god save the queen

The Vivienne dishes on her most chaotic tour mate and being snubbed from the Top 4 in ‘All Stars 7’

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Okay, we’ll say it: The Vivienne totally deserved a spot in the Top 4.

In a season of All Stars 7 without the twists—no platinum plunger, no gifted stars, no three-star prizes—Viv’s three maxi challenge wins would’ve tied her with Monét X Change, just trailing Trinity The Tuck and Jinkx Monsoon in total Legendary Legend stars.

Of course, we know it wouldn’t be RuPaul’s Drag Race without the twists, and all of the queens have gagged us during this truly transcendent edition of All Stars. But bloody h*ll did The Viv wow us all season long with her polished performances, stunning mug, and spot-on character work.

Yes, the original crowned queen of Drag Race UK put up quite the fight, winning over a new gaggle of fans across the pond in the process. And while she’s still in contention to be named “The Queen Of She Done Already Done Had Herses,” her journey to a second crown ended after the “Drag Race Gives Back Variety Extravaganza” this past week.

With that in mind, it was the perfect time for Queerty to call up Viv and reflect on her triumphant season that was. In the midst of her whirlwind War On The Catwalk tour, The Vivienne spoke with us about her fierce collab with the Oscar-robbed songwriter Diane Warren, her—literal—head-to-head friendship with Jinkx, her honest thoughts on that final multi-star twist, and so much more.

Queerty: Since you’re an official Drag Race legend, it’s only fitting that Hollywood will make a biopic about you one day. Who would you cast to play yourself and why?

The Vivienne: Oh, Faye Dunaway! Faye Dunaway all day. But I want her to play it as Joan Crawford as Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford as Faye Dunaway as… The Vivienne. Just a whole “multiverse” or Joan Crawford-ness. 

Screenshot Credit: (left) Paramount+, World Of Wonder, (right) Paramount Pictures

When we asked the same question of Trinity, she actually said it should be you at plays her! What do you think, are you up for it?

Oh, I mean, yeah, I’d have to get a lot more filler! But I’d do it. I think I’ve got her accent down. And it is usually a requirement for the person playing you to be prettier than you, so I suppose it works out! [Laughs.]

So, in this week’s episode, we have our customary Tic Tac chats, and in yours, you opened up a bit about being nervous at the start of the season. Looking back, what was the turning point for you? What or who really helped you let your guard down in the competition?

Remembering back to filming and, I think it was definitely [“Fairytale Justice”] where I kind of snapped myself out of it. Because there was there was such a huge expectation of, A, you have to perform amazingly, B, you’re representing your country and British drag, and, C, you’re competing against these huge American characters and legends. 

And it was actually Trinity The Tuck that was like, “Well, girl, you better show your [strength]—don’t let these queens overpower you.” She was like, “I know how amazing you are, you need to just just do it.” And that was the realization that, you know, we’re all queens and we were all probably nervous in that situation. We all have a crown, we will always have a crown —even if there was an even bigger crown on the line. So Trinity was always a good voice of reason who snapped me out of it. 

But I do think from [that] episode onwards, I was just fully in my groove. You know, I got that first win under my belt, when I got my first star, that really just broke the shell and is when I realized that, “Yes, you’re here for a reason. You’re just as good as these girls. So got out and win some more challenges!”

So, speaking of challenges, for the variety show, you gave us a “B*tch On Heels” performance, which was so fun, and I somehow didn’t realize Diane Warren had written it! How did that collaboration come about?

Yeah, I mean, that was just such an epic moment. I had never set out to do music or anything— it was always just a bit of fun, a bit of content. I never thought I was going to have nothing in the charts. And then, all of a sudden, my manager messaged me, and he’s like, “Do you know who Diane Warren is?” I was like, “Umm… Yes! Like, Cher, Aerosmith, Celine Dion—all my favorite artists, she’s written all of their biggest hits. Like, it’s insane. Lady Gaga

So they were like, “Well, she has a song…” And the next minute it was me and Diana just chatting, just on Instagram messenger having a blast. Her literal words were, “F*ck yes, let’s make it a f*cking hit!” [Laughs.] So, you know, it was in the Top 10 on the iTunes charts! But yeah, maybe let’s do a little rerelease? Maybe like a rock version of it? Who knows!

Oh yeah, it was definitely giving rock star. I mean, once people are able to look past how hot the backup dancers are, they’ll see what an incredible performance it is.

[Laughs.] Oh yeah. Side note: You’re welcome, America, for my choice of dance costumes—or lack thereof, I should say.

Right, so that was all part of the strategy then!

Oh, of course! [Laughs.]

But I did want to ask about Diane Warren, because she’s written so many major songs—do you have a favorite of hers?

I mean, you can’t pick one! There’s “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me,” there’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing,” Cher’s “Believe,” “Jessie James”—you couldn’t [pick.] Every song is a hit!

