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EXCLUSIVE – Socialite Life Chats with Drag Race UK’s Divina De Campo

EXCLUSIVE – Socialite Life Chats with Drag Race UK’s Divina De Campo

Drag Race UK’s Divina De Campo

While she may not have won the crown on the inaugural season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, your Yorkshire queen, Divina De Campo, has won our hearts.

This multi-talented queen has a beautiful soprano singing voice and an impressive 4-octave range and has appeared on a number of television shows in the UK, including The Voice and All Together Now.

During her time on Drag Race, Divina proved she was much more than a red wig and a silver dress, slaying every challenge, bringing breathtaking fashions to the runway and making Drag Race her-story by being part of the Frock Destroyers, who, along with Blu Hydrangea and Baga Chipz, had a top ten hit on the UK charts.

With a new single and an EP, Decoded, released this week, along with a lot of touring, Divina is one busy queen. She took some time out of her packed schedule to chat with Socialite Life about her experience on the show and her new music.

SL: Congratulations on making the top two on Drag Race UK. I have to tell you that I loved your final runway gown. It was stunning. 

Divina De Campo: Thank you! Well, you know, red wig, silver gown. (Laughs)

What was the best thing that happened to you during Drag Race?

I think probably for me, it was after everyone watched my (bottled water) advert. Because in the morning – and you didn’t see this on the show – all of them were saying, “Well, I think you’re going home. You’re just terrible.” And I was like “Oh, really? Well, we’ll just see, won’t we?” (Laughs.) That was my favorite thing, just watching them all kind of go, “Oh, shit, that’s what she was doing.” That was lots of fun. I enjoyed that.

What’s the best thing you took away from your experience on the show? 

When I was like 15 or 16, I just did not care what anyone thought. Things were so tough. The more people were like aggressive or whatever with me, the more I would push against that and be more flamboyant and louder. Being on the show let me recapture some of that and own my own space and not give a shit what anyone else thinks because actually, it doesn’t matter. 

What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you since the show aired?

So, there’s an actress here, Harriet (Thorpe), she’s been on loads of programs. She’s been on Ab Fab and The Brittas Empire and I went to see a show and she was in it. I’ve been watching this lady performing for you know, 20, 30 years, and when I came out of the theater, she’s there holding a collection book and she said, “(Gasps) My queen!” and bows to me. I was like, “Oh my God! This is insane!” It’s been a crazy thing…and then having a top ten single on the official charts here is just crazy. 

I read that the inspiration for your drag name was the legendary Divine. Was she a big influence on you? 

Yes, definitely. She was crazy and brassy and quite crude, but there was something also sort of…you know, as she’s eating dog shit, she’s kind of classy at the same time. She’s just got this sort of gross classiness about her.

And [my name] is also sort of a mix of that the Italian because, obviously, I love a lot of classical music. I think a drag queen’s name should reference and give the audience an idea of what it is that you’re actually going to do. 

Your new single “A Drag Race Song” pokes fun at all of the different songs released by Drag Race alums. Do you think that market is oversaturated?

I think Alaska’s stuff is really clever and Trixie’s is just good music – the same with Adore [Delano]. Her tracks are just really good music. I think if you’re going to make music, that should be the aim, but actually it’s just music that you believe in and it has to have a message or an idea in there.

If it’s just, “I’m so sassy. I’m so sassy. I’m so sassy. Look at me.” I mean, girl, a ten-year-old could have written that. Let’s move on a bit. But there’s still a market for it. People absolutely love it so do what’s going to pay you – and what you’re interested in. Not everyone wants to write music that you have to sit down and deconstruct before you understand what it’s about, do they?

What other kinds of songs can we expect from your upcoming EP, Decoded?   

It’s a mix – there’s dance tracks on there and then there are some real candy floss, poppy tracks – that’s what I grew up on, you know, like Britney Spears. 

What else is coming up for you? 

Well, there’s the Drag Race UK tour and then I’m off to Australia to do some things, and then I’m on to LA for DragCon, so everything’s pretty packed for the moment, which is great. That’s how I like it.

Drag Race UK has introduced us to more unconventional queens, like Crystal. How do you see the future of drag evolving? 

My EP is called Decoded, and it’s called that for a reason. The computer jargon is binary. You write computer code in binary. And if you pull that apart, there is no longer a binary. To me, gender is the binary and it needs to be decoded because I think drag should be open to everybody. I think moving forward, that’s where we’re going to.

There is an argument over whether the mainstream is going to accept that yet. I think it’s very difficult to argue against AFAB or bearded [queens]. If you are putting yourself on stage in a performative way, then you’re a drag queen. You’re specifically targeting gender, that’s what it’s about. Drag is all about gender, and gender is something that’s made up.

You’ve done work with HIV organizations and taken part in drag queen storytelling events. What causes are important to you?

Education. I used to work as a teacher and I’ve seen first-hand the effect that education has on attitudes and how kids treat each other and how they interact with the world around them. That’s really important to me – and creating a more equal society.

That’s a big thing for me. With the financial crisis we’ve held onto, the deeper the inequalities there are in our society. When the rich own everything and everyone else is left with crumbs, there are problems in the world.  And climate change. We’re all f**ked! (Laughs.)

Do you have a beauty tip you can share?

Yeah. Don’t copy my makeup! (Laughs.)

Divina answers the Socialite Seven

Other than your drag family, who has been the biggest influence on your drag career?

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The biggest influence in my drag career has been my singing teacher.

What are three things you couldn’t live without?

I couldn’t live without books. I absolutely love books. I couldn’t live without pizza. I eat so much pizza! And I couldn’t live without sleep. That’s my favorite thing in the whole world. I could sleep anywhere.

What would the title of your autobiography be?

What would it be called…Divination – like when you divine something when you speak to the spirits.

What would people be surprised to know you’re a fan of?

Computer games. I love computer games, especially platform computer games. I absolutely love them.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would probably just say stop second-guessing yourself, because when I second guess myself, then I make the wrong choice. The instant decision for me is 99.9% the right one. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

It’s not enough to beat the audience over the head with your talent, you have to make them love you. 

What do you want for Christmas? 

World peace. (Laughs.)

Stay connected with Divina on Twitter and Instagram. Decoded is now available wherever you get your music. You can also visit her website to get the latest tour information and pick up some fierce swag!

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