After getting a Double Shantay on the latest episode of RuPaul's Drag Race UK season three, Charity Kase and Scarlett Harlett found themselves in the exact same position during episode five. This time, though, Charity and Scarlett went head-to-head in a lip sync to Shirley Bassey's "Big Spender" – ironically, a song written for the musical Sweet Charity.
In the end, Scarlett was deemed the winner of this lip sync and Charity was asked to sashay away...
Speaking to Out, Charity Kase addressed her overall performance on Drag Race UK and opened up about how hard she fought for her drag to be validated in this series.
Warning! Spoilers for Drag Race UK season three, episode five ahead!
Out: How's your day going?
Charity Kase: It's going okay. I'm very, very tired, to be completely honest. It's been a long, long day and I didn't really get any sleep last night, so I am trying my best.
I wanted to start off by saying that I think you are a fantastic queen who has a very unique point of view. You really brought so much to the competition on RuPaul's Drag Race UK. What are some of your cultural references when doing drag?
A lot of my references come from mythology and folklore. A lot of my references come from modern media such as film, TV, and literature – anything fantasy-based. I'm very inspired by certain directors, like Quentin Tarantino, like Ryan Murphy for example, like John Waters. So, I have a lot of kooky references in there but altogether mashed up with my life experiences to create this aesthetic.
Are there any Drag Race queens of the past that made you feel like your type of drag would be valid on this show?
I mean, I know you're asking me to say Sharon Needles [laughs], but I'm not going to because everyone says that I remind them of Sharon Needles. And don't get me wrong, I do see it, but to me that's like saying Miss Cracker reminds you of Bianca Del Rio. Just because we're both a bit dark, that doesn't mean that we're similar in any sort of way...and the same goes with Yvie [Oddly] or Jimbo. Just because we're all alternative queens, to put us in a box and say that we're all similar is really limiting. I don't think Sharon Needles has ever looked like this, or would ever look like this. So, I'm not going to say that there is, actually, no. I mean, until they said that they wanted me on the show, I wasn't sure that they would.
Coming into this episode, you had just been saved by a Double Shantay along with Scarlett. I don't think anyone ever expects a Double Shantay, so I'm going to assume you didn't expect it either. I'm curious to understand what you were experiencing at that moment. Did you think that you were probably going home because Scarlett had a RuPeter badge, or did you think that you were safe because she made more mistakes?
I thought I was safe, because I think I did quite well in the girl group challenge, if I'm honest with you. I've watched myself in that girl group challenge over and over and over again, and I do not know what they're talking about. I think I did a great job. [laughs] Maybe I'm delusional, but I thought I gave a lot of character and a lot of energy and that I hit every beat and stuff. So, I don't think I deserved to be in the bottom, if I'm honest. I also gave everything in that lip sync...I really, really did. Obviously you can only see certain bits of it in a lip sync, but I really did give it my all, and Scarlet put less effort into it. And she knows she did, we've spoken about it since. So, I guess I felt like I was safe because I gave a better lip sync, if I'm honest. But then, it's not up to me at the end of the day, unfortunately, otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here, would I? [laughs]
You described your runway look for this episode as an "evil tooth fairy" who was stealing your money. Why do you think your vision didn't resonate with the judges?
I think it wasn't really about my concept, I think it was more about the look itself, and I think when you're wearing such an intricate and gorgeous garment...I mean, if I'm going to be honest with you, I think that the reason that the judges don't connect with my makeup and would rather I looked pretty and looked a certain way in drag is because society tells us our whole lives that that is the way to be, and that that is better. That being tiny waist, gorgeous hips, shaved legs, big lips is absolutely perfect and there's no other way to be. And that's why I do what I do, I stand against that. So, not only during the competition did I feel like I was fighting against the judges' opinions, which were that my drag wasn't to their taste, but I'm also fighting against the social stereotypes of what it means to be a woman...which I think it's important that we do as men taking the piss out of what it means to be a man. I think it's important that we do that for women as well.
One of your biggest critiques this episode was that the judges wanted to see the person underneath the drag. But I feel like we saw you very clearly in the red carpet look from episode two and the campfire look in episode three. I mean, you looked beautiful.
So, did that critique take you by surprise, since you did do different looks?
I mean, it didn't take me by surprise. I was not surprised. I was very much expecting that critique at some point. But yeah, I was disappointed to get that critique because I felt like I had showcased the traditional beauty side of what I can do. And not only just a little bit — I felt like I'd showcased it on the runway, like you said, on two occasions, and I felt like I'd proven that. So, to try and ask me to tone it down or to change up my look to aesthetically please somebody else, or to aesthetically please somebody who prefers the look of a shaved leg and a big boob, I'm sorry but that goes against what I stand for. I'm not going to change myself to appease social stereotypes of what it means to be a woman. In fact, I'm going to change myself further in the opposite direction to fight them even more, because I think it's important. Like I said, my drag is political, it has a meaning. I'm not here to reinforce pressures that are put on young women to look a certain way. I'm here to break them.
But to your point, you did expect that critique to come up at some point?
Yes, I did expect it to come up, yeah. I knew it would come up. It comes up every time, and that's why I was so, so grateful that episode two I was able to bring out my red carpet look, and I was like, 'Yes, I'm showing versatility!' So, I think to be told, 'Oh, we'd like to see this [look be] pretty,' or to be called one-note, or to be saying that I'm not versatile...I found it almost laughable, and it just really opened my eyes to the point where I was like, 'Okay, I'm happy to leave now, to be honest.' Because I'd given it everything and my everything isn't what they're after. And I don't do drag for RuPaul, I don't drag for Michelle Visage, I do drag for me. I do my drag for me, and for people that enjoy it, and for people that it speaks to and it connects to and that it helps. And so I needed to remind myself of that, and so I did.