And can we please start the movement of giving Diane Warren her bloody Oscar? I mean, how many times do we need the nomination with no win! She’s been robbed so many times.

 

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Unfortunately, by the end of the episode, we find out you didn’t make it to the final four, and that announcement all happens very quickly. Can you take me back to that moment? What was going through your head as you were standing up there on stage?

I felt absolutely heartbroken. I completely just broke down—I can’t control my tears on the runway. It’s hard! I’d won three challenges and, you know, other people didn’t. And yet there they are in the finale—but nothing against those queens! I think that Monét was phenomenal in the talent show, and I think Shea was phenomenal in the talent show… Now, I’m not sure if it warranted three stars each! [Laughs.] But everyone loves a twist!

Right, I guess it wouldn’t be Drag Race without a twist.

Despite your feelings about the stars, I think it was sweet to see [in Untucked] how moved you were by Monét’s performance, in particular.

Oh yeah, she really made me cry! Monét was just fabulous in that talent show, just phenomenal. 

And that she just blasts that out? You know, we all knew—she’d said for years, “Oh yeah, I’m trained in opera,” and we’re like, “Well, just do it girl; do it!” And then all of a sudden, there she was. Yeah, really I’m a crier, so if it’s anything creative or having to do with performance, I would just sit and cry my eyes out. And she definitely did that!

 

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Stars aside, you did have a really strong run, and that’s undeniable. Looking back, what would you say you were able to accomplish with this season? 

Oh my goodness. I mean, the biggest selling point for me to do this show is to open up to a huge, huge audience worldwide. You know, Drag Race UK has a huge audience, but American Drag Race—the US franchise, the O.G.— is worldwide, every corner of the planet. It’s insane, the love that has been shown—even from people that hadn’t watched season one [of UK], but have gone back and watched it! And I’ve been able to just meet these amazing people and have a whole new fanbase, in addition to my current fans, and the love has been amazing. 

I’ve shown a much more human side to me on this season. You know, we had the fun little quarrels, but there’s nothing serious. I think you can see, I could sit into it and have fun and relax. And I think people have seen a nicer side to the competition. To be able to [compete] against people like Jinx was mind-blowing.

Speaking of Jinkx, you two literally went head-to-head in that Teen Vogue interview—everyone’s been sharing the clip of you head-butting her, which looked painful!

[Laughs.] Everyone thought I was head-butting Jinkx, but it was literally—we’re actors and it was a “stage head-butt,” and she reacted perfectly!

But, no, me and Jinkx have become such good friends. You know, it looks on the show like it’s this rivalry, but it was such a friendly rivalry. We’d always laugh and joke, we’d always play Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, we’d always be doing voices together, always referencing stupid old movies. And we would just be cackling all day long and talking about what we’re going to do after the show, like “Should we tour together?,” and things like that. And I think the fans can see that—the mood has definitely been like, ”When are you and Jinkx going to tour together?” So, who knows? Keep your eyes peeled!

Outside of your Drag Race UK crowning, when was the first time in your career that you’d say that you felt like a winner? What did that moment mean to you?

Yeah, apart from having that crown and having that scepter be put in your hand by RuPaul, it’s just been being able to do crazy stuff where you’ve just got to pinch yourself!

You know, I’ve done 60 TV shows since Drag Race—sitting on shows like Celebrity Juice, “Celebrity This,” Celebrity That,” and you go, “Oh my god, I’ve watched these show for years!” And now, to be cast on some of them—you know, because The U.K. has a very big celebrity culture where, if you’ve been on TV, you’re part of the gang, and that’s it! And you can continue to do it. It’s such a big thing in The U.K. 

And, I mean, to get messages from, like, Diane Warren, and Cara Delevingne, who’s just like, “Hey, I’m obsessed with you! Do want to hang out?” And, like, yeah!? And now, every day—I woke up this morning on the tour bus halfway across America to do two hours of press. I mean, you couldn’t feel more like a winner! [Laughs.]

You’re obviously getting to see so much of the country [with the War On The Catwalk show] —you’re literally on the tour bus right now—have you stopped somewhere that you’ve been completely surprised by?

I’m just surprised by the audiences more than anything. I’m just so glad we’re getting to see cities and towns outside of LA, New York, and Florida—which are the usual places that I go to work. It’s nice to see the smaller [cities]—like we did Kalamazoo, we did a place called Sioux Falls in South Dakota last night, which is this tiny, beautiful town, but the fans were really showing up for it, and it’s so good.

And there are so many incredible girls, just an amazing group of queens. It’s phenomenal that we’re family already. Like, Kylie Sonique Love just left us last night, and we were all so sad. But, yeah, it’s been great—amazing girls, which makes it half the battle.

As a final note, who’s the most chaotic tour mate?

Oh, Kita Mean from Down Under. I’m obsessed with her, but, my god, we are trouble when we’re together. I think we’re the Patsy and Edina [of Absolutely Fabulous] of the tour. [Laughs.]

 

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