Kerri Colby on living the ‘Trantasy’, fighting anti-LGBTQ+ hate and her candid new talk show

A promo image for new series Kerri Kares shows drag queen Kerri Colby dressed in a white frilly dress and rainbow-coloured wig looking towards the camera while she is set against a pink and starry background

In a PinkNews exclusive, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Kerri Colby discusses her new agony aunt series, the search history of Republican lawmakers, and why support for the LGBTQ+ community is more vital than ever before.

After placing ninth in the fourteenth series of RuPaul’s Drag Race, fans of Kerri Colby – inventor of the ‘heart-space’, voice of authority on trans issues and team PinkNews‘ favourite side from the franchise – immediately began a campaign to see more of the beloved queen on their screens.

Alongside Colby’s army of ‘Kerr Bears’ uniting on social media to declare that she was ‘robbed’, there were immediate calls for the drag daughter of current season fifteen queen, Sasha Colby, to appear on a future season of All Stars. Above all, the message was clear: we need more Kerri Colby in our lives.

According to Colby, the powers-that-be at World of Wonder (the production company behind the RuPaul’s Drag Race behemoth) had the exact same thoughts, pitching the idea of a Kerri-centric show to the queen before filming on season fourteen had even wrapped.

“It was right before the finale, and so I had already been eliminated at that point,” she recalls. “But [WOW] were like: ‘Look, Kerri, we have got to talk to you. Because the world, the fan base – everyone is unanimous with feeling like they need more Kerri in their life.'”

Happily, the feeling was mutual.

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“I was like, ‘absolutely’. You always got to be ready for answer when they give you a question,” she continues.

There are no shortage of iconic RuGirls who have launched successful shows on WOW Presents Plus, of course. Following in the footsteps of Trixie Mattel and Katya’s UNHhhh, Jinkx Monsoon’s Sketchy Queens and Tongue Thai’d with Pangina Heals, Colby says that the concept for her candid advice show was inspired by her evolution from being a trans woman in the public eye to becoming a wider figurehead for the LGBTQ+ community.

“What my job has become,” she muses, [is] beyond being in the media as a ‘T-list’ celebrity. I think that it’s more important that I am a person of service to my community and the people who have felt touched by my story and who I am.”

It’s an unusually humble sentiment to hear from a Drag Race alum, and despite the fact that the show’s title has her name front and centre, Colby is quick to reiterate that she’s not the focal point.

“It burst from concepts that we gathered from the Kerr Bears,” she explains. “Instead of it being a show necessarily about me, it’s more really a show about them. And people were very vulnerable and open, and just asked the things I feel like they would never ask even their own friend, or even maybe even their own therapist.”

Drag Race fans will remember that during her time on season fourteen, Colby gained a reputation for being a caring, sensitive soul. In one especially touching moment, she gave advice to Jasmine Kennedie after the queen opened up about her gender identity during an episode of Untucked.

After fellow contestants Kornbread, Bosco and winning Willow Pill came out as trans later down the line, Colby was affectionately afforded the nickname ‘Tranos’.

It’s testament to Colby’s warmth and open-mindedness, then, that “uncomfortable” conversations become opportunities for understanding in Kerri Kares. During the second episode, Colby speaks to friend and fellow model Arisce Wanzer about their journey to transitioning and living the ‘Trantasy’; a discussion that’s as entertaining as it is enlightening.

“[That discussion] was so authentic and so raw, so real,” she reflects. “Being able to share that and to know that people around the world are going to be able to see that and resonate… I think it’s going to be very healing for people.”

It’s also not lost on Colby that young trans adults will be tuning in to watch what could very well be life-saving exchanges.

“With the climate we’re in nowadays, we need more people to speak out,” she explains. “If you don’t affirm people and help them feel comfortable to be alive and to be authentic, there is just as much consequence, and just as much energy that comes back at you from doing that.

“Being able to put something out there that’s a bit more heartfelt and just raw and honestly slightly uncomfortable; the whole point is for us to learn from our history, so we don’t repeat it.”

Applying lessons from the past is a pertinent topic right now, given the rising tide of discriminatory rhetoric and legislation that is increasingly threatening the rights – and lives – of LGBTQ+ Americans.

Even as Republican politicians sharpen their attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, Colby is heartened by queer resilience.

“People have been oppressed since anyone can remember. And history will show that it doesn’t work. They tried to erase anything that makes them uncomfortable. And it doesn’t erase that. If anything, it just pisses us off. Yeah. We’re not even looking to fight nobody.”

That being said, Colby has fighting talk at the ready for bigoted politicians.

“That’s the gag of it. A lot of them that are doing so much damage – if you follow them into their late night activities, you will find that a lot of these people are all up in our business. And part of why they’re in our business is because of their own search engine history.”

In this moment, however, the focus is firmly on queer joy, and Colby says it feels “very correct” to see Kerri Kares come to life on our screens. We couldn’t agree more.

All episodes of Kerri Kares are available to stream now on WOW Presents Plus.

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