Kim Howells for One Represents, assisted by: Ru Jean
Craig Marsden for One Represents
Ryan Lanji & Yan Skates, assisted by: Rachel Dutcher
Giulia Oldani assisted by: Sophie Brindge
In collaboration with
New Covent Garden Market
In her left hand, her phone flashes as it records this very conversation. In the other, she holds a brush while a makeup artist is drawing the final touches to a high white brow that now covers most of her forehead. Behind is a room of 10+ people frantically putting together a lilac balloon dress that’s about to house our star. We make close eye contact as we’re instructed to our next move: “We’ve got makeup. We’ve got questions. Let’s roll!”
The RuPaul’s Drag Race season two fan-favorite wasn’t known on the series for holding back — and thankfully it’s not something she’s planning on doing during this interview. So it comes as little surprise that when we begin firing questions at A’Whora, the answers come back thick and fast. A’Whora she knows what she wants — and it goes by the name of attention.
“Say what you want and have your opinion because I don’t give a shit. I’m still going to be me, I’m still going to come out in a wig, and I’m still going to be happy,” states A’Whora, bold in her stance but sure of her placing. “You’re giving me more popularity and making more people talk about me, which is exactly what I want!”
The undisputed fashion queen from season two went from zero to hero thanks to the age-old friend of nobody: The Edit. And with it came a wealth of online abuse and people thinking anybody wants to hear their opinion. But just like she did on the show, A’Whora is taking it all in her stride.
But who even is the real A’Whora? Well it certainly isn’t the person we saw on the first half of a certain BBC Three show, as our star confesses with a laugh.
“I am A’Whora, the fashion queen of the London scene. Bimini likes to come for my scene, the little bitch,” she cackles, the look of mischief sparkling in her eyes. “I am also probably the most introverted person, but I look like an extrovert. A’Whora is everything I am not as George.”
Here in an exclusive interview and during her shoot for EUPHORIA., we go deep to discuss the ugly side of fame and social media, why it’s the responsibility of those on platforms like RuPaul’s Drag Race to ensure all types of drag are given visibility, and her hopes for slaying the fas-HUN game.
Hardest question of this interview … who is A’Whora? Who am I? More like what am I! So I’m A’Whora, the fashion queen of the London scene. Bimini likes to come for my scene, the little bitch. I’m Northern as hell. I am also probably the most introverted person, but I look like an extrovert. A’Whora is everything I am not as George. If I’m scared today because I have got a photo shoot, I know I have to come and be overly confident so it’s a coping mechanism. However, I am as male, if that makes sense? But who am I? I am everything.
Has that person changed since you appeared on BBC Three? The person I entered Drag Race has changed to the person I re-entered after the lockdown. Lockdown, as for many, changed us. I was able to reflect on myself, look in the mirror and change lots of the things I don’t like — and work on them in my own time. I feel I’m now the best version of myself and that’s why I think people started to fall in love with me on the show after episode five. I came back as me and not 100% what I felt people wanted me to bring myself as.
Is it challenging to watch others have an opinion on you knowing it isn’t a reflection on the person you know you are? I spent each day waking up and logging onto Twitter to see people saying things and commenting stuff that isn’t true. When you go into this industry, you have to accept that people will have an opinion — but does everyone’s opinion matter? No. If somebody says something about my makeup being shit, I’ll come out the next week looking incredible with my middle finger and my c**k out! (laughs)
Which you did a lot on the show! WHAT!
No the c**k out bit! YEAH! (laughs)
Michelle Visage once told me that if you want to be a slut, be a slut. But if you are going to be, just be safe. It’s about ownership of yourself, right?! Yeah!, it’s true — no shame about feeling it. Sometimes I do want to wear a big hat in all black and just be very conservative. Others I want to go out in a little vest, little shorts, wear heels, and just be an absolute trollop. Whatever you feel on that day, put it on, girls, and express yourself as Madonna told you to.
How do you feel when we see those queer lines blurred by straight, often cis men, being praised for the very thing us queer people are harmed for? It’s hypocritical, which we see especially in a lot of menswear fashion brands where they use themes and concepts around queerness to become “trendy.” Like, being like this isn’t a trend. You’re making a fashion show about us but you’re going to sell it with a brand that’s mainstream to make millions, therefore with guys thinking it’s “cool” because that brand said it was. But us doing it all our lives has been often torture for us? There are so many men who work in the creative, music, or performing industries who aren’t giving a fuck about the way they dress. Harry Styles really is just putting a finger up to everyone. Lil Nas X is killing the game.
