Drag Race UK icon Ella Vaday on ‘insane’ journey from Morrisons to turning looks on world’s stage

Drag Race UK season three queen Ella Vaday poses for the camera with her hand on her cheek while wearing a blue wig, blue headband, blue jacket, white shirt and pink, black and yellow striped tie

Drag Race UK icon Ella Vaday has opened up on her “really insane” ride since leaving the runway and set her sights on a guest slot on This Morning.

The ‘beast from Dagenham East’ won countless hearts and garnered widespread acclaim from the judges during her time on season three of Drag Race UK. She wowed viewers with her stellar fashion and iconic performances, including her uncanny impression of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson

Vaday fought her way to the season three finale and narrowly missed out on the top spot to Krystal Versace after a fierce lip sync battle to Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Own Me”. 

Despite the minor setback, Vaday remained in the spotlight since her time on Drag Race UK, telling PinkNews that it’s been a “really insane” ride thus far. 

She’s been able to showcase her insane talents in countless performances in new places as she tours across the UK, France and Switzerland – an opportunity she didn’t have before appearing on Drag Race.

“On the show, you only see a tiny, tiny bit of what I’m good at, and it’s been nice to come off the back of the show and show the public what I’m really like – that I can host, I can sing really well,” Ella Vaday says.

She says appearing in the competition was a great way to “really push myself out of my comfort zone” and comments that she signed up for Drag Race UK because she was “kind of like f**k it, I’m 30”. 

Vaday had just taken a job at grocery store chain Morrisons before appearing on the show before she decided to “just go for it” and star on the show. Though, Vaday is no stranger to the stage spotlight as she’s worked on a long list of West End productions like WickedCATS, the Book of Mormon and Hairspray

“I feel like my motto in life is, ‘Just stop worrying about what other people think and just go for it’,” she remarks. 

Vaday tells PinkNews that her time after leaving the Drag Race runway has been filled with countless new projects to show off her broad span of talents as she thinks people don’t get a true feel for “all of our talents” on the show. 

“My drag is wanting to do things that are different to what other people have done before,” Vaday said. “So it’s just really exciting to be able to get all these opportunities that I wouldn’t necessarily have got before.”

She’s been able to keep “pushing the box and the envelope of what people expect” from her through her tour and new “really exciting stuff” that she can’t yet tell fans about. But she can say she’s part of the 2022 Comedy Bloomers LGBTQ+ New Comedian of the Year judging panel, set to take place on Wednesday (11 May).

Though, Vaday admits it does feel a bit “weird” now being a drag household name as she can remember watching Baga Chipz and The Vivienne on stage before she’d even started drag. A short while later, she’s now jetting off to Europe to cover for Baga in her stead. 

“A couple of years later, I’m actually there in place of that person,” she says. “It’s kind of mind-blowing still to me that experience even happened because it still feels a bit like a dream.”

Looking towards the future, Ella feels like the “sky’s the limit” as she wants to do so many things that it’s “impossible to narrow it down to anything”. She’s keen to keep doing drag and break more into the acting work as she doesn’t “feel like any of the UK queens have particularly done that”. 

“That’s been my profession for 15 years now so I’d kind of like to do a bit of that as well as get on more TV, do some presenting,” she says. 

Ella Vaday tells PinkNews that she’d love to present her own show or even work on a popular morning TV show as she’s a huge fan of such programmes. 

“If I could work on This Morning, that would be awesome,” Vaday adds. 

When asked if she’d love to be the first regular drag presenter on British morning TV, Vaday says she’d love to go on the show sometimes in full glam or even out of drag – “just see how I feel in the morning”. 

If she can’t appear on This Morning, Ella Vaday says she would “happily go back and do a short stint in the West End” as it’s been “my bread and butter” for her career thus far. She tells PinkNews that she would even be interested in writing or collaborating with someone to create a new drag forward musical. 

“Because what have we got at the minute?” she says. “We got Jamie where the drag queens are not in it that much. I feel like there could be another show which is fully drag – who knows!”