It’s been over a year since I last saw Drag Race UK alumni Divina De Campo, Baga Chipz and Blu Hydrangea on screen together – and yet, it feels as though no time has passed as I’m chatting to the three energetic queens over Zoom.
The trio arrive to our virtual meeting room at different times (Divina is first, followed shortly by Baga and finally Blu), however they’re all donning big wigs, statement earrings and matching Georgian-style gowns, each in a different colour – like 18th century Powerpuff Girls.
Divina, Baga and Blu are reviving Frock Destroyers – the girl group spoof they formed during Drag Race UK’s fifth episode – and releasing a full album of tongue-in-cheek pop songs after the success of their single ‘Break Up Bye Bye’.
“We’re just here to save 2020 you know,” Blu Hydrangea says. “What’s better to come in at the end of the year and just make you smile than a big, old, drag, camp, Eurovision-esque album and that’s what we’ve done.”
Now back with album Frock4Life – a track list of cheeky pop parodies satirising the likes of Lady Gaga, Little Mix and The Spice Girls – Frock Destroyers became a mainstream success last November after ‘Break Up Bye Bye’ made it to number 10 in the UK charts following their performance in Drag Race UK’s musical challenge.
“I knew that it was good and as soon as we watched the other group, I was thinking, ‘Well as long as nobody breaks their ankle we’ve won this,'” Divina says. “But in terms of the wider population, you just never know what’s going to chime with people. You don’t know whether they’re going to go for it or not.”
“There’s a gap in the market for an act like ours where it’s a little tongue-in-cheek but also a bit sexy and camp.”
Baga adds: “When I heard the song, I was like, ‘This is a bop, this is a really good song, bloody hell,'” and I knew it was going to be good but I thought it was going to be like one of those Drag Race songs like [All Stars season three’s] Kitty Girl.”
The Drag Race runner-up was performing at London club G-A-Y when she found out the song had made it into the top 10. “[G-A-Y’s Jeremy Joseph] kept going on stage, ‘Let’s make it to number one!’ I think it was Dua Lipa. But yeah, I think we’re the only drag group to be in the top 10 and it’s just amazing.”
“It just blew up and I’m like, ‘Baga, you are now a pop star. You’re not just a model – you’re a pop star,'” she jokes.
Since appearing on the UK’s very first series of Drag Race last year, the trio have gone from strength to strength, with Divina performing at a number of drag festivals, Blu hosting Strictly Come Dancing‘s online spin-off Strictly Frocked Up and Baga making various TV appearances (“I’ve been on Celebrity MasterChef, Celebrity Karaoke, Divina knows I’m on another show this year.”)
But what has life in the public eye been like since Drag Race? “I had a certain amount of fame before but since Drag Race, I’m in all the papers. I’m walking around Tescos and ALDI, people shouting ‘much better’,” Baga responds, referencing her series one catchphrase.
“I went to the shops the other day to get some scratch cards and some cigarettes and this bloke shouted out the car: ‘Oi Baga, get your t*ts out!’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God. I’ve made it!'”
For Blu however, the public attention took some getting used to. “Being in front of the camera was like complete new territory that I was so uncomfortable with. I was so naive, not confident in front of the cameras and the whole experience was completely foreign territory to me – I felt like I was out of my depth a little bit.
“Fast forward a few months now and I love it. It’s just been the kind of experience I’ve learned so much from and I’d been able to develop skills from that – I can talk in front of the camera now and I have my own little Strictly Come Dancing after show that I host myself, which I never thought I’d be able to do.”
While Blu doesn’t get recognised in the street too often – (“I just look like a cute little generic twink-y boy like all the gays of the UK”) – Divina finds that she’s stopped most of the time in Manchester. “I kind of had a bit of experience of that already but not on the same level,” she says. “Everybody on Canal Street knows who you are anyway so it’ll take from one end of the street to the other two and a half minutes to walk, but if you’re a drag queen on Canal Street, it’s like 20 minutes because everybody wants to stop and have a chat.”
In terms of unexpected celebrity fans, the trio’s list is endless. “Sam Smith has messaged me, [Years & Years singer] Olly Alexander, Duncan James from Blue,” Divina says. “There were a few other people as well who I was like, ‘Wow, this person even knows who I am!'”
“Baga – you’re the biggest name dropper ever,” Blu teases, before Baga chimes in: “I don’t go to them. They go to me.” From Kate Beckinsale and Zoe Ball, to Kerry Katona and Katie Price, the Drag Race stars have picked up a whole host of famous fans since appearing on the show.
While their performances on Drag Race UK are adored by many, is there anything they would have done differently looking back a year later?
“I’d have taken some warmer make-up,” Divina admits. “When I look back [I think], ‘Oh god, she’s grey!’ I’d had taken some slightly more pinkey and orangey tones with me and taken it less seriously – I was so desperate for me to be good and not embarrass. With drag, of course it’s going to be embarrassing, that’s half the fun!”
Blu agrees, adding that she wasn’t confident enough when she first started the show. “If I could go back now, I would not be telling RuPaul that his dresses were tired. I would just have the balls to be myself and not to try and make Ru laugh or be funny and I feel like I’d probably succeed because I think what I brought to the show with my story and my outfits, stuff like that I’m proud of still to this day.”
“I wish I could just give him a shake and go, ‘You’ve got the goods, you can at least make it to top three bitch – I mean, Baga is s**t!” Blu laughs, before Baga chips in: “Very harsh.”
For Baga, she feels as though she had the opposite problem to Blu. “I went on with 500 quid, and that was wigs, make-up, shoes the lot. [If I were to go on now] I’d just have had better costumes and now I’m in the money, I’d be wearing Swarovski, f**king gowns, the lot.”
“If there was an All Stars, now I’ve got contacts to have stuff made and you know, better wigs but [at the time], I couldn’t have done any more when it came to the personality apart from be nice to my mum really?”
On the topic of an All Stars series, all three members of Frock Destroyers were keen to take part – whether that would be in a UK-only edition of the popular spin-off or an international version featuring queens from across the world.
“I think in terms of a franchise, that would make the most sense,” Divina says. “Spain is launching this year, there’s also Holland’s Drag Race. You’ve also got Thailand’s Drag Race which, if you’ve seen any of the stuff that those girls turn up with on Thailand’s drag race, it is insane, like they’re literally on fire.”
Blu adds: “Yeah, one of the girls set herself on fire,” referring to Drag Race Thailand contestant Kandy Zyanide who walked the runway whilst engulfed in flames.
For Baga however, she doesn’t mind what type of All Stars series it would be. “I’m just happy for the work. I don’t care if it’s a British All Stars or a round-the-world All Stars. I’d do all of them, I’d do any All Stars.”
“I’d love to stand next to [Drag Race season seven winner] Violet Chachki and [season 10 winner] Aquaria and show them how it’s done with the looks and stuff,” she jokes.
For now, however, the trio are focussing on their music and having fun working together once again. “I think there was a little question about would I just be a flash in the pan, but people really still want it, and again, I can’t speak for the other two because I know that I’m a nightmare, but I absolutely love working with these two.”
“We’re having fun, we’re making music and what better way to do it than with your mates?” Baga adds. “A lot of people don’t get to work with their mates. They have to work with Karen in finance whose got a face on her.”
“We just want to cheer everyone up – we’re here to frock destroy, we’re the frock destroyers and we’re going to release some absolute bops.”
Frock Destroyers’ debut album Frock4Life is released on 11th December via World of Wonder Records. Pre-order the album here.