Obsessed with Lil Nas X. Obsessed! He’s really putting his finger up to everyone. At the end of the day, if straight people are doing it now — we were doing it fucking years before so they need to catch up, babes!
How do you feel about RuPaul’s Drag Race pushing further into the mainstream and bringing even more straight — now including straight male — fans to your door? The other day I was in my hometown and it’s not really gay at all so a lot of people didn’t stop me for a picture…
Where’s that? Worksop. But if I’m in London, I do get stopped like 10 times walking down one street. The environment does make a difference to where you are about how people embrace you. But when I was home, a straight guy came up to me with his girlfriend and said that he loved me — and she gave him a bit of a look! (laughs) He told her who I was and was saying he’s a big fan and he was telling her. They’ve obviously sat and watched Drag Race together — how cool! But season two, that’s opened up to more audiences and more people jumping on the wave.
Why specifically around the second UK season? The show itself does need to be more inclusive of everyone because it is for everyone and anyone. All it’s about is going on a stage and showing who you are and having something to say about it. You don’t need to be a certain gender or conformity to be able to have those things to say. Anybody can do it. For me, Drag Race is so special because it allows me to be the person I want to be and be celebrated for that. What more do you want in life? To go out and wear what you want and have people live for you.
Is the concept of drag being mainstream a good thing? I think it’s a good thing. Drag has been going on for so long now and I think it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves. It’s leaving the pubs and clubs and becoming something that is featured in Vogue. Like, for fuck’s sake. It’s also important for these people who are given these platforms to acknowledge its origins and where it came from. It’s important to talk about that and to give credit where it’s due. Although we’re doing new-wave drag, there’s still some fucking legends who deserve to be noticed and paved the way more than I have. They need the credit.
Your season celebrates different bodies and identities and that’s bringing a conversation around these different forms of drag. Would you welcome a broader type of drag to Drag Race itself? Seeing a drag king would be incredible. Oh God, yeah! People say that it’s not fair if you compete against a woman because “she’s got it easier.” Well, bitch, if she’s got it easier then bring on the competition. We’re here to fight! That’s the whole point because we are here to be the best of who we are, so if that’s their best then let them on the show and we will see who wins. Let’s do it! Let the best PERSON win.
The resistance seems kinda dumb. You here now with your cap and stripes is your drag. You weren’t born like that and that’s how you’ve chosen to present yourself. You’re doing your own drag. Anyone who is dressed in a certain way and with their own sense of style is bringing their own drag, so therefore anybody should be entitled to go on the show if RuPaul lets them on.
And it’s very easy for trolls to sit behind a keyboard and complain. But what’s it like at the other end? Oh God, you see everything and anything that is said about you. And if you don’t see it, the fans will make sure you see it. But others do need to understand that we are people and if we take those comments in a positive way or negative, we are acting often upon them. But just remember that If you wouldn’t say that to my face, don’t write it online. That said, say what you want and have your opinion because I don’t give a shit. I’m still going to be me, I’m still going to come out in a wig, and I’m still going to be happy. You making your comment isn’t going to stop me from doing anything that I want to do… quite honestly, you’re wasting your time, not mine! You’re giving me more popularity and making more people talk about me, which is exactly what I want.
So basically, stick it! Keep the opinions. Keep the negative comments. Bring them in as my bank checks are going up as you are giving me more negativity. Bring it bitches! I think I’m canceled on Twitter every week. Twice some weeks. I love it.
Fashion goals for the future. Who do you want to work with? OH GOD! Y’know what … everyone. I don’t want people to work with me because I’m a drag queen, I want you to work with me because I am who I am as A’Whora and you like my aesthetic. If you’re going to put me in your show because you’re riding on the bandwagon of drag, fuck off. I’m not interested! If you want to put me in there because you think there’s something I can add and know who I am, I’ll be there and kill it. I would love to be involved with brands like Dior or McQueen. I also love people who have men modeling female clothes. Use me to your advantage and charge up the game.