At just 19 years old, Krystal Versace has been crowned the winner of the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race UK! With the title of the UK's Next Drag Race Superstar, Krystal has now become the youngest winner in the herstory of the entire Drag Race franchise. Krystal faced tough competition from finalists Ella Vaday and Kitty Scott-Claus, but she still came out victorious in the end.
During an interview with Out, Krystal Versace looked back at her journey on Drag Race UK, opened up about her relationship with fellow finalists Ella and Kitty, and reflected on the impact that her crowning may have on the future of this series.
Warning! Spoilers for Drag Race UK season three, episode 10 ahead!
Out: You were about eight years old when Drag Race premiered in the United States. You have now been crowned the youngest winner of any season of Drag Race – ever. How does it feel to be going through this experience?
Krystal Versace: God, yeah. It's insane when you put it like that, honestly. It's crazy. I still have to remind myself what's just happened, because it really hasn't sunk in and my natural instinct is just to move on and forget it happened. But I'm like, 'It happened, you have a crown, you've just won.' So yeah, I'm so grateful and overwhelmed and it really means the world. It's just crazy, you know?
So let's talk about your journey on the show. You started out winning the first two maxi challenges of the season, which had never happened before on Drag Race UK. What was going through your mind after you set the bar so high for yourself?
It was crazy. At the time, I didn't have time to really think about any of it and reflect. But after it aired, it was like, 'That was crazy.' It was a moment. Obviously, I knew what happened at the rest of the competition... I didn't get any more badges. But as a whole, to make that statement and come in that strong – it was iconic.
Did having such a strong start give you more confidence at all? What was going through your head?
It didn't really. If anything, it made me more worried about the next challenge that was coming, because there was such pressure, especially after the first one. I generally thought I was going to go home [in the second episode]. After I heard what it was and it was all this choreography, I was like, 'I'm going home. They're going to send me home.' So I was really shocked at the second win, really shocked.
As the season went on and you were mostly safe in the competition, it seemed like you became a little more unsure about your placement on the show. Is it fair to say that you got perhaps a little bit in your head?
I don't think I got unsure about my placement. I think I definitely got in my head at some parts, but I got in my head throughout the competition and that's just what happens. It's a journey and there were so many boundaries I had to break for myself doing these challenges. So it was all natural. There was no way I was going to go and enter every [challenge] fully there, fully ready. I tried my best at everything and sometimes just needed a kick.
You mentioned a few times throughout the season that you were nervous going into certain challenges, that you were "bricking it." But more often than not, you turned out to be okay. What were some of the biggest surprises that you had while filming this show?
Honestly, so many surprises. I think the second win was a surprise. I was really surprised I wasn't in the bottom for Snatch Game. And I guess when Charity Shop walked in on the next episode, that was a real shock.
A few queens felt a little uneasy when they heard RuPaul telling you that you were "born to do drag." My perception was that some queens thought that you were absolutely going to win this season. What was your experience like?
I mean, I don't recall anyone thinking I was definitely going to win the show after that. I don't think it affected many people during the competition, but yeah, it was a moment. I think maybe some queens were slightly jealous, maybe... but Ru had a connection with me. I didn't ask for him to say the compliment, so I just appreciated it and just said 'thank you' and moved on. Because my runways were strong, and I'd done well in the competition, and I was strong throughout, I think some of the girls were like, 'Fuck her.' And so be it!
And on a personal level, how was it for you to receive such a high compliment from one of your biggest icons?
Honestly, it was crazy. It's so much for me to realize, to really dissect it... but I just take it as a compliment and move on with it. I appreciate it so much. But at that time, it was such a shock to me. I didn't know how to react. You could see on TV, I just didn't know what to say. I was like, 'Thank you.' I thought it was crazy for Ru to even look at me in the eye and be like, 'You were born to do drag.' And he kept going! So much was cut out.
I think that similarly to how we look back on winners like Raja, Aquaria, and Symone on RuPaul's Drag Race, your crowning will ultimately have a big impact on what viewers expect from fashion on Drag Race UK. What are some of your fashion references when doing drag?
Honestly, everyone says that I'm fashion, but I've never been to fashion school or anything, so I've never had that exposure to, like, taking references from fashion. I think I unconsciously do it, but I can't sit here and go, 'Oh, this was Mugler inspired,' because I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't have that knowledge. I just know what looks good on me, and I know I have a vision in my head, and then I just execute it.
A lot of viewers who've watched the U.S. version of Drag Race for so long went into Drag Race UK with a certain expectation of makeup artistry and fashion looks. I think you really elevated those elements for the U.K. series during your time in season three. Was that something that you went into the show thinking about at all?
No, I really didn't. I always thought when people say, 'Oh, that makeup's iconic,' I wouldn't ever... I'd be like, 'Thank you but I can't see that. I don't understand.' I just do my makeup and that's it. So stuff like that, I don't think of. I went into the competition not knowing who was there, so I was just like, 'You know what, I'm going to just make sure I don't go home and keep my head up and just do my best.' And I also didn't know who was going to be there.
After doing so well all season long, you fell into the bottom two for the first time on episode nine. How did it feel to lip sync for your life against Vanity Milan?
Honestly, it was actually a really fun experience. We both were very mutual on the fact that we're going to go up against each other and put on a show. Before we went on, we looked at each other and were like, 'Right, we're going to show them what we're made of. We're going to give them an iconic lip sync.' It was obviously more intense than it would've been because I was up against Vanity Milan. She's a fucking powerhouse and incredible, and there is literally no one who lip syncs like her. So yeah, it was a little bit intense, but honestly, I was really, weirdly, quite calm before the lip sync. I was just ready to put on a show.
You got to the finale with Ella Vaday and Kitty Scott-Claus. How's your relationship with the other queens in the top three?
Oh my god, I love them girls so much. We get on so well. We have such a nice little bond. We're so different, but we can really bounce back off each other and I think they really just hold me close to them. They see me as the little baby of the group, even though I'm the one who got the crown. [laughs] I honestly love them girls. We just get on so well and we're always out having a drink together. We all have such an amazing relationship.
I'm also curious to know if you've interacted with your Drag Race UK predecessors. Have you ever met or spoken with The Vivienne and Lawrence Chaney?
I haven't actually met Vivienne yet, but I spoke to her. She sent me a message on the day of the win and she just congratulated me and it was very sweet. I've met Lawrence a few times. She's a sweetheart and I love her. And yeah, she sent me a message [after the crowning]. It's just a really nice sisterhood. These queens just want to support each other and in London we really just all come together as one and help each other where we can.
Now that you've been crowned the winner of Drag Race UK season three, what's next for Krystal Versace?
Honestly, this is just the beginning! I've literally only just got started and there is so much more. There are so many more years ahead of me, so much more to evolve and to play around with my drag, to really push it to different ends of the spectrum and play around with fashion and ideas and reinvent my drag to the world.
Also, is that hoodie you're wearing merch that fans can buy? It looks so cute.
That is my merch, yeah! Thank you. And there's more merch coming soon at Drag Merch UK.
All episodes of RuPaul's Drag Race UK are now available in the US and in select territories exclusively on WOW Presents Plus.