Jerrod Carmichael
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How Choriza May & River Medway Really Felt About Their Double Elimination

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The Snatch Game on RuPaul's Drag Race UK season three culminated in a Double Sashay for two fan-favorites – Choriza May and River Medway. After never landing in the bottom two prior to this episode, Choriza and River were asked to lip sync for their lives to Lulu and the Luvvers' "Shout."

Unfortunately, though, Mama Ru didn't see what she wanted from the lip sync and ended up sending both queens packing.

In an interview with Out, Choriza May and River Medway talk about their Snatch Game choices, this shocking double elimination, and how they've been since filming Drag Race UK.

Warning! Spoilers for Drag Race UK season three, episode six ahead! 

Out: Choriza, you won the reading challenge on Drag Race UK, which is pretty iconic. How did it feel to win this mini-challenge in particular?

Choriza May: It felt great. It was like, 'About time! I've been really nice to these queens for the whole competition!' So I had a lot to say. I think with me, when I started the competition, I found it hard to be nasty or to not be nasty, to come for these girls when I just met them. But by episode six, we were all friends, we were all in that space that we can be cruel to each other and still have fun. So it was great for me to win. It was very validating.

River, Scarlett Harlett kind of went in on all of the queens during the reading challenge, but things seemed particularly tense between the two of you. What do you think was the disconnect between you and Scarlett going into this episode?

River Medway: I think obviously the episode before was really intense, and I completely understand why Scarlett reacted the way she did... Everyone said her name on stage. But I think it was very hard for her to think rationally and actually talk things through with us, which didn't help the situation. I completely understand why she reacted that way. It would be very human and very natural to be that upset when that just happened. It's a shame that we couldn't really resolve it before the next episode. Like, episode [five] finished, and then it was the next episode, and then it was the reading challenge. So she had built up all of this. She was still going in on everyone. To be honest, I don't think she said anything to me that was, like, clever or anything. I think she said really genxeric things to me anyway. So I was like, I know how she's feeling is completely valid, and I know that she just needs to let this out and let it off steam, and that's fine. Like, we are really good now. We've had really good talks from the show. It's just one of those things where it's very intense and things accumulate very quickly when you're inside that sort of bubble.

Choriza, there also seemed to be some tension between you and Vanity Milan at the start of the episode. There was even the "You're relying on one talent" line. What was that all about?

CM: That was all fine. It played so shady on TV. Honestly, there's been so many moments where Vanity and I have collided. I knew where it was coming from, you know what I mean?

RM: It was a bit shady, I remember it.

CM: Yeah, I mean, it was. But she did realize how it came across and then she asked you [River] a shady question. Thing is, I think it got to her head the critiques that she was getting, that she was not being funny enough, that she was not showing her personality, you know? And her critiques were what I was being commended on. So I think it maybe got to her head a little bit, but we brushed it off very quickly. It could have been some drama that we carried to the next episode, but we just joked about it, you know what I mean? And I don't mind taking a little bit of shade. And if you see, right after we had the discussion, they left a very nice cut of me helping her get up. It was very much like, 'That's it, sisters fight a little bit, but it's fine.'

So let's get into the Snatch Game. A lot of queens changed their Snatch Game characters last-minute after the walkthrough with RuPaul, but both of you chose to stick with your choices. River, looking back, what do you think happened for your Amy Childs impersonation to not work out in the Snatch Game?

RM: I think I can't pinpoint it, which is why it wasn't happening at the time. Like, if I did [the Snatch Game] now, I probably would do it exactly the same. I guess I just didn't go far enough with it? And obviously, Ru wanted every single person to change [their characters], but I didn't. There isn't time for everything in the episode to see everything in full, but those chapters are much longer than what you see. [pause] And I didn't want to change my mind to what I was recommended. So I thought, 'Oh yeah, I'm going to stick to Amy Childs.' Amy Childs also wasn't my choice before the show, but there were a few options that I couldn't do. Amy Childs was one where I thought, 'I can do this.' Like, I think I know this sort of Amy Childs. So yeah. I know it wasn't good, but like, I don't think it was bad. I just don't think it was funny.

