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Don’t Sleep on Drag Race U.K.’s Bimini Bon-Boulash

Photo: WOW

Release the beast! When the United Kingdolls’ version of “UK Hun?” hit the stage earlier this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K., it climaxed in the unforgettable image of a pink cowboy hat and a high-jump split. It was Bimini Bon-Boulash, the blonde queen with brains and a “bimbo aesthetic,” belting lyrics like, Don’t be scared to embrace the femme, whether you’re he, she, or them.In that moment, Bimini not only solidified their front-runner potential, they championed their gender nonbinary identity as something for fans to feel empowered by.

On the day of the season-two finale, which finds Bimini in the final four, it’s almost shocking to remember that they almost went home the first week; in front of ten other eager queens and the judges, they lip-synced wearing a barely there Norwich City football uniform to Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax.” But then Bimini slayed Snatch Game as British personality Katie Price, and delivered looks that heightened basic challenges by incorporating weird concepts like acne, mitochondria, and a satanic Playboy bunny. Quite honestly, everything belongs to Bimini. Vulture was very excited to speak to them about the verse that shook the internet, feminizing the masculine qualities of football hooliganism culture, their best (and worst) moments on Drag Race U.K., and, yes, Pamela Anderson.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Looking back on this season, are there any best, or not so much, moments you think of first?
My best moment is probably the reaction to “UK Hun?” — that took on a world of its own. None of us expected that. Also, I was very grateful to win Snatch Game because I’ve watched the show for so many years, and, like, to win that episode in particular, it’s pretty iconic, whoever does it. Or [in Katie Price voice] “pwetty iconic.” I think my least favorite is probably my balloon fuck-up in episode two when the paint dried up.

You mention that you didn’t think your group performance of “UK Hun?” would become as much a sensation as it did — what were you most focused on performing it live?
Well, you have 14 seconds. It was not a long verse, less than eight bars or something. Very short. So I just wanted something that was short, snappy, and punchy, and had a bit of a message. It wasn’t just like, “I’m gonna snatch the crown! ’Cuz I’m fierce, bitches better bow down.” Like, we’ve heard that. We wanna hear new things. So, I just wanted to have fun with it, really.

Did performing “UK Hun?” feel in any way similar to how it felt watching it for the first time?
No. When I first heard it, I thought those were joke lyrics. [Laughs.] We heard the song and I thought they wanted us — where the “Bing, bang, bong” is — to have some lyrics. When we were first given the MP3s and I heard that, I started writing like a chorus and a hook and everything! I can’t remember what I had written, but I’d written some stuff. And then when we heard [the aired version] I was like, “This is catchy.” But we were on to the next challenge after, so we didn’t even have time to digest it. 

I wanted to ask about your onscreen moment with Ginny Lemon and about being nonbinary. Why was it important for you two to have that conversation?
It’s really weird. [But] that was really incredible. No one goes in with that intention, right? No one goes into [Drag Race] being like — well, I never went in being like, I’m gonna have this conversation, this conversation, this conversation. It all happens very organically, it’s very raw. And it was a really heartfelt moment between the two of us. I think it allowed people to really connect because we weren’t coming from a place of intimidation. It wasn’t a place where we were trying to attack anyone — it was literally discussing how we feel, and if it relates to people. I’ve said it before like, the experience of being nonbinary is different for everyone else. And there is no right or wrong way, but also, what we discussed about feeling a bit different — that can relate to anyone, that can be for anyone. And I think that’s why it was received so well. Because people found a bit of themselves in it, and if they didn’t, that’s fine, I think they sympathized with us.

Your pink “UK Hun?” outfit — and the hat — is so iconic. Is there a story behind it? 
I pulled references from ’90s Lil Kim for that. Also, Anastacia — pop princess, with the gold chain and the sunglasses with the cowboy hat. Very Madonna as well.

Do you think lip-syncing the first week — and then having to leave the competition because of COVID — affected your future performance on the season?
It definitely did. My place in the first four episodes: bottom two, safe, high, high. But I was clinging on by my teeth; that time in the bottom really threw me off, and no one expects it. I went into [Drag Race] with a certain idea of where I was going to end up, and it was not in the bottom two the first week. Like, obviously no one thinks that. I was like, Okay, I really need to work my ass off. Having that break, it allowed me time to kind of sit with myself and think about what I’d done in the show and what I wanted to do. Ultimately, I went back and was like, I’m just gonna go back and be myself. I grounded myself a lot more. I believed in myself a lot more. I went back and was like, I’m just gonna smash it.

Your Norwich outfit the first week — I seriously loved it! What does that look represent to you?
That to me was a subversion of gender politics. I went to these football matches, which were highly hypermasculine, and femininity was not praised there. Taking that and spinning it on its head — bringing something seen as masculine, but feminizing that and putting it on the runway, and pulling references like the mullet and gold tooth, the things that were kind of associated with that football hooliganism culture — I love doing things like that. It’s very important. It all makes that fire for me.

Both your acne and mitochondria looks were really interesting takes on those specific challenges; How did these looks help bring your own style of drag onto the runway?
[Me and] my creative partner Ella Lynch, we work on a lot of looks and concepts together. For [“Stoned on the Runway“], we wanted to subvert it; we came up with the idea to do the acne. And it was the same when we came up with the idea for Preherstoric, as well — to do bacteria. I was going to try and do things that weren’t the obvious choice to do. Like, in the first episode and almost going home: I walked in with the pink vegan bitch look and the big blonde hair, and I wanted people to think I was a bimbo. I wanted people to be like, “Oh she’s only a bimbo, she’s not gonna have much to give.” And I wanted to prove people wrong. It almost backfired! I almost went straight away. But I’m so glad I didn’t, because what’s important to me is like, you shouldn’t judge people for what they look like. Even just walking in as the “bimbo aesthetic,” but knowing that I’m not that — I pull references from that, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a brain or you can’t do things. My inspirations are people like Pamela Anderson, who is a social-justice warrior but she’s also a sex symbol of the ’90s. Some people don’t take her seriously for it, but they should — just because of what you look like doesn’t mean that you don’t have something to say. I’m so glad with my journey on the show that I allowed myself to open up and for people to see that weird side of me.

What did you learn about yourself during the season?
What I really learned was that I was quite good at dealing with pressure. I didn’t crack; I almost probably did, but I didn’t let it get to me too much. Obviously, mentally you’re going like, Fuck, what’s going to happen? What am I doing? Particularly the design challenges, everyone’s always speaking like, “Oh, you seem so calm.” And watching it back, I really was kind of proud of myself for how I dealt with the pressure. I never took it out with anyone else. I never took it out on myself. I kind of just pulled my socks up and got on with it.

We hear from Drag Race fans about what songs they hope to hear lip-synced to on the main stage. Is there a song you want to see lip-synced to that hasn’t yet? 
Oooh. Paris Hilton, “Stars Are Blind.”

I also need to ask you an important question: Are you planning to release a full version of your “UK Hun?” verse? 
[Laughs.] I’ve got a full song. I’m working on an EP, and I’ve actually got a track coming out very soon. I’d written it, recorded it, and it’s a bop. It’s a Bimini Bon Banger. I’m very excited. It’s all about growing up — it’s got singing, a bit of rap. Very heavy on the social commentary.

What would you tell Bimini before Drag Race UK?
Get ugly, get amongst it, don’t hold back. You’re never going to get this experience again, unless you do an All Stars, but let’s ignore that. Just don’t hold back. Get involved, get into it, have as much fun as you can, and be as stupid as possible.

Don’t Sleep on Drag Race U.K.’s Bimini Bon-Boulash