Drag Race UK’s Cara Melle is an instant trans icon and fan favourite: ‘The mother that you are’

On the left, Cara Melle's promo photo for Drag Race UK season 5. On the right, Cara Melle entering the Drag Race UK werkroom.

Following the premiere episode of Drag Race UK season five, there’s only queen on the fandom’s lips: overnight trans icon Cara Melle.

The London-based drag star, who originally hails from Atlanta, Georgia, is already known in the British drag scene as an emerging legend. It’s unsurprising, then, that the second she stormed into the Drag Race UK werk room, some fans immediately predicted that she would be taking the crown.

Cara, 26, arrived in the werk room with her head down, carrying a sceptre, and looking like she’d hopped directly off a flight from Wakanda. “Kneel for your goddess,” she said, as her fellow competitors looked on, slack-jawed. 

The self-assured entrance line alone was enough to get the Drag Race fandom clicking their flingers and thwacking their fans, with some declaring it the moment she won the season.

The second time fans saw Cara Melle dominate the screen was in the the ‘Fierce Impressions Ball’ maxi challenge, during which the queens had to perform on the runway of ‘Club Tickety-Boo’. 

Giving hairography for days – no, months – as well as splits and spins, all while maintaining the fiercest don’t-try-me-b*tch face, Cara Melle came away from the challenge on top.

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Even the international Drag Race alumni who were invited to watch the runway were impressed, with Drag Race Thailand judge Pangina Heals exclaiming: “Cara Melle! She is giving everything in the face, in the body, she is everything I needed to give the floor an STI.”

Perhaps the episode’s most poignant moment came from a chat between Cara, who is the first Black trans woman on Drag Race UK, and fellow competitor Banksie, who identifies as non-binary.

Discussing her gender journey and how it plays into her time on Drag Race, Cara said: “For years I have been wanting to be on this show, since season one. But I am so happy that I wasn’t on at that time, going through that horrible gender dysphoria, child. It hurts.”

She added that she auditioned for the show six times, but was glad that she wasn’t cast until now.

“I know that it’s my time now coming out as a trans woman because it just allowed me to finally be myself and go on stage so much more confidently,” she explained.

“Now that I’ve become confident with who I am, I feel like i can do this comeptiion and just be. And it feels good. I feel like I am on the right road, living my full life as a trans woman, and I love it. We’re here.”

On the runway, in the third and final part of the ball maxi challenge, Cara Melle floated down the stage as an ethereal golden goddess, and won the highest praise from the judging panel – and from the fans.

She landed in the top two queens of the week, alongside Cornwall’s Vicki Vivacious. 

Though she didn’t win the lip-sync to Gina G’s “Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit” (it doesn’t exactly seem like the sort of song she’d usually perform), fans were enamoured with her from the moment she walked into the competition, to the moment the episode ended. Season five, it seems, is hers.

Drag Race UK continues every Thursday on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.