The Norm Can Conform

The opinions you never asked for on the subjects you’re not bothered about.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK S2 Ep 1: It Started With A Gag

I for one speak for all of us when I say 2020 was a travesty and 2021 has been a gag in the worst possible sense. I’m not shocked that shit is still going down but I kind of hoped it wouldn’t be. However, we have (finally) been blessed with Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and my life is complete again.

Before I get into the review I just want to say that the queens have done a phenomenal job having to battle with the pandemic, working on their graft throughout the lockdowns and continuing to serve a gag after a gag after a gag and we’re only on episode 1! So no fannying around, let me get straight to the review.

a gag

Entrance Looks – Toot or Boot

I’m gonna give a quick toot or boot on what I thought of each entrance outfit and then I’ll throw in a little ‘first impression’ of each queen.

Lawrence Chaney – Toot

Lawrence Chaney

I love these colours on Lawrence. I think the printed dress that goes into the leggings and boots look really contemporary and fit her beautifully. The wig is lush and it reminds me a lot of Violet Chachki.

Lawrence Chaney out of drag

Not only does Lawrence look great but she stormed into the werkroom with a ball of energy, great charisma and hilarious jokes. I genuinely think this is going to be one to watch!

Cherry Valentine – Toot

Cherry Valentine

Stunning. I’m not crazy about a bodysuit but if you’re going to do one, do it well. And my god, Cherry did it very well. She looks vampy, gothic and sexy. The headpiece is beautiful (even if it didn’t quite make it through the door on her first attempt). The shoes are high to the sky and the sleeves are bellowing beautifully. I love the rhinestoned scars on the bodysuit too. My only critique of the outfit is that the jumpsuit stops, black tights are visible into black boots. I wish she wore boots that went over the jumpsuit rather than seeing the odd cutoff.

Cherry Valentine out of drag

Cherry’s laugh is already so contagious (no pandemic puns intended) and I think she is going to be such a bundle of joy to watch on screen.

Tia Kofi – Boot

Tia Kofi

I must say, the @wowpresents Instagram did her a little dirty with this picture. Still, she posed for it. Outfit wise, not crazy. Don’t love, don’t hate. It’s just a bit ‘meh’ for me. Although I will give her some props because the heel/sock combo looks beautiful – big fan of those.

Tia Kofi out of drag

I enjoyed her entrance vibe of doing a fake reveal and she definitely seems to have a bit of an attitude and I’m here for it. She has a ‘take no shits’ vibe about her that could be interesting in the competition. She’s already stated that she as a Camden queen are more talented than East London queens but has she already started digging her grave? Time will tell. And very soon perhaps because the next queen is from… You guessed it – East London!

Bimini Bon Boulash – Toot

Bimini Bon Boulash

Move over Linda McCartney – there’s a new vegan in town and she looks banging. I’m living for Bimini’s outfit. The boots are sassy, the baby pink leather bondage top and chaps look great and I enjoyed the ‘vegan bitch’ studs in it.

Bimini Bon Boulash out of drag

She’s so East London it hurts and I bloody love it! Her Bimini Bon Boy Look also gives me life. Bimini clearly loves expressing herself through her outfits and I can’t wait to see what else she brings to the competition – if for nothing else, for her dry personality alone which gives me life.

Ginny Lemon – Toot

Ginny Lemon

A gag to end all gags! Ginny Lemon is here and I fancy a slice! I don’t think we’re going to get many ‘couture’ outfits out of Ginny and I honestly don’t care. She has her own unique look so as long as it’s yellow with blue brows and red lips I’m going to be happy. I actually enjoyed her dress with the jelly sandles with a slight heel. The clutch bag was a treat and the yellow fur hat was magical.

Ginny Lemon out of drag

Ginny Lemon is a queen to watch, I’m telling you now. Not because I necessarily think she will win the show but she will definitely bring entertainment in buckets. I love a camp comedy queen and they don’t come much camper than this one. My casting prayers have been answered!

Ellie Diamond – Toot

Ellie Diamond

Stunning. Ellie Diamond looks utterly beautiful and I love the contrast of her being incredibly tall yet wearing a little doll inspired outfit. The silhouette is perfect and the little teddy bear with the matching outfit did amuse me. Her hair and makeup is also stunning – this is how you make a first impression.

Ellie Diamond out of drag

I rather like Ellie’s vibe. Her personality seems fun and I think she’s certainly going to be one to watch in this competition.

Sister Sister – Toot

Sister Sister

I fucking loved this outfit! Sister Sister’s entrance look is the perfect intersection between glamour and camp. Nothing quite goes which makes it go even more. She’s wacky but she clearly also has a fashion eye. The blue victory roll wig looks great on her, the chunky orange sleeves and the pale pink dress looked great. I’m sure it’s no secret that I love the blue circle around the mouth she does – as you may have already seen, I recreated her makeup as one of my Sassicism art prints – click here to see it.

