Drag Race winner Paloma spills tea on her Walking Dead appearance: ‘Norman is a big Drag Race fan’

On the left, Daryl Dixon in the Walking Dead. On the right, Drag Race France winner Paloma.

In a crossover we never knew we needed, Drag Race France season one winner Paloma is set to star in an upcoming episode of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon.

The brand new Walking Dead spin-off, which began airing earlier this month on AMC, follows lead character Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) as he washes ashore in post-apocalyptic France.

Paloma will play drag performer Coco, who meets Daryl in an underground club in the backstreets of Paris during his fight for survival in France’s capital. 

While the worlds of drag and horror frequently merge together – The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, for example, is an entire drag reality competition for “drag supermonsters” – Paloma was the only drag queen who was eyed up for the role of Coco. 

In fact, Norman Reedus himself had requested that Paloma be written into the show.

Speaking to Digital Spy, Paloma revealed: “One day my phone just rang and it was my agent who told me, ‘They want to meet you for The Walking Dead.’ There was no audition, it was just a meeting.

“The casting director told me, ‘There is no one else in mind for the character. It’s for you. I’ve been waiting for you.'”

Drag Race France winner Paloma in a ginger wig and sheer caftan.
Drag Race Paloma has revealed that Norman Reedus is a huge Drag Race fan. (Getty/Stephane Cardinale – Corbis)

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According to Paloma, Reedus gave her a big hug on their first day of filming together, and revealed that is a “huge” Drag Race fan.

“Later, in my dressing room, the scriptwriter told me that Norman asked them to write a part for me. He told me Norman is a very big fan of Drag Race in general, but of France in particular,” she explained.

Apparently, Reedus is such a mammoth drag fan that his “dream” is to work with RuPaul on a show of some sort.

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Perhaps surprisingly, Paloma is the first ever Drag Race alumni to appear on any of the Walking Dead franchise shows. But drag fans can rest assured that her role is pretty camp, and pretty queer.

“The set was amazing. It’s really realistic and in a way, very theatrical,” Paloma shared, adding that the entrance to the club her character works is inspired by Paris’s Catacombs – an underground labyrinth full of bones.

“Under Paris, with the humidity and the dust, they imagine a world inspired by gay Paris, by Moulin Rouge. I am a showgirl with feathers. It’s very French,” she added.

While The Walking Dead franchise is unafraid when it comes to championing LGBTQ+ inclusivity, having featured several queer characters and releasing a Pride merch collection, the show’s fans aren’t all so happy about Paloma’s feature.

As a result, Paloma has had to deal with some anti-LGBTQ+ backlash.

“Because the Walking Dead fans are not all fans, they are not all LGBTQ+ friendly. They’re like, ‘What are you doing on this show?'” he explained.

Yet, in the face of hatred, Paloma remains defiant. 

“Well, it’s the future … when you make a big move like this, when you want to change the world and the world’s point of view, there is damage on the road. It’s a risk.”

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