Choriza, Ru heavily implied that you should impersonate Cher, but you felt unsure about going in that direction. What did your decision-making process look like at that moment?

CM: My decision process was very easy. I was like, 'That idea is fucking shit, I'm not doing it.' I've never done Cher before in my life. I know Cher, but I don't know enough. Chad Michaels is a worldwide known drag queen for impersonating Cher. She's won this and has done Cher here. There's no way I can live up to that expectation. So I was never going to do that. Also, I had never done Cher makeup, I didn't have a Cher wig or outfit. So it was like, 'I'm going to stick to my guns.' Kitty [Scott-Claus] was asked, 'Oh, why don't you do Gemma Collins?' Kitty had a Gemma Collins costume and had done Gemma Collins before in her career, so that made sense. Gemma was just another one of Kitty's options.

River, a few episodes ago you talked about the passing of your mom. I'm really sorry for your loss. This kind of felt like a relatable story to viewers who lost loved ones during the pandemic. Looking back at your journey on Drag Race UK, do you think that processing your loss was yet another obstacle that you had to overcome during the competition?

RM: Yes. I also think that I never had time to process stuff. Like, I'm really glad I did it 'cause it obviously happened so quickly after, but when I was preparing for Drag Race I was also planning my mom's funeral. Like, that's such a huge thing that like people don't– I'm not trying to get sympathy, I didn't have to do the show, I could have said no. But it's just another layer in my mind. I was just like, 'Go, go, go, go. This has to just be done.' It's definitely something that I get upset about sometimes. But I always felt her there with me. I was doing [the show] for myself, but I know it was such a big part of her life, supporting me and wanting me to succeed in life, so that was a big thing for me. Obviously you have to take what you can from life. I think my Drag Race journey would've been very different if things were different, like not for the better or for the worse, it just would've been different, and I would think about things differently as well. I know that everything in life happens, so you just got to go with it and make the most of every day.

Choriza, you talked about coming out to your parents when you were 11 years old, and how things took a dark turn when you got older. Has your relationship with your family improved since being on the show? Did your dad have a reaction to watching you on TV?

CM: My relationship with my parents got to a much better point before I started the show, but getting on the show really was an eyeopener for them. Like, 'Okay, this is not just something for fun. This is a career. She can do this.' Like, 'Oh, she's good. Look at her, she's dancing. Oh my god, she's writing songs.' My relationship with them has been amazing. They accept me fully for who I am. Like, my boyfriend is living in Spain. He is living with them at the moment, and he is moving soon, but he has been living with them for a year. And they just love him and adore him. I'm really lucky and I'm very proud of who my dad has become. Sometimes I think we, as the sons and daughters of our parents, expect them to educate us and guide us. And sometimes that takes a turn. We have to also educate our parents on what's going on in the world nowadays. And for my dad, it's been a learning curve and I'm very, very proud of the man that he's become. And I'm glad that I've been a part of that journey.

River, you had some stunning looks on the show. Last week, you had us all gagged on the runway. This week, your outfit was referencing a bowl of fruit for the "fruity" category. Why do you think that your look didn't resonate with the judges this week?

RM: 'Cause I didn't spend enough money on it.

Oh?

RM: Sorry, that's such a blunt answer. [laughs] I think I had the right idea, but for execution... I would've loved to have it made by someone else. I think the idea is there and it could have been really good, because like it's a fruit bowl, what's fruitier than that, being a drag queen? So I loved it, I just wish I could have really had the outfit that I envisioned in my mind. But I had to do it myself. This is the thing, I couldn't always create or get a hold of or get somebody to help me do what I wanted to do for every outfit, unfortunately. I'm really not trying to use that as an excuse 'cause obviously, it's like, I need to deal with it. It's like, 'Do your best, be crafty, do whatever you need to do.' I think the idea was there, [it was] just poor execution on my behalf and I knew it was bad. I tried to sell it, but I knew it was bad.

