Drag Race UK’s A’Whora recreates Elizabeth Hurley’s iconic Versace safety pin dress that she wore to the 1994 premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral. (Provided/Wildcat Gin)
Drag Race UK star A’Whora says being on the hit show and being “catapulted” into “celebrity culture” has been a “huge wake-up call” in having to “get your s**t together”.
A’Whora – whose real name is George Boyle – was a standout performer on the second season of Drag Race UK. She placed overall fifth in the series, but she made her home in the hearts of viewers for her bold attitude and even bolder in-your-face looks.
She told PinkNews that being on Drag Race was a “whirlwind of an experience” because she went from working a “normal retail job, five days a week” to having celebrities slide into her DMs.
“Leaving the show having a DM from Ariana Grande or Cara Delevingne – you don’t expect these things,” A’Whora explained. “You just get catapulted into this mainstream celebrity culture, and it’s a huge wake-up call to have to just get your s**t together.”
She added that her rise to Drag Race stardom has also come alongside harsh criticism from fans of the show. But she said, often, people don’t realise that viewers are only getting “just a pinch” of what happens over the 48 hours they record one episode of Drag Race.
“The second that episode one came out, you instantly have a message somewhere – whether it’s on Instagram or Twitter – saying ‘go die’ or ‘go kill yourself’,” A’Whora said. “You prepare yourself for it, and you think that you can handle it, but it’s a different ballgame when you come face-to-face with it.”
She said this was especially true for her over the first three episodes of Drag Race UK because she had the “villain arc”. A’Whora explained: “I was the opinionated one, and if you’re the opinionated, petty one, people will want to hate you.”
But she said those negative interactions are “five per cent” of the experiences she has with fans. A’Whora said she’s been stopped “40 times” while in Soho by people who are “worshipping the ground you walk on” and telling her how she “changed their lives” and helped them get through the lockdown.
She said appearing on All Stars has “already been mentioned” to her, but she wants to hold out on appearing on another series of Drag Race. A’Whora said she’s working on a few other TV shows, some “reality stuff” and the huge, worldwide tour with the other Drag Race UK queens that embarks later this year.
A’Whora also told PinkNews that she wants to focus her future career on drag and fashion, including making her own line of gender-inclusive lingerie. The move isn’t shocking to those who have followed A’Whora’s career throughout the years. The drag icon has a degree in fashion and has interned with Vivienne Westwood, and she even made runway looks for Gothy Kendoll before deciding to join Drag Race UK herself.
While on the show, A’Whora moved in with her friend and fellow contestant, Tayce. She even created some of Tayce’s looks because, as A’Whora put it, “a lot of her runways were s**t”.
“I think in 10 years the goal is to get back into fashion again and use my platform to do some crazy, f**ked s**t,” A’Whora said. “I want to create lingerie that men can wear to create a body of a woman, and I want to create lingerie for women that can give them the body of a man so all our trans brothers and sisters can feel included.”
A’Whora said fashion is a way for her to communicate. She explained that she is “more of a visualiser” and uses her drag to voice who she is. A’Whora explained that fashion can “literally speak globally”.
“I just think there is no better way to bring awareness to a situation or tell the concept around something than by giving it a visual language,” A’Whora said.
She even recreated Elizabeth Hurley’s iconic Versace safety pin dress that she wore to the 1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere in partnership with Wildcat Gin. A’Whora will also be auctioning off the dress and raising funds for Not A Phase, a charity supporting the lives of trans and gender nonconforming people in the UK.
A’Whora told PinkNews that herself and many of her Drag Race UK co-stars have been using their platform to “better our community” by raising awareness about trans issues.