Beverly Kills On Her ‘Down Under’ Sisters & The Business Of Drag

As one of the more novice drag performers to walk into Season 2 of Drag Race Down Under, Beverly Kills was going up against heavy hitting competitors. While she showcased a stunning final lip sync (and some tense interactions with some fellow competitors), Kills has her focus firmly set on her post Drag Race career, fully aware that the world of drag is truly, a business. I sat down with Beverly to chat about her Drag Race Down Under career, her surprising close friendships that came out of Drag Race, and what she has planned next.Β 

MC: How do you look back on your Drag Race Down Under experience?Β 

BK: I had a brilliant time, I have made nine fantastic sisters. If I wasn’t the same person, maybe I wouldn’t have gone as far or won as many lip syncs. I may have a different plan about how I would like do do an All-Star season or something like that, but I wouldn’t change it; I would just do it differently if I had a second chance.Β 

MC: Speaking of lip syncs, your final lip sync was truly remarkable and it truly got the internet abuzz. It almost seemed likeΒ neither of you had your feet on the floor once at the same time!Β 

BK: Because I was a bit defeated, especially after that Untucked, I just felt like I didn’t belong there. I was kind of just like, I knew that I was lip syncing and it was probably against Queen Kong, there was an element of me that just said that I would put on a nice clean lip sync and exit gracefully. The other part that was important to me was to live in the moment and soak up being on that stage for what is the last time, for now at least. I really wanted to embrace every second of it and soak it up; Drag Race is a money can’t buy experience. It is an experience that is made by experience; sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. Β 

After Kong did a dip within the first six seconds of the song, I went “oh, okay, lets bring it on bitch, lets do it”. I love what Queen Kong does, so if it’s one thing I can do, I am going to give him a run for his money. If he wants to earn it he is not going to win against someone not trying, he is going to win against someone pushing him to win. So that is what I did.

MC: You mentioned having nine new sisters coming out of Drag Race, but is there anyone that you are particularly close to post-competition?Β 

BK: It is so ironic, and people have asked who I am closest with..it’s Minnie Cooper. We literally talk every day on the phone and I think it is because we have so much in common; if we were the same age, we would literally be the same person. We had a pretty similar expeirence on the show also. Minnie uses the word “excluded”, but I don’t think either of us was excluded, I just don’t think we naturally fit into that group. When Minnie left the competition, she was the oldest competitor by thirteen years, and when I left, I was the youngest by ten. Because of that, I think we sort of experience not being able to fit into the group due to generational differences.

You can work and be colleagues with people of different age brackets, but there is something about being in the same generation as someone else and you just understand their sense of humor. In Brisbane, I have lots of sisters but my closest friends are my age and we were raised on the same kinds of stuff. I think that is also why Hannah Conda struggled to understand me. Not because I was being fake, but we are different people from a different time. Minnie had the experience to understand what an age gap can do to someone because she had even more experience than Hannah. She has really enjoyed being able to give advice to me as an older queen. I don’t have drag parents, but I have drag aunties who take joy in helping and mentoring me and giving me advice as much as I take joy in learning and receiving. If there is one thing I love about being gay, queer history is not documented as well as regular history and you have to learn from the community. I am so grateful for the people that have taught me, and Minnie is now one of those people.Β 

MC: Queens like Minnie Cooper being cast on Drag Race Down Under shine a light on queens and a history of our community that many times doesn’t get an international spotlight like Drag Race and that is so important. Would you agree?Β 

BK: Totally; you are absolutely right. I am guilty of reading the comments and Minnie is too. Some people said that they didn’t want to see a queen like me on because my biggest reference was modern drag, but I don’t know what I am meant to do about that. I am twenty one and I have been doing drag for three years. I am still learning and as long as I am open to learn, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that.Β 

MC: In the three years that you have been doing drag, the world has changed much. What do you think is the biggest lesson that you have learned in that time?Β 

BK: Even though drag is a super creative art form, it is a business; you are a business person. Professionalism and preparation are both key, and you should put that before your creativity. I learned these things over Covid. When Hannah was talking about being in dressing rooms with other girls, I have had literally eighteen months of that experience. Before Covid, I think my drag was a lot more edgy and trashy, and a lot of it was because I didn’t have the technique to look glamourous. Over that time, I learned skills; I am technically a small business. I think that is something that people really forget; they want to get their drag career off the ground, but you have a professionalism and a reputation to uphold and if you don’t have that then you won’t get booked.

MC: It’s remarkable that you are able to have the knowledge that you are truly running a business and a brand, at twenty one years of age.Β 

BK: Absolutely and it is because I am. The business lessons that you learn are quite daunting. I didn’t know I would be paying that much tax for one thing. It was like “but I’m a small business” (laughs)!Β 

MC: What do you think you want to do now in your post Drag Race Down Under career?Β 

BK: I don’t know. Step one is to figure out what I would like to do, step two is to do it. I try not to plan too far into the future, I plan a couple steps. Then I trust that something in the universe will point me in the right direction. We have the Down Under tour to do all of our favorite numbers, and the best part about the tour is that it is not just us going out and performing. There are group numbers, production elements, I think that will be really exciting to for everyone to see us together on stage. I am also in the process of writing a one woman show, and the person that inspired me to do that is Minnie Cooper, because she has her own one woman show, She told me “you have this platform now, why dont yo create a one woman show and pitch it” and I was like “okay”!Β 

MC: Many people say that Drag Race has truly changed drag, but your perspective as a newer queen who is learning the history of drag is uniquely different. From your perspective, how do you see that Drag Race has changed drag?Β 

BK: Obviously it has become more commercial, and some people are for and against that, I don’t think I am for or against it. The good thing about how RuPaul has marketed drag is that he has not marketed it as one particular thing, it is a very broad art form. There are enough types of drag that you don’t have to fit in one particular box as a performance queen, a commercial queen, or an artistic queen. So many types of drag makes it fresh. So often people will ask when Drag Race will expire, and while Drag Race may have an expiration date, I don’t think drag does. I don’t want it to go, it is the best thing ever. It has changed my life and I am so grateful.Β 

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