Bianca Del Rio: On My Culture Radar
Drag queen on her love of Glenn Close, Cher’s fashion designer and Madonna’s Ray of Light as her get-ready album
Bianca Del Rio: “On the days I don’t have a show I can eat in a restaurant, but normally it’s just nibbles here and there because it’s a nightmare when you’re in drag.”
Current favourite book?
This is the first tour where I’ve not brought a book with me. But I do have my book, which is Blame it on Bianca Del Rio. A lot of people ask me questions through social media, so I thought why not give advice in a book. I’m the appropriate example to tell you how to live your life, because if you look at my shining example, you think wow, how did that clown get there. It’s the worst advice you can possibly get, but there’s truth in there. I must add, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
I went to Miller & Carter in Newcastle last night and it was a lovely experience. It’s a steakhouse and I don’t eat meat, but the sides were very delicious – the baked cheddar mushrooms in particular. On the days that I don’t have a show I can eat in a restaurant, but normally it’s just nibbles here and there because it’s a nightmare when you’re in drag.
I love Wanda Sykes. She makes me laugh hysterically. She’s a fabulous black woman who’s a lesbian and has a lot to say. She’s been in quite a few movies too, like Monster-in-Law with Jane Fonda, where she played her assistant. She’s a little raunchier than Ellen DeGeneres but she’s not Joan Rivers raunchy – she’s nice and in-between. I haven’t seen her live in a long time but I do try to keep up with her shows and specials on Netflix.
I saw War Paint in New York with Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, which was wonderful. It’s about Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, two fabulous women who started cosmetics companies way back when, and it goes into their empires and their rivalry. It’s rare you go to a new musical and really enjoy it, but I thought it was absolutely lovely. I live in LA so I don’t get to see much theatre anymore. They have a lot of touring shows but it’s not like New York – I lived in New York for 15 years and you can walk out on the street and there’s something to see.
Bob Mackie is the long-time designer for Cher, Diana Ross and Carol Burnett. He’s just designed the costumes for The Cher Show, a new musical production of Cher’s life. He’s responsible for 99.9 per cent of the things she’s worn in her career so if you’ve liked any crazy, skimpy thing she’s worn, Bob Mackie is the guy to blame.
I always go back to Madonna’s Ray of Light. I often listen to it when I’m getting ready because you have to have the right kind of music when you’re getting in drag. It’s got a good energy. It’s 20 years old, can you believe that?
Amsterdam’s my favourite place to visit. I think it’s because everyone smokes weed there, they like to have a good time, and they’re on a bike, so life’s a little less hectic.
No one can play crazy like Glenn Close. I loved her in Fatal Attraction, 101 Dalmatians, The World According to Garp – all of those are great. And she hasn’t won an Oscar yet. Nicole “no-moving-face” Kidman has an Oscar but not Glenn Close, it’s crazy.
Social media profile
One of my favourites on Instagram is @dublin_zoetrope. He does these musical theatre/Meryl Streep/Glenn Close memes that are truly hysterical. He’ll take a regular photo of them and create an entire storyline, and it makes me cackle out loud. In between all the naked people and drag queens in my feed, it’s nice to have something funny.
Maybe I’ll bring myself to see Mamma Mia 2 because Cher’s in it, but I’ll have to have a cocktail or two beforehand.
Bianca Del Rio brings Blame it on Bianca to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin on Monday, August 6th