Drag Race icon Bob the Drag Queen on building her empire: ‘I’m not a queer that’s easy to bully’

The Drag Race superstar sits down with PinkNews to discuss queerness, new music, and building her empire purse first.

If you’re a Drag Race fan and you’ve taken even the most cursory glance at social media recently, then you won’t have missed the news that Bob the Drag Queen is teaming up with Madonna. More specifically, a coveted slot supporting the Queen of Pop on her highly-anticipated worldwide Celebration tour; news which sent fans into a frenzy when they popped up beside the singer in a video of a star-studded dinner and game of “truth or dare” earlier in January.

It’s down to rehearsals, in fact, that Bob is running behind schedule when she sits down for a Zoom call with PinkNews in early February. Although she’s only ten minutes late, she’s profoundly apologetic, explaining that tardiness is “not my MO”. Still, if you’re going to find an excuse, arguably few are better than hanging out with Madge.

We’re not here to discuss the Celebration tour today, though (although readers can expect the lowdown on all-things Madonna x Bob very soon), but rather Bob’s long-awaited debut EP, Gay Barz.

Since being crowned the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8, Bob has definitely been booked and busy. From her HBO series We’re Here to her beloved podcast with Monét X Change, Sibling Rivalry, Bob has fully established herself as a multi-hyphenate queen.

But while there’s been a handful of original tracks over the years, including singles such as “Purse First”, “Bloodbath” and “Yet Another Dig”, a collaboration with All Stars season two winner, Alaska, Bob has never released an EP. Not that the queen is doubtful of her lyrical prowess.

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“I always say: ‘I could have written Romeo and Juliet, but Shakespeare could have never written ‘B*tch Like Me’,” she quips.

It’s a fair claim, when you realise The Bard was unlikely to ever have penned the lyrics: “If you get in my way it’s a sh*tstorm/Am I Optimus Prime? Transform/Sleeping on you hoes, chloroform/I’ve been fly since birth, b*tch, airborne.”

It’s that razor-sharp wit that infuses each and every musical offering on the EP. Music, Bob explains, is something she’s “always wanted” to explore, and while a full album is off the cards for now, now’s the perfect time to “throw her hat into the ring”.

Bob the Drag Queen’s new EP, GAY BARZ, is an unapologetic expression of Black queerness (Bob the Drag Queen)

Gay Barz consists of five songs and an interlude with Monét X Change. In one deliciously campy moment, Monét questions why the “barz” mentioned in the title have to be “gay”. Bob fires back: “Cos we gay!”

Even with a notable number of queer collaborators on the EP, Bob emphasises that their involvement comes from a place of genuine admiration.

“It’s not like, ‘Look at what I did, I have all these [queer] artists’. I just really liked them. And I wanted to work with them, and I was lucky enough to be in a position where they agreed to work with me.”

The assembled cast includes Kamera Tyme, Mikey Angelo and Ocean Kelly, who is both the mind and mouth behind the WandaVision spin-off song, “Wanda’s C*nty Vision“, and in the words of Bob, a certified “Rap God”.

Queer people, Bob notes, have a certain “flair for the dramatics”. Naturally, he considers himself part of that category, too. “I’m no exception to that rule. Let’s put it that way”.

Tyme, Angelo and Kelly all feature on the EP’s opening track, “Gay Barz (Cypher)”, which opens with the masterful line: “B the D.Q. got these straight boys stressed/Staring like you ain’t never seen a n***a in a dress.”

Is it a goal she consciously strives for in her work? “I’ve just noticed that a lot of times, straight guys seem a little bit stressed out by my existence. I think maybe it’s because I am really loud, really boisterous… and 6ft foot and 240lb.

“I’m not a queer that’s easy to bully! I’ve come to expect that people are intimidated by a loud queer presence.

“I’m a mega queer. I’m a drag queen. I’m non-binary. I am a crossdresser. I do a lot. You know, I check all the boxes in the queer-o-sphere. If you’re just getting into queers, I wouldn’t start with me”.

Intriguingly, Bob reveals that she tried to get Tim Gunn on her song “Take My Picture”. While she didn’t hear back from his team, it worked out well for listeners, who now get to hear Bob’s impression of the iconic Project Runway host. Or, as she puts it, the “Tim Gunn I’ve always wanted to see in the world”.

“I’m not in a position to take a role as a contestant, but maybe in two or three years I will be”

The perennial question asked of Drag Race stars, of course, is whether they’d return to the franchise for a victory lap.

Fans might have to prepare themselves for disappointment, though, as Bob is doubtful that she has enough juice in the tank to return to the main stage for an All Stars run.

“I don’t know that I have any more drag racing in me,” she muses. “I really think that the last time they could have actually gotten me was for all All Stars 7. I would have said ‘yes’ to that.”

Bob the Drag Queen would not – currently – return for an All Stars, though only time will tell (Provided)

In true Drag Race fashion, though, she says only time will tell if she’ll return to the main stage.

“Who knows where I’ll be in a couple of years? As of right now, I’m not in a position to take a role as a contestant, but maybe in two or three years I will be.”

Fans need not fret, though, as she’s continuing with Sibling Rivalry and We’re Here, which she both stars in and co-produces. There’s also a new beauty line in the works, before the Madonna tour will undoubtedly see her rise to pop culture domination.

When all these commitments are mentioned, Bob the Drag Queen calls upon one of her own songs by way of response. “I’m a very busy b*tch, I got a lot to do. So let’s put my itinerary up for review.” One thing’s for sure: Bob the Drag Queen’s reign is only just beginning.

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