Drag Race’s Baga Chipz: ‘I Wouldn’t Say I’m Classy But I’m More Professional Now’

The self-proclaimed Nana of RuPaul talks Twiggy, throwing shade and life after Drag Race with Grazia.

Baga Chipz

by Paul Flynn |
Updated on

Can you talk me through your exact make-up look, Baga?

I’m more of a performer so you’re just getting a bit of slap-it-on when it comes to the make-up.

What do you think it is about you that’s got you to this stage of the competition?

I think I’m very televisual, as a person. They’re making a TV show at the end of the day and I am an absolute tit, so that helps. I take the piss out of myself. I’m the entertainment, the grit in the ointment on the VTs.

Does it surprise you that you’ve got this far?

Er… yes! I thought I’d be on for a week, three max. Every week has been a bit, what the hell? But I must be doing something right. They must like something about me. So I stick to it. I can only be myself.

What does Rupaul represent to you?

Ru is just everything, isn’t she? She looks absolutely amazing, she loves her pop culture references. She invented some of them. Supermodel, Glamazon, she’s brought a whole culture to the masses.

Were you worried that British Drag Race wouldn’t be received in the same way that the US version is?

On the first day I was like, right, this is basically exactly the same as the American one but with different accents. I thought it might feel like a spin-off, a cheap version, but no, it looks exactly the same and works the same. The runway, the judges, all the same but with British accents and references. You’ve had the Queen, our hometown looks, you’ve got the [Birmingham] Bullring and Camden.

What’s the essential difference between Baga Chipz in and out of drag?

Out of all the girls, I’d say that I’m exactly the same, aren’t I? With a frock on. I’m the same when I’m a bloke as I am when I’m in drag. Probably a bit more confident with a frock on. I’ve always been a gobshite though. I don’t really get nerves. I always think, right, let’s wing it. Worst that happen is that someone says ‘that’s shite’ and if they don’t like it, there’s Wetherspoons up the road, so they’re welcome to fuck off.

What’s the major change that being on Drag Race has brought to the life of Baga Chipz?

I’d say I’m more professional now. Before gigs, I’d always have a few bevvies, gin and tonic or a Jaeger Bomb. Before, I’d wear any old shite. For some gigs I wouldn’t even wear lashes or nails. Now, I’ve got to keep it all up.

Heaven forbid, Baga, is this making a classy lady out of you?

Well, I wouldn’t go that far. I wouldn’t say classy but I am a bit more prepared, a bit more professional.

You’re not quite Baga Caviar yet?

Not yet, no.

On a serious note here, one person’s common is another person’s working class and the British drag tradition is defiantly working class. Are you representing for that?

I’m working class, I’m from a rough council estate from the Black Country. We didn’t have a pot to piss in when I was a kid, so my act and my character is rough as arseholes. It’s back to Lily Savidge, a quite similar character, who was the first drag queen I ever saw on TV, on Blankety Blank and The Big Breakfast. What’s this? Is it a man, a woman? I didn’t even know what drag was, I just knew it was funny and camp.

What’s been your favourite look of the season?

None of them! I look like a bag o’ shite most of the time, but I do bring it in the challenges and that’s 80% of it. I liked the At The Races theme, I do a Liz Taylor in Canary yellow with hair of carnations. I thought my Queen was good and I quite liked being Lazer Minelli.

Which queen were you happiest to see sashay away?

To be fair, we’ve all got on really well and it was horrible to see anyone go. We’d always have a laugh in the work room. I was never happy for someone to go, I was more happy for me not to go. I would’ve liked us all to stay, taking the piss out of each other.

Which of the celebrity judges were you most impressed by?

I loved Twiggy. She’s very kind, she’s a legend, a British icon, the best supermodel. I said to her, you’re a Dame, I’m an MBE, finally! Two fashions icons colliding.

What does the BBC’s endorsement mean for UK drag culture?

The BBC’s the biggest corporation in the world. Our adverts are on before Strictly Come Dancing, watched by millions of people. There are little boys and girls watching that, it means something. You don’t have to be gay to like drag queens, we’re entertainers, performers. Just like you don’t have to play football to like it.

What financial benefits do you expect to get out of Drag Race?

It’s already happened, love. I’ve made in a month what I’d make in six usually. There’s been offer after offer, gigs, advertising. I can actually say, for the first time in my life, I am financially secure. If I see a nice frock in the window of Quiz in Westfield, I don’t have to think about it anymore.

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

I literally went on the show thinking I’d be brutal, hog the cameras, hog the limelight and it was actually the exact opposite. Oh shit. I actually like these people. Before this show, I had a heart like a swinging brick. If you opened me up for heart surgery, you’d find a lump of coal. Now? She’s got a heart. I’m like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz

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