So Choriza – fun fact, I'm Brazilian! So your Carmen Miranda–

CM [on Portuguese]: Oi! Eu morei no Brasil, Curitiba!

[laughs] Nice! Well, your Carmen Miranda look was a joy for me to see. We really don't see Carmen that often on the runway or on Drag Race at all. Has she always been one of your references in drag?

CM: Not always, to be honest. Before I started doing drag, I had a big plan of who Choriza was going to be. I've always been aware of [Carmen], but I was just a little bit culturally aware, you know what I mean? I'm Spanish, she was Brazilian and South American. People in Europe weirdly get those two mixed up, so I tried to stay away from it. But when it came to this runway, I was like, 'This is my moment. This is when I can showcase how absolutely fabulous [Carmen Miranda] was.' And it's weird that some looks of hers have not been shown on the show before. This was one of the looks that I knew straight away was going to be inspired by her. Like, her productions, the videos, the films – everything is so fruity and so perfect. It just made perfect sense.

I also wanted to talk about that lip sync. I'm not just being polite when I say that I truly did not see this double elimination coming – I legitimately did not. I thought it was a solid performance from both of you. But Choriza, I wanted to clarify what was that initial wig change. Was that a reference there, were you trying to convey something?

CM: No. Someone named it as a wig stunt, but it was not a wig stunt. That was survival. I couldn't do the lip sync with that peach on my head, it was going to fall at some point and they would have done that slow-mo of the peach falling and me looking ridiculous with my wig up. And I was like, 'No.' And that's the only way you can change the outfit [for the lip sync]. So I grabbed Ella's [Vaday] short wig, put it on my sleeve and was like, 'I know I'm going to look ridiculous, but I have time to get rid of the peach and put that wig on.' Did it work? No. Was it hysterical? Absolutely.

River, what was going through your head when RuPaul said you were both going home?

RM: Initially, I was very shocked. I wasn't expecting it. I really thought I was going home. And then he said it and I was like, 'Oh. Oh, okay.' Like, it happened, you know? I'm not going to go out kicking and screaming, that's the thing. I really don't take things very deeply, so I was like, 'I know that this is for the drama.' We love the drama, do you know what I mean? We know what the show is about. But I know it's not a reflection of me as a drag queen. I know it's not a reflection of Choriza as a drag queen. We didn't get set home because we were crap, 'cause we're not, and I'm really proud of both of us. I'm really proud of myself and I'm just really happy that, if I was going to be eliminated with anyone, I'm so glad it's Choriza, because we're honestly like best friends. it was really nice to have her with me, you know, afterwards. It was just really nice.

CM: It was, it really was lovely to have just a hand to hold. For a second, we thought we were going to do the mirror message together. So we were screaming at each other from the other side of the studio. Like, 'I love you River, I love you Choriza.' And then we got to do it together and I can't imagine doing it by myself. Also, we're the only queens on Drag Race ever to never be beaten on a lip sync. [laughs]

Now that you have this huge Drag Race UK platform, I want to know what's next for each of you. River, you can go first.

RM: Well, there are certain things that people will just have to look out for that I cannot announce or speak about right now. But hopefully, over the next year, you'll see a lot more of me. Maybe you'll see a lot more of both of us. I don't know. We'll have to see what happens. And check out some of my gorgeous merchandise at www.river-medway.com and keep an eye out for us. Me and Choriza are going to take over the world, I think.

Choriza, is there anything you'd like to promote?

Yes, I'm very excited. I released my first single ever, "My Pussy Is Like A Peach." It's a song that is now available on iTunes, Spotify, everywhere. The music video is fabulous [and has] some of the girls from RuPaul's Drag Race Spain. I'm very excited!

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!

RELATED | What Was Charity Kase's Reaction to Ru's Drag Race UK Critiques?

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