RuPaul’s Drag Race UK queen A’Whora has lifted the lid on how the series was made during the pandemic.
The second season of the BBC Three show was halted mid-way through production last March, before resuming in October with Covid restrictions in place.
A’Whora, who is one of 12 queens competing to become the UK’s next drag superstar, detailed the challenges the rules presented for both the contestants and the production team.
Speaking to the PA Media agency, she said: “Everything was done very correctly. Before even starting the filming we were tested and then, when we were picked up and arrived at the hotel, we were kept in our own rooms, no mixing, and we were again tested, and then after that if you were clear you could start the filming.
“Every day you walk in, sanitise your hands, temperature checked, we were very well trained in how to adapt to it and everywhere you travel you’re wearing a mask.”
She continued: “We all had these hand-held big screen masks that we could use that wouldn’t damage our make-up but would still protect us so they really did everything to work best for us, we never came into contact with the crew, we never came into contact with the celeb guest judges or the panel, it was always maintained.
“We had a Covid rep who was in every room to make sure it was monitored or getting too close, but it was difficult because we’ve gone from being able to snog each other’s face off to then not even being able to finger-poke each other.
“I think the difficult thing was if you’re upset or you’re having a hard time or you miss home, you can’t hug anyone, or you’ve had a bad critique, you can’t have a hug off your friend. I think they were times that were hardest but it wasn’t stress, it just felt more lonely.
“But at the end of the day you’re in a competition, you’re there for yourself, you’re not there for anybody else. It kept us all in our own lane,” she added.
Drag Race judge Alan Carr previously admitted he was “disappointed” that some of this year’s queens did not use the lockdown and the six-month break in filming to improve their sewing skills, given it is a key part of the competition.
He told Heat magazine: “You hoped that, because they now knew what the standard was, they’d get to a sewing machine and practise,” he explained.
“No spoilers, but there were some who obviously thought, ‘Wow, the standard is that good, I’m going to do something about it.’ Some of them thought, ‘Nah, I’m alright!’
“I was disappointed that some of them hadn’t, but wow, the ones who had…”
Get to know the 12 queens taking part a little better here.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK begins streaming on Thursday from 8pm on BBC Three, with new episodes arriving weekly.