Drag Race UK’s Cheryl Hole addresses ‘favouritism’ claims after controversial elimination

Cheryl Hole

Another Drag Race UK vs The World elimination, another controversy.

There are two words which strike fear into the heart of many drag queens: sewing challenge!

Nowadays, it’s so easy for queens to order custom clothing, so being tasked with creating a look from scratch becomes the Achilles heel of Drag Race contestants every year.

In Drag Race UK vs The World, the sewing challenge came in episode two. The queens were tasked with creating an outfit inspired by RuPaul herself. And let’s just say some fared better than others. In the end, it was Cheryl Hole – the queen of Essex and being mediocre – who fell at the second hurdle after an outfit mishap left her out of time.

But with Drag Race being Drag Race, some fans weren’t happy with the result, with some even alleging favouritism (the scandal!). PinkNews caught up with Cheryl Hole to find out how she feels about her controversial exit.

PinkNews: Hi Cheryl! Commiserations, what was it like watching the episode back?

Cheryl Hole: I was so honoured to be able to come back. Not many queens get to get on Drag Race once, let alone come back again and showcase what they do at their best. Unfortunately, we all know the sewing challenge is my Achilles heel, but I did try my best. It was just unfortunate circumstances that I made a “boo boo poo poo” dress, but it is what it is, at the end of the day. If it was a lip sync for your life, nobody was going home over me, because that’s the one thing that I know is my strong suit.

So what actually happened with the original outfit you made? What went wrong?

Obviously, we are working as hard and for as long as possible on our outfits. It got to the last hour of the day, and I wasn’t concentrating, because I was so deliriously tired, and I sewed the two legs of my outfit together. There was no going back from it. So I went to the toilet, had a little cry, came back and I had an-hour-and-a-half. So I just did the best I could.

Cheryl Hole in a jumpsuit covered in flames

Butch queen Cheryl Hole. (BBC)

Wow, so you only had an hour-and-a-half?

Yup! It is what it is, at the end of the day. You’ve got to play the cards you were dealt.

Every year on the sewing challenge, there’s a debate about queens getting help. This year it was Baga who was accused of getting too much help. What is your take on that?

Look, I’ll keep it 100 with you: we all had help. Each and every one of us had sisterly advice, help with threading and help with the machine. Would Janey have been in the top if Mo didn’t say to her: “Girl, stop working with that fabric and use something stretchy”? No. But it was that advice and that help and support that got us all through that challenge. There was definitely a shift from everybody being like, “right this is the first episode” to episode two and realising that a little bit of advice is not going to throw everybody off their game. I asked for advice from Blu, I asked for help with my machine from Jimbo and then I cracked on. But if some people needed more help and guidance, it is what it is.

People on social media have complained that Baga is getting special treatment from the judges. Do you think there’s favouritism going on?

At the end of the day there’s no favouritism. We’re all asked back and it is Ru’s choice to have us all back. So of course, Ru is going to have a love for each and every one of us, because why would you want to see us if they didn’t care about us and want to see us do well? We don’t want to see people fail in life. Yes, sometimes it’s entertaining but, for me personally, I only ever want to see my peers and my friends succeeding and doing well. I was so honoured to be back with Blu and Baga, doing the damn thing on our home turf! It was just like jumping right back to where we were in season one.

You gave such a good pitch to stay in the competition, was it frustrating that Jujubee got to stay seeing as this is her fourth time on Drag Race?

In all honesty, I had nothing on Jujubee other than this being her fourth time. I mean, Blu said it herself that I had the worst showing in the design challenge and that was the honest truth. But if I was having to give people reasons why I deserve to stay, in all honesty, I had so much more to show. I had the talent show, which I was safe and I was thankful to be safe, but also this wasn’t my strong suit. I tried my best at it, like I will try my best at anything, I’m never going to give up. But I just had so much more to show. There’s a “Rusical” next week, can you imagine the hilarity of me dancing around and finally getting the win?

Did you have any ideas for your Snatch Game this year?

I wholeheartedly wanted to do Sharon Osborne!

Blu Hydrangea

Blu Hydrangea opened up about their gender in the werkroom. (BBC)

One of the stand-out bits of this episode was Blu opening up about their gender identity, what was it like being a part of that moment? 

Drag Race is such entertainment and escapism, but it has so many stories and there is so much heart. There is so much to learn from these queens and these drag artists out in the world, because we have so much to share: our lives, our stories. I was so honoured to be a part of Blu’s journey, because gender identity and expression is not a “eureka” moment and you’re there, it is a journey and you have to go through lots of doors and explore yourself. I’m so honoured that I could be there and be part of this journey with Blu because she is such a huge part of my life. I will do anything for that girl. She is my ride-or-die and no matter what she’s going through, I will be there. Even if it’s 4am and she wants to chit chat and talk about the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Even though she’s a shady little bitch!

Did any of the queens surprise you this year?

So when that first day happened and we’re all on the main stage and everybody’s coming one-by-one, I looked around that room and thought: “I’ve got a good relationship with half of these bitches”. I was very settled and comfortable and familiar. I was so excited to get to know Pangina, obviously her being a co-host [of Drag Race Thailand] was such a gag that I was competing against her, but also, I was like: “Oh f**k, I’m competing against her!” And Miss Janey, because I’ve been to Holland a fair few times and those bitches are talented! I was glad that my work station was with Pangina and Janey, because I got to know them and they were the only two that I really didn’t know.

Obviously you’re a UK queen, but aside from Baga and Blu, who are you rooting for to take the crown now you’re out of the running?

Lemon! [laughs]

Being serious, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Mo brings from this moment onwards, because she is a tour de force. She is an absolute phenomenon. And I just know she is going to bring so much more to whatever’s around the corner.