By Dustin Shrader
Although her one-year reign as RuPaul’s Next Drag Superstar has ended, Bianca Del Rio’s career is only just beginning. The self-described, “erotic clown” has conquered the globe and our hearts, showing no signs of slowing down. While traveling in California, Bianca took the time to catch David Atlanta up on her whirlwind of a year, discussing her self-written Rolodex of Hate show, her new film project, Hurricane Bianca and even spilling the tea on what she really thought of Drag Race Season 7.
David Atlanta: Hi Bianca! I am so excited to chat with you!
Bianca Del Rio: Hello, I am pleased to speak with you, as well!
DA: So, you’re currently traveling?
BDR: Actually, I’m in Los Angeles right now looking at apartments today, and I’m working in Pomona, California tonight. So, while I was here I just thought I would sneak and do some things and now I’m heading back to Pomona for a show tonight.
DA: Are you performing Rolodex?
BDR: No, tonight’s just a bar appearance, but when I come to you it will be my show, yes.
DA: Oh, okay.
BDR: It’s either one or the other because a lot of these bookings I have prior to doing Rolodex, so all of this was just part of my regular schedule and I go back and forth.
DA: Rolodex of Hate, what can we expect?
BDR: Yeah. I’ve been traveling with it since last November, and we’ve been everywhere with it. We’ve been all over the U.S. with it, we’ve also been to Vienna with it, been to Australia with it. We’re going to Manchester, England with it, be doing it in London, as well. I’m kind of here, there, and everywhere. Of course, the actual tour itself doesn’t make any sense because it’s kind of month-by-month, but it’s been pretty amazing to take it everywhere.
What’s been happening since Drag Race is just that I’ve been doing appearances in bars, so I’m only doing a 15 to 20 minute set where the show now is an hour and a half. Basically, my point of view, and you know my point of view on my life and where I came from, and how I became this thing that I am.
DA: I am so excited to see it! Since David hasn’t spoken to you in a year, I do have to ask the obligatory question, how has your life changed since Drag Race?
BDR: I would say Google it because I’ve answered it a million times. (laughs)
DA: Right, that’s what I was thinking. (laughs)
BDR: Everybody asks that. (Laughs) You know I’ve been traveling the world, and getting to work, and work on new projects which has been exciting. It’s just been a great ride. TV’s a powerful thing, and without it I wouldn’t even be having an interview with you, so it’s pretty amazing how many doors it’s opened. It’s opened a lot which has been great. It came at a really good time in my life.
DA: I was pulling for you. I’m such a big fan.
BDR: Thank you. You’ve got good taste.
DA: Of course. I just saw that you and Courtney Act walked in the Life Ball.
BDR: Yes, a week ago. It was amazing. I’ve known of the Life Ball for a very long time. They’re an amazing organization that raises money for AIDS, and I often dreamt of getting to go but it never worked out. This particular year I was asked to be a guest, and while I was in Vienna, I was able to do Rolodex of Hate there as well, so it was a lovely time. It’s always great when we get to hang out with each other whether it be Courtney, Adore, or anybody from my season. We all travel so much, it is nice to hang out with one another when we’re in one place. Vienna was so beautiful, and it was a lovely event so it was a good thing. Courtney had been there before. This was my first time going, so it was quite lovely.
DA: Aw, I always thought it was cool that y’all remained such good friends. I spoke to her last fall, and she spoke really highly of you.
BDR: Yeah, I mean I was in really good company with two very talented people, so aside from that we all became obviously very close, and it’s been great because we kind of keep up with one another and the journey of what we’ve been doing and what’s going on. We both get it, we all get it, all three of us, and we both understand it because we’ve all been through sort of the same thing at the same time.
DA: Y’all are definitely my favorite top three.
BDR: Oh, well considering the other top three’s I can only imagine, yes.
DA: (Laughs) Speaking of Drag Race, I wanted to get your thoughts on the current season, and its queens.
BDR: Well, I really have no thoughts. It’s funny because people have been asking me so much what I think of this season. It’s a very hard thing to watch it after you’ve been in it. This season in particular, I didn’t get to see a lot of what was happening because I was traveling out of the country, and it was very hard to access the show on a regular basis. I did do a marathon of catching up with before I had to film one of the finale episodes. It’s an interesting group of people and it’s different, you know? It’s different for me from what I remember it to be. I think there are some great girls, sadly a lot of the ones I liked left early, which was hard, but I have been able to meet all of them since traveling.
Last week, we filmed the finale, which is going to air Monday. I’ve gotten to know them and they are all very great people, you don’t always know them from television. It was quite lovely to get to hang out with them and meet all of them. They all seem very nice. They might have been on their best behavior in front of me; I have no idea. With everything, I’m aware of how this process works. Sometimes people are often surprised when you’re not the way you were on television or they don’t understand what the process is like. It’s a huge pressure cooker. Some people deal with stress well, and some people don’t. It is a highly stressful thing, but it does pay off in the end.
DA: I always wondered, you’re such a huge inspiration to everyone on the show and to all you’re fans since winning, is there anything, anyone or a personal inspiration that you pull from? That guided you to where you are today.
BDR: First of all, that’s a huge compliment, but for me it’s been an amazing journey just in my life, and I think all of the situations that have happened in my life have prepared me for the show. There isn’t one person but there’s been many that have been very influential, not necessarily sitting me down and telling me what to do, but kind of being an example. There’s many, as I call them, drag pioneers- Ru included. I hate to say it because it’s been used so often, but they have paved the way. They did it first without this television show, so I’m grateful for all of them. Jackie Beat, LadyBunny, Sherry Vine, CoCo Peru. All of these brilliant performers, Varla Jean Merman, that have worked successfully all of these years before this television show even existed and kind of made it possible for us to get to travel and do these gigs. All of them I think, and they’re all very different performers but they all share that work ethic which I think is amazing.
DA: I know you’re still riding high from last year’s win and everything, but do you have any plans beyond drag?
BDR: For me it was getting to do my own show, which is something I wanted to do. I’m also preparing for filming a project that my friend and I are putting together in July, called Hurricane Bianca. Due to my schedule we kept pushing it back. Well, we’re filming finally in July. My schedule was finally able to work it out with the dates. So, we’re filming that in July for 3 weeks and I’m excited because Willam is in the cast as well along with Joslyn Fox. That’s going to be great. After that, of course, I’ll be writing another show and I’ll still be traveling with Rolodex to the end of the fall. It’s always something in the work, always something plotting and planning. Getting to travel and perform my shows have really been the most rewarding, so I’ve enjoyed that a lot. I’m looking forward to writing something new, to travel the world with that one.
I don’t rule anything out. You never know. I didn’t plan this far.
DA: That’s for sure. You never know about the curve ball of life.
Bianca Del Rio will be presenting her show Rolodex of Hate live at Center Stage Theater (1374 West Peachtree St. NW) on Saturday, June 20 at 8 p.m.. Tickets are on sale now at centerstage-atlanta.com or 800-745-3000. VIP Meet & Greet tickets available.