You seemed to be very close with the other queens throughout the entire season. But at the start of this episode, there seemed to be some tension between you, to the point that you were the last queen to get picked for a group. What do you think happened between you and the other queens going into this episode?
I think there wasn't any tension between me and the other girls in general, but I think that...so, for episode one, I expected to be in the top, so when I wasn't, that got to me a little bit. And then in episode two, I did really rubbish and I was really embarrassed. And then in episode three, again, I expected to be in the top because I worked really hard on my garment and I was really proud of it. And for a long time I didn't know how much this was [me being] delusional, whether I was living in a fantasy world and my opinions are just so crazy. So, it's really nice to wait now for it to come out and to hear the validation and support that I've been looking for, for all this time. But there weren't particular tensions, it was more me being in my head and me being negative. I mean, the fact that I'd lip synced the day before, that means you're definitely one of the last to be picked because you're the bottom of the pile. And like I say, I'd walked in the workroom for the last few days just saying, 'I'm not sure I want to be here anymore. I feel like I've made the wrong decision coming here.' And that's okay, I'm allowed to feel like that, because I felt really disappointed in myself and I felt really frustrated that my looks weren't coming across to the judges and I was basically crumbling down. So, I can understand why they picked me last. If I was them, I would probably have picked me last as well. [laughs]
I get that. It's a shame, though, that you felt that way, because you absolutely deserved to be there, and I think you should have won a RuPeter badge during one of these weeks.
Oh, thank you. I would have loved to have won a RuPeter badge. I tried my best, but my drag just wasn't what they were looking for, and that's okay. I can't expect everybody to support my drag, and I'm not going to sit here and be a sore loser like, 'Oh, I deserved to win that. I deserved to win this.' At the end of the day, it's not my decision, and it's a competition show. So, we're going onto a show knowing that we're going to be judged for something that is subjective, that everyone has different opinions over, and my opinion is clearly very different from RuPaul's. That was the takeaway, I think.
In this episode, RuPaul made it very clear that she didn't like any of the adverts, and you were all seemingly surprised. What was going through your head when RuPaul gave all those critiques?
When RuPaul said that he hated both our adverts, I was cacking myself. I was like, 'Okay, well, I'm going home.' That's how I felt in my head because I knew that not only had I taken charge of this group, but that I'd been quite negative in the past couple of days, that I lip synced the day before. I don't know, I just felt a sense of utter defeat. I really did. I felt like if we had maybe won that challenge then I would have been safe, but that was the only way I was going to be safe at that point. And like I say, I don't want to say given up, because I hadn't given up, I was still giving it my all and showcasing what I do, but my heart was no longer in it at that point.
When Ru asked the queens who should go home next, most of them said Scarlett, but your name also came up a few times. How did it feel to hear those things said by your peers on the runway?
Absolutely amazing. The best feeling in the world. [laughs] No, it wasn't fun to hear it, but we all had to say a name. It was okay, it's not the end of the world. I knew I was being negative, I'm very self-aware. I'm not oblivious to the effect that me saying I didn't want to be there was having on people, me saying that I wasn't having fun was having on people. But at the end of the day, I managed to snap out of it for both challenges, and I did that, and I turned it out, and I am proud of that. But being put in the lip sync twice in a row after feeling like I was really trying was really just, knocked it out of me, and I really just wanted to go to bed. A bit like Ginny Lemon said.
In the Untucked section, Scarlett had a hard time getting called out by the other queens and she even had to leave the room. What was going through your mind at that moment?
I mean, it was so intense. All I was thinking about was the fact that I was lip syncing and probably going home. And I was just trying to help Scarlett and lift her up, because I think I would have felt the same in her position, and I was partly responsible for that. Because I didn't work with her on the mini-challenge earlier in the day, which was completely my doing and completely a misstep on my behalf, and then on stage she feels like she's being called out by people she thought respected her, and I can completely see where she got that mindset from. I'm just glad it wasn't me, because I think I might have acted worse. [laughs] There would have been drinks thrown.
Speaking of the lip sync, it is not lost on me that you went home after lip syncing to a song from the musical Sweet Charity.
Yeah! [laughs] I'm glad there's somebody who picked it up.
What was going through your head having to lip sync against Scarlett during your second week in a row?
I mean, this lip sync song was not my song. That's not something that I would ever, ever perform to. And my outfit was made of metal, so it was cutting me up. Genuinely was cutting me up, like I came out with cuts all around my chest. But I just think I'm there to put on a show, performing is what I do and I love doing it. So, I'm not going to miss an opportunity to do that. But like I said, my heart wasn't in it anymore and I'd already proven last week that I'm a brilliant performer and that's just what I do, or at least I felt like I had. I was kind of tapped out, if I'm honest. I was like, 'I'm going to give you a show, but I don't want to be here.' I'd rather Scarlett stayed than me. I think that she wanted it more than me at that point. And I've said this to her since, I'm glad that I went home to her, I really am. She really deserved that place there.
Now that you have this huge platform from RuPaul's Drag Race UK, what's next for Charity Kase?
I'm currently on tour right now in the UK, doing a Halloween tour with Cherry Valentine and Joe Black. So, that's very fun. I'll be launching my own night next month in London, called Your Nightmares. So, I shall see you in your nightmares. [laughs] And also I'm constantly releasing new collections on my shop where I sell my hand-painted jackets and t-shirts and clothing and all sorts of wearable artwork. And you can also buy my merchandise over there if you want to support me. Apart from that, I guess just expect the unexpected, as always!
New episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will premiere every Thursday at 11am PT/2pm ET in the US and in select territories exclusively on WOW Presents Plus, day-and-date with its local airing on BBC3 in the UK!