What has Bianca Del Rio been up to since being crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar? Besides touring the globe with the rest of her Drag Race counterparts, she and her cute-as-hell bestie Matt Kugelman are partnering up on a film entitled Hurricane Bianca. The sure-to-be-camp-classic tells the story of a queer man who takes revenge on a small town in the South after being fired for being gay. His revenge? Returning as Bianca, a bitchy queen, who, true to form, is ready to read that town to filth.
The film is in crowd-funding stage as we speak. We caught up with Del Rio and Kugelman recently for more details on the project. We also shot Bianca a series of rapid-fire questions, where she reveals all kinds of personal anecdotes, including her thoughts on Voyeur.
G Philly: In Hurricane Bianca, the main character gets fired because of his sexuality. What are your thoughts that it is still legal to be fired in 29 states for your sexuality?
Bianca Del Rio: It was a shocking fact that I was unaware of. When Matt told me I was like,” Are you fucking kidding me?” And the weird thing is that we have gay marriage and adoption rights, which are both choices. You have to have a job! … I was immediately interested in making a movie about it—not to make it a big political thing, but to bring awareness in a comedic way.
GP: Have you had any weird experiences in the South since you started traveling there after Drag Race?
BDR: I’m traveling as a man who was able to do his drag show on a global scale. It’s a different category. I know I have experienced awkward things in the past, where I have gone to other places and not had an audience that understands you. But from being on Drag Race, what I have seen in a positive way is in the audiences are a mix of gay people, and straight folks who weren’t really privy to drag queens prior to the show. In the past, you had to go to a bar or a theater to find a drag queen. Whereas now it’s in people’s living rooms each week for 13 weeks at a time. So it’s shifting for drag queens, which I find to be quite fascinating because in the years that I have done drag I have never seen much interest from that side. Ever! Drag Race has humanized us as performers, so we don’t come across as some gay monsters. Phobias and [narrow-minded] views come from insecurit,y or not necessarily having all the information. I have had people say to me, “I don’t normally like gay people but I like you. “Well what the hell does that mean? It’s silly to me, but I think when people relate to you, it helps.
Matt Kugelman: People are reaching out to us saying, “you really need to make this movie because this happened to me or it happened to a friend.” So it’s cool to hear people coming out in support of this and saying that this actually happens and this movie could help.
GP: What films inspired Hurricane Bianca?
BDR: It’s very Gone with the Wind. [laughs]
MK: (Laughs) It’s a little Mrs. Doubtfire meets Revenge of the Nerds in terms of plot. But in terms of style it’s going to be a little darker. It will still be funny but I think it will have a little bit of a Tim Burton-esque feel. A little Edward Scissiorhands in terms of its tone.
BDR: That’s just in reference to my makeup.
GP: Is it more a gay film festival/TLA release or is this big-budget mainstream?
MK: Its’ definitely going to be an indie film, but I would love to have the biggest budget possible, which is why we are trying to get the word out about our crowd-funding campaign. So hopefully we will get those big donations to come in. In terms of the audience, this is a gay movie about a gay man, but there is a lot of crossover when it comes to interest.
BDR: Well now I have an opportunity where other people are interested in what I am doing who may not have been interested in it before Drag Race. They don’t necessarily see me as a gay man and a threat to society. … To me as a performer funny is funny, and hopefully people realize important is important. With the combination of the two—the importance of the subject plot and the style in which it’s used—we can reach that other side of the world.
GP: How has the crowd funded been going?
MK: It’s going really well. We did one round of crowd-funding before Drag Race started and raised $35,000.
BDR: And then I ran away to do the show. A lot of people initially thought I may have taken the $35,000, bought a hooker and went to Aruba.
GP: You did buy hooker, right? Her name was Adore Delano.
BDR: [laughs] $35,000 for that bitch?!
GP: How has the experience been since you were crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar?
BDR: [Laughs] You mean America’s oldest Drag Superstar? It’s surreal. [The new schedule] is hard to keep up with—the traveling, getting from one city to the next. It’s fascinating. I’m grateful to get to work and meet all these Twitter followers that I did not have before the show … all these people on Instagram, ya know …. 100,000 people. These people didn’t even know I existed a year ago. So for me it’s extremely overwhelming but in a very, very good way. I felt that early on. … I didn’t think I would win. I was in really good company, with people like Courtney, who is very very talented. And Adore, who I love and who has this amazing talent. To win was icing on the cake.
It really hasn’t sunken in on any level which I think is kind of good. Because if it did I may be sitting back eating bon bons thinking I was Mariah Carey. For me it’s about the work, to get out there and meet everyone. Which is really the fun. I always say I hate people. I don’t hate people. I hate annoying people. That’s what’s so great is traveling and getting to see America, and next up I am going to London, Amsterdam, Ireland, Australia … Courtney is going to allow me to go to Australia which is nice. Those things I am really looking forward to. Without Drag Race none of this would have happened. I wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation with you, so for that I am grateful. I really am grateful.
GP: I interviewed Wendy Williams back in May, where I did this fun, rapid-fire question-and-answer session. I’d like to try it out on you. Ready?
BDR: I’m ready.
- What’s your favorite thing about NYC? The atmosphere.
- What’s your favorite movie? The original Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell.
- Favorite TV show currently on? I don’t watch much TV right now!
- A book you plan on reading? The bible.
- A book that powerfully impacted your life? I guess it would also have to be the bible. It is the only book I see. It is in every hotel I go to.
- On a scale from 1 to 10, how excited are you about life right now? 12.
- Twitter or Instagram? Instagram
- Favorite food? Mexican.
- Least favorite food? Sushi.
- Best restaurant in NYC? Cristo. It’s Italian and it’s amazing.
- What do you love on your pizza? Cheese.
- Oprah or Ellen? Oprah!
- Favorite Drag queen? Ru Paul?
- Favorite song right now? That “Happy” song by what’s his name? It’s in my head all the time, and it’s sung by the boy in the Smokey Bear hat. He has sold it to every commercial, and it’s on the radio everywhere.
- Favorite lyrics? Make EM Laugh.
- What is your most prized material possession? My wigs.
- Dogs or cats? Dogs. I have two dogs. Sansom and Delilah.
- Name one historic figure you would love to have coffee with? Do they have to be dead? Can they be alive and just old? This is hard. I would sit with anyone from the Golden Girls and Judge Judy.
- How do you like your coffee? I like mine with two Splenda and cream. I know Splenda is bad for you but I’m doing fine.
- Favorite thing to do on Sundays? Find out what city I’m in.
- What’s your favorite curse word? Oh, it’s totally fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
- Do you like Philly? Philly is great. Every time I have been there people have been nothing but kind. Granted I have not seen much outside of the bars. I love Voyeur; they are so nice there. They have a well-run establishment, a lovely staff, the crowd was always packed, and it’s always a good time. Philly is definitely a place I’ve liked. I also shockingly liked Portland, Oregon, which I never thought I would like. It’s so beautiful there!