It seems like a love of fashion is almost in A’Whora’s blood. Pushing the boundaries of gender at a young age turned into a career for this haute couture-loving performer, and her recent star-making appearance as a contestant on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season 2 is just a start. I chatted with this future fashion maven on some of her more controversial Drag Race interactions, what the entire experience was like, and A’Whora dove deep with me on her love and passion for fashion and why fashion is her “heart and soul”.
Michael Cook: The RuPaul’s Drag Race UK experience is truly once in a lifetime, and this year especially. How do you now look back on it?
Awhora: Robbed (laughs)! No, it’s a whirlwind, it has been the most crazy ride, it’s been fucking wild. We have overcome so many hurdles. I was more happy to see the show end for once, it’s been dragged out so long, it is hard to drag something out when you are a drag queen (laughs). It was so worth, it, seeing the response from people and the way that people just fell in love with all of us. The content we have created, the looks we have pulled together and the fact that we’ve survived lockdown and gotten to create such a magical show is just amazing.
MC: You are going to now go down in herstory as one of the Drag Race contestants who have had an absolutely epic final lip sync. Performing Dusty Springfield’s ‘You Dont Have To Say You Love Me’ against your roommate and best friend Tayce made for an epic performance don’t you think?
A: Oh God yeah we murdered that song. It adds more layers to it when the song actually means something. “You don’t have to say you love me, just be close at hand” that is so much of how Tayce and I are with each other. We aren’t in love with each other, we don’t have to tell each other; we know it. We are best friends, we get through everything together. We got through the show together, we moved in together, we have had each other’s back through the whole experience. To end it with her for me, was the only way that I would have wanted to end it if it wasn’t to have the crown in my hand.
MC: You and Ellie Diamond really clashed in your last episode, especially when it came to the placing during the challenge. How did that play out?
A: That definitely comes from more than you guys see. When we were on the stage, we were asked the iconic question “who deserves to go home and why?” That is why I was the way that I was. Ellie Diamond is someone that I have grown to be close friends with. We supported each other through lockdown, helped her out in a pinch for editing pictures for her Instagram, we were really close. When she had put me close in the running order (for the challenge) to fuck me over, and then added the comment “I want to go second because I know A’Whora is going to be shit” it was like “okay, well that’s triggering”!
On top of that, to stand on the stage and to say in front of RuPaul, to say that I should to go home, you are clearly playing some game because you have been playing out to be my best friend and now you’re standing there saying I should go home when you’ve been saying I should be in the finale against you. So what’s the truth? That is why I was a bit thrown. I want to know are you my friend, are you my enemy, what’s the game? That is why I was so heated in Untucked, I didn’t even know who she was.When Ellie was crying in Untucked, I held her hand and we talked it out. She apologized, I apologized for the way I have acted towards her in the last day. We made friends and that was it; we’re family ,we’re sisters, you get over it. At the end of the day, wherever I was in that running order it would not dictate the content or context of what my standup was. If my standup wasnt that funny, it was on me, not Ellie Diamond.
MC: Fashion is the overarching backbone of your aesthetic as a performer. That said, when there were accusations of Sister Sister “borrowing” an idea for a runway look after you all returned from the pandemic break, it seemed to really be something that bothered you, is that fair to say?
A: It was one of those things where as a drag queen and as a creative you pride yourself on your creativity. This is your art, your work. Especially with someone like me who is very much about the aesthetic and the looks, I pride myself on being different and thinking beyond the box. So when I know I came into the completion with an iconic look to an iconic theme, with paying homage to something that was personal to me with a story, and someone else had a different concept and then came back with the same concept, it was bit triggering! You know, mistakes happen. I didn’t mean to put the blue glitter mask on my face, some would say. Things happen without us thinking about it, so you just have to roll with it.
MC: So much of what you do has a backbone in fashion, you and Bimini Bon- Boulash just walked during London Fashion Week. Who from a fashion perspective truly resonates with you and inspires you?
A: I think I am always inspired by the showmanship of fashion. I love when there is a production element and a story. People like Alexander McQueen who who have a message through what they do with fashion is great. I hate to sit here and be so bland and just say “Mc Queen is my influence” because it is just so obvious. People like Galliano, Gaultier, Tom Ford even, the people who have changed the way that fashion has been and have redressed people in different ways. Moschino is great, they bring humor to fashion, they take the piss. It’s like what we do with drag, we take the piss out of people and it’s about having fun. I hate when fashion is so serious and so minimalistic and it has no energy to it. That is why I love people like Galliano and Mugler, who create shows that are like watching a film. Fashion is my heart and my soul.
MC: What is next for A’Whora?
A: My goal is to shake up the fashion industry. I’ve worked in it, I’ve seen how it’s run and I don’t like it. I am probably not going to be the person to do it, but I am definitely going to be someone that gives input and contributes to the change. I want people like myself and many others to go to a luxury department store and as a man and buy lingerie and let it be for a man. Or be a woman and be able to buy something that is not stereotypically designed for you. I want to have gender neutral sections. I want to be able to buy clothing where it can give you the silouhette of a man and if you are a man it can give you the silouhette of a woman without having to wear twelve pair of tights, two hip pads and a pair of tits. I want the clothing to hold the structure and to be so tailor made and bespoke that it gives an illusion and allows people to feel something through their clothing and not just be wearing a t-shirt. I want clothing to give an emotion.
MC: When did you know that fashion was going to be the passion that you would follow?; when did you fall in love with fashion?
A: For me, it was always the idea of how by simply putting something on your body you could become a different person or create such an impression. I remember as a kid there was a moment where I came downstairs in a pair of my mother’s things high boots that at the time, must have come up to my waist (laughs). The reaction was utter hysterics from my mum and my sister and the utter disgust from the male energy in the room from me being in those shoes. That is how material or fabric can really offend people or make them feel some type pf way; happiness, joy, laughter or anger. The really intrigued me, how you an use clothing to give an emotion and create one for other people. I just like the idea of being able to walk down the street without even saying a single word, but speaking a thousand languages just from the clothes that I am wearing.
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