Sister Sister out of drag

I’m keeping my eye on the blue glittered orb that is Sister Sister! I really gel with Sister Sister’s personality. This is the person I want to hang out with and I can’t wait to see what she brings to the show.

Tayce – Toot


Well doesn’t she look bloody beaut?! That long weave, the coat, the boots – all lush. Nothing groundbreaking but very on-trend with drag queens.

Tayce out of drag

Out of drag, I fancy him. Those eyes, that voice – lush. I really don’t have anything else to say. I just fancy him.

Joe Black – Toot

Joe Black

My kinda gal! Bloody love this camp old Hollywood glamour that Joe brings to the table. The emerald green feathers and lining in the cape were lush, it matched her nails and eyeshadow and she just made a big bold statement as she entered. Perfection.

Joe Black out of drag

It’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of Joe Black. This is the sort of cabaret queen that I want to throw a lot of money at when I see a show.

Veronica Green – Boot

Veronica Green

Erm…. Me no likey. It looks like something found in a charity shop with some mesh attached to the bottom. The wig was a bit bland and the makeup didn’t give me anything at all. Also, where are the accessories?! No necklace or earrings? A big miss for me.

Veronica Green out of drag

Contrasting from her entrance look – I actually really like Veronica. I think she seems really lovely – a potential Miss Congeniality if the show bothers to do it this year. Veronica, it wasn’t the strongest look but I’m rooting for you!

Asttina Mandela – Boot

Asttina Mandela

Why was the inside of this jacket not lined? It threw me off the whole look. Also, the whole outfit gave me dancer vibes which I know is her thing but it gave me backing dancer vibes. 😬

Asttina Mandela out of drag

She’s confident. But could it be all talk with her dance ability? Probably not but wouldn’t that be a kick in the fanny if she buggers up a lipsync? Answer: yes.

A’Whora – Toot


This is such a great pornstar/dominatrix version of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. I think the outfit looks stunning on her and the wig is beautiful. I wasn’t crazy on the white tights. I wish she opted for more traditional white stockings and suspenders to give me the full porn fantasy. The bow on her head I was was extreme too. It’s big sure, but when her wig is that high, the bow should have been standing up not laying flat.

A'Whora out of drag

Personality-wise… I kind of think she’s going to be the bitch of the season. No joke, I get the vibe that she’s here to stir the drama and we didn’t really get any of that on the 1st UK season. Well, The Vivienne wasn’t keen on Cheryl Hole at first but they get on just fine now. I hope she doesn’t bring too much of the American drama to the show unless it’s justifiable. Either way, I’m sure it’ll make great TV. Also, am I the only person who thinks she looks like Lady Tottington from Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit?

I think it’s the mouth and the close-together eyes. If not, wipe away the smile to see the sinister, bitchy vibes underneath and you get Mrs. Tweedy from Chicken Run.

And those are our queens for the season! I’m honestly so excited because what a cast!


Like last season, the queens had to do a wee photoshoot with a British vibe. This year we had a Wimbledon themed shoot and it was alright. I think they went back to the old school days of throwing shit at the queens or making the shoot difficult so I appreciated the vibe in that.

Ginny made me howl with her personality and banter. Tia was a bit… meh. Most of them were just there if I’m honest. Bimini was a bit of a saucy minx and Lawrence had some great humour. Lawrence is really giving me the narrator vibes of the season.

In the end, it was Lawrence Chaney who won the mini-challenge and that was about it. More stuff happened, queens had chats – on to the runway!

Like the premiere last year, the queens had to do 2 runway looks. A hometown hero look that showed who they are and where they’re from. And this year the queens also had to do a gay icon that inspired them. So let’s get straight to the toots and boots.

Category Is: Gay Icons – Toot or Boot

Joe Black / David Bowie – Toot

This for me is honestly one of the most stunning things to ever walk down the runway. The whole ensemble was perfection. I fully commend Joe for not doing a fancy dress costume of Bowie and actually taking an iconic suit and turning it into a gown to make it more drag. The makeup was beautiful and I will also say that I loved the wig – it wasn’t a mullet but it still gave me a mullet vibe just slicked down into a finger wave. Nobody can tell me this isn’t perfection. So BOG OFF CAM! And by Cam I mean Michelle Visage who said she didn’t get Bowie from this look – do one you crank.

Asttina Mandella / Naomi Campbell – Boot

Asttina gets a boot because the outfit is pretty but it’s not an obvious Naomi Campbell vibe for me. It would be perfect for a “big gown” runway theme but yeah, wasn’t obsessed – this just got a boot because I preferred the other Naomi look but the dress was nice… I just didn’t get the vibe.

Ginny Lemon / Kate Bush – Toot

I squealed with sheer delight when Ginny stepped onto the runway. This for me was spectacular. It also proved that you don’t have to have the most expensive costumes or custom gowns – you just need to be able to sell a look with conviction and Ginny did it beautifully while continuing to stay true to her own drag persona. I’m also living for the consistency with crocs and jelly sandals that Ginny is bringing to the competition.

