37-city tour of America with the most amazing queens, a huge production, and…I went on the show to expand and I think it’s definitely served its purpose in that way and to just meet so many new, amazing fans that have been fans from [Drag Race UK] and some that haven’t…it’s been just such a warm and nice experience. And I think this time around the vitriol and hate online has been at a minimum which has been nice to see. I think there’s been a universal agreement of ‘Let’s just have fun this time,’ because I think people are getting bored with the hate and cattiness.”
While the drama online might be, thankfully, at an all-time low, the drama on Drag Race All Stars is still at a fever pitch, with one last surprise for the queens who didn’t make it to the lip sync smackdown for the title of Queen of All Queens. The Vivienne, who didn’t make it to the smackdown, could still be in the running for something major. As a hint for the finale, she had this one phrase: “Strap in.”
The final episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars streams Friday on Paramount+.