1st February 2022
Photographer & Editor in chief: Owen James Vincent
Interview: Savannah Small-Swaby
Logo Design & Graphic Design: Emily Curtis
Anything but mediocre, ReVamp had the privilege to chat to one of the UK's favourite queens, Cheryl Hole. A queen of many talents, Cheryl hasn't been resting on her laurels since her first season on RuPaul's Drag Race UK with TV stints such as Celebs on the Farm already under her belt.
This year, Cheryl's taking her drag career even further appearing on the groundbreaking RuPaul Drag Race UK vs. The World where she's coming back to show everyone she's more than a queen in a bodysuit.
We know Cheryl Cole and girl bands were a huge inspiration for your drag persona but how else did your childhood shape Cheryl Hole?
I was a musical theatre kid when I was growing up. When I was six years old I got put into theatre school because my year one teacher literally said “he has a lot of steam to burn off and I think this is the best avenue”. So I think that opened up my eyes to this brand new world I didn’t know just yet.
Musical theatre and dance shaped me growing up and it was through those mediums I discovered drag. The influences of musical theatre, pop music and culture all lead me to this moment where I discovered the mainstream approach to drag because before that all I knew was pantomime dames and classic pub drags like Baga Chipz.
If you weren’t a drag queen what do you think you would be doing?
In all honesty, I would have no clue what I would be doing right now. I’m very much a person who rides the waves of wherever the moment is taking me. When I left university I had no clue what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to go down any route in contemporary dance where I didn’t feel confident. I did well at university but I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Knowing me if I wasn’t in drag I would probably be in a theatre somewhere.
As an Essex Queen, how would you describe Essex style today and how has it changed since you were a kid?
I don’t think the Essex style has really changed since I was a kid. Everybody is still out there and lavish but I think it is a more refined taste; it's fine tuned and pushed to the extreme. It’s high hair, big makeup, and just feeling your absolute best 100 percent but of course, the Ugg boots are a staple.
Let's talk about Drag Race. What were your funniest and embarrassing moments?
Obviously, you know there's a lot that goes into drag. There are often several layers, simple and not-so simple tasks as a drag queen, like trying to go to the toilet.
There was a day on set when I consumed a lot of liquid because one I needed energy and two we've got to be hydrated divas. So, it got to the short period between going to the workroom for Untucked and going to the main stage for deliberations and finding out everybody’s fate and I honestly thought I was going to wet myself. I had to do a little quick wee and I held the rest of it on the main stage, so I was about 80% full and 20% out.
What do you think makes a good Drag Race judge?
Somebody who is invested in the art form. Someone who knows the hard work and passion that goes into it but is also entertained by everything we do. It’s somebody that’s got heart and compassion as well because what we do as artists is difficult and very very challenging. You need somebody who has empathy and can enjoy what we do but also scream from the judging panel when we’re turning it out.
What would you say to the Cheryl Hole on Drag Race UK season 1?
I would say "Chez step your pussy up, stop seeing everything as so literal." On season 1 I took everything at the surface level I saw it, and being in that environment opened my eyes so much. There are so many layers to drag, like Shrek says “onions have layers” well drag queens have layers, too. You literally have got to find all the surfaces and I think going into this new season I was so happy with everything that I prepared because everything was so thought out and I’m excited to see the growth and evolution of me in 2022.
How does it feel to be back and how much do you feel like you’ve grown since season 1?
Honestly, I've grown tremendously since finishing season one, having that four-month break, and then having the cast being announced. Going back to Drag Race I felt a lot more confident, whereas me going into filming season 1 I was very very timid with how I was approaching everything. This time around I was excited to show how I’ve turned it and stepped it up. My looks aren’t that bad and I want to prove that I wasn’t rubbish the first time around, it was just unfortunate circumstances.
How did you meet your husband?
We met at my first-ever drag gig. I was performing and he was dancing as a podium boy in his little Andrew Christians and he would famously tell you he asked me out on our first date at this gig and I turned him down but I wasn’t in a good headspace to go in to a relationship I had to crack on and do what I needed to do. We ended up working together loads, being together loads and then Shea Coulee got me very drunk, I kissed him, and then the rest is history.
We know he’s also your PA or to quote Hayden ‘whatever else she wants me to do’ - what advice do you have for someone looking to work with their partner?
I would say be patient. You both need to know your boundaries and understand a working relationship and not a romantic relationship because I can attest it is a struggle sometimes when I will snap as I’m very stressed out but do you know what? You love each other and you’ll push through it and you just have to remember to take time for each other beyond work.
We loved you on Celebs on the Farm. Is there any other TV show you’d want to be on, or judge?
In all honesty, I’m up for anything and very available for TV work. I thought Celebs on the Farm would be such a huge challenge for me, I’m a person that would throw myself in the deep end and make any situation work. I was thoroughly surprised as I was very petrified of animals when I was younger. My Mum watched it and had no clue how I did it all but it was a testament for me as a person. I can put this to the side and crack on with it.
So, any show that wants to come my way...Strictly, I’m A Celeb, not Love Island (that’s not my scene I’ve already got that).
Of course, we’re loving seeing you in the latest Drag Race. What else can we be expecting from you this year?
All I’m saying is keep your eyes and ears peeled for new ventures from Cheryl.
Catch Cheryl on RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs the World tonight on BBC THREE & IPLAYER