Drag Race UK’s Tia Kofi shuts down haters: ‘My message is this’

RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs the World season two contestant Tia Kofi in a BBC promo picture

Drag Race UK vs the World star Tia Kofi has responded to a deluge of online criticism over her run to the final of the competition.

It would be fair to say that since her first venture into the werk room walls, on season two of Drag Race UK, Tia Kofi (the artist formerly known as Baroness Basic) has had one hell of a glow up.

That’s more than evident in her track record in this season of Drag Race UK vs the World than anywhere else. She’s has gone from being eliminated in seventh place with zero wins, to a finalist with four wins and two RuPeter badges. That, for those keeping count, is more than any of the others in the top four.

Despite her stellar performance, track record and runway package, Tia is also the finalist who has received the most online hate ahead of Friday’s (29 March) final – something that hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews alongside fellow finalist, Drag Race Down Under’s Hannah Conda, Tia has responded to the deluge of hate sent her way – all for, it appears, doing well in the competition.

“My message to [those sending hate] is this: in the year that I got the phone call to return [to Drag Race], I had, months before, lost my mum. And even closer to the phone call, I lost [fellow queen] Cherry [Valentine],” Tia says.

You may like to watch

“Getting this phone call allowed me to focus on something, work hard and remind myself about joy and the things I really love. It was super important to me and I came back to represent myself and represent my season, but more importantly, to work hard, enjoy it and to do my best.

“Unfortunately for the people who want to [send hate], they are not going to be able to take that away from me as much as they want to try.”

She emphasises that online trolls cannot spin a narrative – one that doesn’t exist – that she has done poorly this season.

“The narrative being spun does not resonate for me,” Tia declares. “That’s how I feel about it. You can’t tell me that you don’t like my blue hair, because my hair isn’t blue.”

And she had one final message for the trolls. “I would like to let them know that I’m sorry for whatever it is they’re experiencing in their life that means they feel the need to tear other people down. I hope whoever has mistreated them, or whoever has taught them to behave like that, isn’t in [their] life any more, and that they learn kindness and compassion.

“I hope someone uplifts them in the way that I would like them to uplift the queens they’re supporting.”

That said, the narrative almost affected Tia’s enjoyment of her own performance. “I had a split second of questioning myself and what I had achieved,” she admits.

One Tia highlight of the series came in episode two’s Ball Challenge, and the runway in which she paid tribute Cherry Valentine, who died in 2022.

Speaking about the lewk, Tia explains why the tribute was, “important” to her and revealed that series two champion Lawrence Chaney helped her conceive it.

“As the only season two queen who was there – and, in fact, as the first season two queen to return to an All Stars format – it was really important for me to represent her on behalf of our season two sisters.

“It was emotional because this series was filmed exactly where we filmed series two, so everything felt very familiar and wearing that outfit in that moment, in that environment, was quite a lot. But it was very important to do so.

“And it was something that Lawrence Chaney and I had discussed even before I even got the phone call: that whoever from our season [went] back must do something dedicated to Cherry.”

Tia Kofi is in the final of RuPaul’s Drag Race Uk vs The World. (World of Wonder, Guy Levy)

Tia’s glow-up has also not gone unappreciated by the queen herself. “I felt very capable and very able to push myself and work harder than I worked [the first time],” she says. “Maybe on the previous season, I wasn’t entirely certain what I was getting myself in for and did not have ‘the look.’

“I feel I came ready with the full package [this time].”

Despite that, she still didn’t expect things to go as well as they have.

“The only thing that’s changed is that I felt refreshed and renewed and able to come back and compete and I surprised myself with how well I’ve done. I didn’t even bring lip-sync outfits because I didn’t think I was going to be in the top constantly.

“I’m really proud of myself.”

The finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs the World season two airs at 9pm on Friday (29 March) on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.

Please login or register to comment on this story.