Scarlett Harlett-The UK Drag Stunner Dreams Big & Isn’t Looking Back

Scarlett Harlett brought youthful exuberance, a sickening aesthetic, and multiple (now legendary) lip syncs to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. While she had her controversial moments, Harlett continued held her head high and stayed true to herself and her drag. While she has departed the competition, this performer has plans to visit the States and will bring along the life lessons that she took from the competition. I sat down for a chat with Harlett where we talked about her UK drag influences, her most buzzed-about moments during the competition, & how her humor helped her make it through the competition, on-screen and off. 


Michael Cook: You were a standout on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Your final lip sync is arguably one of the best ones to ever happen on Drag Race UK

Scarlett Harlet: I loved it; I watched it, but it is different when you’re going through it. I still just remember the panic of lip syncing. I remember loving performing that song. Seeing Alesha Dixon, who sung that song (‘Scandalous’) in her band Mis-Teeq, it was just like magic coming together. I’m not going to lie, I loved performing that one. 

MC: Looking back on Drag Race, how do you see the whole experience now? 

SH: I look at it as a rollercoaster. I watch it as a viewer and I live for the drama and the messiness, but I also remember in that moment when everything was going on and I had to lip sync, it is truly two ends of the spectrum. You love watching it because of the drama, but you get so embarrassed and cringe because it’s you. I know what is going on in my mind when I watch myself and it makes you look at it differently. I think I am starting to look at it just as part of the Drag Race journey; that’s what being on Drag Race is about. I definitely had a very Drag Race journey! 


MC: You are an instinctively funny performer, on stage and off. Do you think that helped get you through the competition? 

SH: One hundred percent. It is easy to forget that when Vanity said “my one single talent” to me, it is actually true. I remember walking into the workroom and seeing these queens who were so gorgeous and talented and they knew what they were doing. I remember saying to myself that If I was not the funny one, what am I doing here? In my head, I cranked that up to one hundred. Naively, I thought that was the one thing that I was bringing to the competition and I think it kind of messed with me. It made me say and do things that in the real world I would not do. 


Like in Untucked, when you feel the pressure of being on Drag Race, it is difficult. Watching the conversations I had, it can be embarrassing and humiliating because I don’t like to see myself act that way. In that moment, I was just hiding that I felt very alone and was trying to project outwards; I felt I could not show any weakness. They had already said I should go home, and if I kept crying, they would smell blood in the water. In reality, it was a coping mechanism that I took on at the time. 

MC: Knowing the kind of a performer you are outside of Drag Race, it must be surreal hearing people that you don’t know very well making sweeping generalizations about your drag. What kind of a performer are you outside of the competition? 


SH: I am a performer. A classic British cabaret performer; I sing live, tell jokes, and “dance” (laughs). That is the kind of thing that I do. I like to be camp, tell jokes, and act the fool. I think I got to show that on the show, I just got in my head and let it affect my behaviors. I am glad though, that in a couple episodes I did get to show who I was; a silly, camp tart. 

MC: Out of drag, you are becoming the trade of this season of Drag Race UK. What does that feel like? 

SH: I promise you, I was not expecting that. I was stood next to Ella Vaday and during that mini challenge, she was the only one that could have passed as a builder. The reaction has been crazy; when the last episodes have been airing, it has been a little pick me up definitely. 


MC: We all have heard “don’t read the comments”; are you finding that you are getting a bit more tough and not letting the negativity impact you that much? 

SH: I understand what I am like. When I said “I dont feel like talking”, the way I deal with my problems in the real world is that I shut down, internalize, remove myself and carry on. That is basically how I deal with things. Because I know that I can be like that, that is why I walked out of Untucked. I wasn’t being a brat, it was me saying I needed a moment to decompress. I deal with it now by not really reading the comments and I am taking a break from social media, other than for work. It really can be damaging to your mental health. People will go out of their way to tag you in things and say you should have gone home, etc. With what my mother is going on health-wise, I dont need anything more getting into my head; I do that enough to myself. 

MC: What is next up for you post-Drag Race UK now that you have this monumental platform?


SH: I want to come to America first, I would love to come to DragCon or perform in America; I have never been to New York and I want to come there. I would love to be like Ryland, a presenter here in England. I’m, dreaming big; but getting on Drag Race was a big one and I managed it, so I am putting it out into the atmosphere. I would love to be the next big drag tv personality or tv presenter like Rylan or Lily Savage. I would love to go down that avenue and explore that; just to be on tv and be the silly camp tart that I am.

MC: When you strip it all away. when does Scarlett Harlett feel the most yourself? 


SH: I think I am the most me when I am alone. I’ve struggled to make connections with people, it has been tough. I have been forced a lot of my life to internalize. For me, I am the kind off person that sits there and musters and deconstructs things. I feel like that is the most me, but not the best me. As RuPaul says, the calls are coming from inside the house. I try to put out positivity so it was hard to watch myself get upset on the show. I know that I can go to these dark places and I try not to go there. I try to stay true to who I am and keep myself grounded. Other than my mom, who else is gonna keep me grounded (laughs)? It has been a nice benefit to relate to what I said. I don’t connect to people that well, so for people to understand that has been really comforting and real highlight,. Those conversations were probably my favorite thing about the show. 


Follow Scarlett Harlett on Instagram

Leave a Comment