Drag Race Finalist Divina di Campo: ‘Drag Is Already So Fake, It’s Nice To Have A Bit Of Honesty Somewhere’

The drag legend talks to Grazia about growing up on Lily Savage, hating competitions and getting recognised in Aldi.


by Paul Flynn |
Updated on

Can you walk me through your look today?

I’ve got this fellow in Manchester who makes my stuff for me. Currently he’s got a huge mountain of material to get through. The brief here was for an Erté, 20s elegance with vaginal sleeves. I was hoping for a bit more elegance and less panto, to be honest. For my make-up, there’s always a touch of Divine. My look is: it’s on, let’s go.

Why do you think you’ve got to this stage of Drag Race?

Well, I’ve had a long time to cook. Everyone else is on the newer, fresher side. I’m 36 now, 35 at time of filming, there’s a lot of moisturiser employed on this face. Even though I’m a neurotic psychopath, I’m also very determined. Lots of people were saying to me, are you going to apply? And I just thought, why wouldn’t I give myself that opportunity.

I hate competitions. I find them terrifying. I spent my entire time there being terrified I would be sent home. Every ten minutes I thought somebody’s going to walk in here and go, Divina, we’ve made a mistake, we meant a different person so can you just pack your stuff and leave? Then we can get them in. Now, it’s fine.

What do you think people have seen in you?

I did quite a bit of TV before and every time its just been tits and teeth, show-mode. I went into the competition trying really hard to be myself, open and honest, so if I’m terrified I’ll say ‘I’m fucking terrified.’ Drag is already so fake, it’s nice to have a bit of honesty somewhere.

What’s the biggest difference to Divina in and out of drag?

I don’t think there’s that much difference between Divina and Owen. Owen’s a bit more serious and more happy to talk about politics and religion and all the things you shouldn’t really talk about when you’re on stage.

So Divina doesn’t have an opinion on Brexit?

Er… yeah, Brexit’s a fucking fool’s errand. It’s been a course of action pursued by the Conservative party to try and settle some internal struggles. All it’s done is fractured the nation. A bunch of posh boys have fucked us all up.

I guess Divina would have an opinion on that. I mean, drag is, after all, about inclusion.

Yeah. And it’s also a bit of picking that scab of how you’re supposed to behave. As a drag queen, you go ‘is that really true or not?’ And of course, it’s not.

Who was the first drag queen you were aware of?

Watching Lily Savage, in the kitchen, talking about balls bouncing off your chin, as my mum walks into the kitchen. For me, the joy of British drag is the nudge-nudge-wink-wink thing. It’s that idea of Danny LaRue: create the image, then shatter it.

What did RuPaul mean to you before you met?

For ten years, we’ve all been watching this programme. Be quiet, shut up, we’re watching. Drag moves in cycles in the UK and it brought it right back. It’s created this underground cult following and now it feels like the UK is ready for drag again. I’ve worked with loads from the US show and the one who’s always been lovely, delivered and been an absolute professional has been Bianca Del Rio. Always super supportive. All of them are super lovely. I haven’t worked with any that I’ve thought, god, I wish you were dead. Yet. Bianca, for me is so much closer to what a British queen is like already.

How has being in Drag Race changed your life?

Now I get recognised in the random aisle of Aldi. People go, can we have a picture? Yes, of course – and why am I looking at this? It’s much more often now when I’m out of drag.

What was your personal favourite look of the season?

I really liked my shopping bag look. I really liked my genetically modified look, where I’m the swamp thing.

Who’s been your favourite celebrity judge?

OMG, Andrew Garfield. Give me a man in flares any day of the week. Yes, please! He was funny, totally gets it.

Which queen were you happiest to sashay away?

I really liked them all. There was honestly nobody that I was like, I really hope they fuck off home.

What will the show do for drag in the UK?

It’ll give the apple cart a bit of a shake. There’s still this pull between old and new school in the UK, very much a tussle between the two. Old school was always more about what you do on stage. There is a shift in the UK and all it will do is push people to elevate themselves. There are always new skills to be learned.

What financial benefits has being in Drag Race brought to you?

Absolutely none so far. Baga’s doing very well, thank you. It will up my fee. I hope so, anyway. I’ve got a mortgage to pay. I’ve just recorded an EP and the director of the video had just coming from working with Nicki Minaj. Obviously, I was the superior of the two.

Has it done anything for your love life?

Well, I’m still married. He hasn’t died yet.

What’s the single thing you’ve leanred most about yourself from taking part in UK Drag Race?

That I hate competition. But if you want to move forward in your career, which I do, you have to keep putting yourself into positions that do make you uncomfortable. It took me out of my box, completely.

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