Bimini Bon Boulash on their Hackney roots ahead of RuPaul’s Drag Race final
- Credit: BBC/World of Wonder/Ray Burmiston
East London drag artist Bimini Bon Boulash is in the battle for the RuPaul’s Drag Race UK crown in tonight’s Season 2 finale.
Bimini, who lives in Hackney, is the favourite to win a trip to Hollywood to record a mini-series with the producers of the hit TV show but says there are no plans to move out of East London yet.
Bimini, 27, said: “East London is my home, really. This is where my dad was from, so I’ll be here for the foreseeable. I’m excited to go back to The Glory. I’m excited for Dalston Superstore to open up again.
“I really hope that these queer places are able to continue because the pandemic has affected a lot of them, but I’m excited to get back to my haunts.”
The finalist was born and raised in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk and moved to London as soon as they turned 18.
They said: “When I first moved to London was when I first saw a drag queen out in Soho. There really wasn’t anyone who was doing that in Great Yarmouth at that time.
“I had really amazing friends in my teenage years, and we experimented and had fun, but when I moved to London I thought ‘wow, this is crazy!'”
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They continued: “Drag allowed me to explore my own identity a lot more.
“If you say to someone ‘what is drag?’, they’ll say ‘female illusion’ but I think it’s so much more than that. What I do isn’t necessarily trying to give the illusion of being a female: mine is just an extension of me, dressing how I want and putting makeup on.”
Bimini is not the only local queen to feature in this series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.
Asttina Mandella starred in the series, winning the first challenge serving two looks: a tribute to British LGBTQ+ ally Naomi Campbell and a hometown-inspired East London look.
She was knocked out after the third episode’s “maxi challenge” when she was tasked with creating an outfit using the same materials and colours as Bimini.
Was there a rivalry between the two local contestants?
“No,” Bimini said. “We’ve worked together for years. The more dramatic answer would be, ‘yes, there was’, but we’ve both won Miss Sink the Pink, and she’s been my choreographer in the past. We’ve worked together extensively.”
Sink the Pink is a touring drag collective which emerged in Limehouse 13 years ago.
Bimini said: “Seeing her on the show was amazing.
“Actually, we bumped into each other in Dalston about a week or two before we went into filming. We were both coming out of the same wig shop and were like: ‘What are you doing?’
“But no rivalry. That’s something I didn’t try to do in the show.
“The only person I was trying to compete with was myself and that’s important when you go into something like this. You can either compare yourself to everyone around you or trust in yourself and know what you’re putting out there is different.”
Bimini is a non-binary queen, a part of their identity which they discussed on-camera early in the series.
They said that while their looks are fashion focused, they would like to use their platform as a means of social commentary.
“I’ve got lots of things that I’m working on. I’ve got music coming out which I’m happy with, and some deals which I can’t really discuss at the minute,” they explained.
“I’m hitting up every avenue I can. I want to show that you can’t put a drag artist in a box: we can write books and write music that people can enjoy.”
Bimini will face Lawrence Chaney, Ellie Diamond and Tayce in tonight’s finale.
- BBC Three brings the final episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK to BBC iPlayer from 7pm, Thursday, March 18.