Drag Race legend explains why the UK seasons need to give contestants a cash prize
RuPaul’s Drag Race season four contestant Willam Belli has explained why they think the UK spin-off series deserves a proper cash prize.
The UK series, now heading towards season five, offers no financial reward for the winner.
Unlike the US series, which has upped its prize to $150,000 for the victorious queen, Drag Race UK bags the winner a Hollywood mini-series and, of course, a handful of RuPeter badges along the way.
However, Drag Race US star Willam has spoken out against this, telling Digital Spy: “The one way [Drag Race] could change, and should change, is that they should give the girls in the UK a prize. They spend a lot of money on costumes, and they don’t pay them for that.
“Some of these girls are coming out in the red, poor Veronica Green. They need to pay the girls a prize, especially the ones that win or get to the top four because that is thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds worth of outfits and hair.
“It’s not like my season where you could just roll up in trash bags.”
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Drag Race UK season three contestant Veronica Green has been open about the financial struggles she went through to appear on the show.
“I was virtually bankrupt – and when I say that, I couldn’t even put food on my table. My fiancé was having to support me through the toughest time of my life, because I couldn’t afford anything,” she told PinkNews.
William adds that contestants need up to 15 costumes to even audition.
“It is a big undertaking,” they continue, “so first you need to afford to be able to audition, know how to make a tape, and all of these things.
“You already have to be serious and committed to drag, and drag is expensive.”
Cheryl Hole also spoke of her own hopes for future seasons of the series, saying she hoped for more drag representation on future UK seasons.
“So many different representations of bodies, of trans performers. I would love to eventually see all types of drag represented on TV,” she told Digital Spy.
“Shows like The Boulet Brothers Dragula do that already with the kings… It’s so fun to work with a collective of not just queens, but drag artists.”
The main reason cited for why the UK series does not currently have a prize is because it airs on the publicly funded channel, BBC Three.
Even BBC game shows only give out small cash prizes, and shows such as The Traitors – which offered up a sizeable £120,000 – are financed by the production company.
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