Minnie Cooper Chats About Her Buzz-Worthy ‘Drag Race Down Under’ Run

In the galaxy of RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants that have come through the global competition, Minnie Cooper brings along a rich history of the Aussie drag scene onto this season of Drag Race Down Under. While her interactions with other queens brought a great deal of attention her way, it was the homage she paid to the queens that came before her the many will remember her for. I sat down to talk with this Down Under dynamo about her rise through the ranks of Aussie drag, her experience on Drag Race Down Under, and why paying homage to some of Australia’s most legendary queens was so important to her. 


Michael Cook: Tell me about your Drag Race Down Under journey

Minnie Cooper: To be perfectly honest, it was quite a mental strain on me. Being in that environment and not having anyone on my side, I felt very isolated. I almost think that they did me a favor sending me home. 

MC: The process of Drag Race can be very daunting, as it is very fast paced and may seem chaotic at times as you go through the challenges. 

MC: That’s the thing and I wasn’t expecting that; I went in ready to have just a really good time. You will see in the beginning I went in, I was telling jokes and the isolation really happened quite quickly. We also had just had COVID just prior to that, and it just took a toll on me. I believe that wholeheartedly, and I think that is what I was so reactive. 


MC:What do you think was your rose & thorn from your entire experience on Drag Race Down Under

MC: My rose is that I had a great time meeting Ru & making Ru laugh, I had a great time at that. I wish I wasn’t isolated by the girls through, I could have enjoyed the experience more. 


MC: It is so important to viewers that you represented for an era of both our community and drag that truly helped pave the way for what drag is today. What is it intentional that you went in to truly represent that perspective? 

MC: You can tell by the red ribbon dress that it was definitely a point of view. It was really about three drag queens, the person who made the dress was actually friends with two of those drag queens as well. When I heard it was “red for filth”, I immediately thought of the AIDS ribbon. I had also just recently done a play where the AIDS epidemic was a large focus, so it was in the full front of my mind, That story of Leggs Galore and Tallulah Bright dying on the same day, was so powerful that I wanted to share it with a whole world of people, not just the people in my own time. 


MC: Sharing that story of those legendary Down Under queens was truly so important. In the states, we know very little about that story and it was crucial to our community to hear that story. 

MC: Absolutely. And one of the things that I would love to do out of Drag Race is documenting the gay history of time gone past because really they’re just a memory. 

MC: When did you realize that drag would be much more of a career than simply just a hobby? 

MC: I worked in musical theater from nineteen to thirty-one and used to choreograph the shows for the drag queens. In 2022, I was in between jobs and was asked to fill in in a drag show and I just kept getting work. I do believe that drag is part of who I am, I have been dressing up as a girl since I was very young; I believe it is a part of my DNA. I’ve always been in-between jobs, and now twenty years later, I am still in between jobs (laughs)!


MC: What is it like competing against younger girls like the competitors you went up against on Drag Race Down Under? It is much more than a look, and to truly maintain your career you must have a business mind as well. 

MC: THat is why I think I have worked for so long. I can organize a gaggle of queens and someone is going to call me for a product and it is going to show up on time. That is the thing about drag, people get into it and don’t realize that it is all about hard work at the end of the day. It’s about the work that makes you succeed; its not about the way you look, it’s the way you work. 


MC: What do you want to do in your post Drag Race Down Under next phase of your career? 

MC: I have a cabaret show that I had prior to Drag Race. It is actually why I wanted to do Drag Race, so I could share my story and what it was like growing up in the Western suburbs of Sydney. My cabaret show From Chorus Boy To Leading Lady talked about that very thing. 

MC: What would the Minnie Cooper who has just departed Drag Race Down Under tell the Minnie Cooper who was just starting out in the world of drag? 

MC: Always believe in yourself. I think that is a gift and a strength, but not in that environment. I was very secure in who I was as a person and an artist, and that can be very threatening to people; when you are comfortable in who you are. I know my faults, what I am good at, and what I am bad at; that can be threatening. You don’t see some of the context on the show, but I get it, it’s only fifty two minutes (laughs)! 


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