Drag star, comedian and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” 2014 winner Bianca Del Rio brings it in her new book.
In the pages “Blame It On Bianca Del Rio: The Expert On Everything With An Opinion On Everything,” the author (the alter ego of actor and costume designer Roy Haylock) is every bit the comedy fireball she is on stage, delivering commentary on topics including romance, health, friendship, sex, family, style, work and more. Which, she is quick to add, you probably shouldn’t follow.
“Anybody who’s asking a 42-year-old drag queen for advice deserves the advice that I give them. For me, everything is a joke, including me in a wig. I’m the biggest joke there is. Sympathy is not part of my drag aesthetic. If you’re going to ask me a question, I should give you the worst advice possible because, really, there’s not enough people committing suicide in this world. I could help them out.”
Del Rio was a fixture on the New Orleans drag scene before Hurricane Katrina forced her to relocate to New York. But appearing on the sixth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” launched her to international fame, allowing her to tour the world with her aggressive brand of insult comedy.
Del Rio said she’s glad she was a seasoned and established performer before she competed on “Drag Race.”
“I’ve done drag for 22 years, but things definitely changed for me after being on television,” she said. “I’m grateful I did it when I was 37 and had a clear idea of what I wanted to do.”
There’s a certain protocol for most “Drag Race” contestants, said Del Rio. “They go into music, music videos or more of a pop-star lane, and that was never going to be for me. Getting to travel and do standup with an audience has been my favorite. And because of ‘Drag Race,’ I’ve been able to double and triple that. That doesn’t go unnoticed on a daily basis by me because I was that person in a club with four people on a Monday night in New York City. I know the difference between not having work and having work.”
Her time as a performer in New Orleans, instead of cities such as New York or Los Angeles, helped to set her apart from other queens who have been featured on the show.
“I don’t fit into the same mold as most of the other queens,” said Del Rio. “No offense to them.
New Orleans had a huge part in it because it’s a party town and a drinking town. I’m a seasoned drinker. When you can drink at 17 years old, and you can drink on the streets, it definitely changed my outlook on life.”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” is in its 10th season.
Since its debut, drag as an art form has become mainstream. Drag has gone from something at a gay club to something you can see in straight venues and on tv. Del Rio said this has generally been a good thing.
“With everything, there’s good and bad,” she said. “I truly think it’s amazing to have drag queens on the television in people’s living rooms on a Thursday night. That’s pretty amazing. For me, I get to travel everywhere. This current tour started in Amsterdam and went to Hong Kong and Singapore and Australia. That many people are interested in drag. Ru has said that he had never thought drag would be mainstream, which I have to differ with. I do see the appeal, and the majority of my audience is straight, which is quite shocking.”
No matter how mainstream drag gets, Del Rio will always be a sharp-tongued performer in the tradition of icons such as Joan Rivers and Don Rickles, and not giving a damn about who might get offended.
“I think people are stupid, number one,” she said. “Everybody is offended by something now and that’s really fucking ridiculous. A joke is a joke, and lighten the fuck up. I took a photo with a turban and people said it was cultural appropriation. I think the appropriation began when I started dressing as a woman, you dumb fuck. Not everyone is a role model. I don’t want to be your role model and I don’t owe you shit.”
“Blame It On Bianca Del Rio: The Expert On Everything With An Opinion On Everything” hits stores May 22. For more information visit http://thebiancadelrio.com.