Tia Kofi / Alan Turing – Boot

Conceptually this outfit was fine but I didn’t like it. She should have come in a short dark bob and wore a sweaterdress ballgown with a tie to turn Alan Turing into a drag queen (like how Joe did Bowie). Speaking of Joe, you didn’t get Bowie but you got Alan Turing from this raver print fabric? Okay babes, yew dew yew.

Bimini Bon-Boulash / Princess Julia – Toot

Spot on – this was a photo-real look and she did it beautifully. Michelle was really off with her judging this week. She said she didn’t know who Princess Julia was and in the same breath said “you’re not giving me enough Princess Julia”. If you don’t know who she is simmer down and let someone else comment or just critique the clothes. Bimini you were lush, bravo.

Lawrence Chaney / Dame Diana Rigg – Toot

Love this look from Lawrence. Like Bimini this was a great recreation. Nothing much more to say other than it was good and I liked it.

Cherry Valentine / Freddie Mercury – Toot

Perfection. This specific Freddie look could easily have looked like it was a fancy dress costume but Cherry successfully added more glamour to the look. The boobs were huge, the wig was high and even the hoover got a modern makeover. And how gorgeous does she look even with a mustache? Beautiful.

Veronica Green / Boy George – Boot

Contrasting from Cherry, this looks like a fancy dress costume. Don’t get me wrong, the look was accurate but I feel like the makeup should have been exaggerated. Same style, but should be big and more drag.

A’Whora / Vivienne Westwood – Boot

I wanted to like this, I really did… but I didn’t. I get what she was trying to do but it felt more messy than stylised for me. I also wish she dressed as Vivienne rather than two different runway show makeups. Or at least have the ginger hair a highlighter pen orange so it still felt like Vivienne.

Sister Sister / Dusty Springfield – Boot

This was only just a boot for me because it didn’t excite me enough. However, I do think it was a good portrayal. The wig and the makeup was great, the dress felt very Dusty Springfield but it just didn’t have that ‘wow’ for me.

Ellie Diamond / Lily Savage – Toot

A safe toot. But I wish this look was even more Lily. I wanted a big pleather biker jacket over the gown or a giant fake Chanel handbag or something. She also looked too happy on stage. Ellie needed to be that classic Savage snarl to the runway to really sell the character. Other than that it was a great look, the wig and the dress were right.

Tayce / Naomi Campbell – Toot

Lush. This outfit was great – simplistic, but great. You could tell straight away that this was Naomi Campbell and I think she sold it.

Category Is: Queen of your Hometown

Next up is the queen of your hometown theme. We had this last season and it’s always nice to see how the queens choose to see how they represent themselves and their hometowns.

Joe Black – Boot

I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it but I did get the reference. I think the top half was really pretty but the bottom half of the dress felt like something was missing for me.

Asttina Mandella – Toot

I’m not that arsed about it being an ASOS jacket. Asttina had a character in mind and it was unbelievably accurate. I think this was good. (Nothing breathtaking, but a strong look).

Ginny Lemon – Toot

Love, love, love! Ginny was the only queen to give us two gay icons on the runway as this look was inspired by Vesta Tilley. Vesta Tilley was a drag king from Worcester from 1869 – 1920. The suit was beautiful, the colour was lush and the “feeling saucy?” message on the back was a not to Worcester sauce so props to her!

Tia Kofi – Boot

Hunger Games cosplay? Next.

Bimini Bon-Boulash – Toot

“Wheyy, can see your arse darlin’, g’warnnn!” This was great. It was camp, it was slutty, it was trashy and it was fab. Is Nuts magazine still a thing? If it is Bimini needs to feature.

Lawrence Chaney – Toot

Very nice, Lawrence. Not only that but it was a smart way to do Scotland without doing a kilt or bagpipes (although I would have loved to have seen some bagpipes). It was also a great contrast to her first look so well done my dear.

Cherry Valentine – Boot

Liked the idea, didn’t like the execution. It was too steampunk for me. I wish there was an underskirt because the fishnet tights and kitten heels drew me out of the look. The makeup was good though so I’ll give her credit for that.

Veronica Green – Boot

A beautiful gown but this was so non-descript. That’s all I have to say – I learnt nothing about your hometown.

A’Whora – Boot

Fancy dress costume. No ta dallyn.

Sister Sister – Toot

Sheer genius! This was the most accurate thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve had a good few nights out in Liverpool and you truly do see girls like this around the town as they get ready for their night out while yours has already started. Comical, smart and I could tell straight away that this was a scouse reference – well done my dear.

Ellie Diamond – Toot

This Dennis The Menace moment was sheer genius. Like Lawrence, I credit Ellie for not doing an obvious Scottish reference. Well executed but my only critique is that it was the same fishtail chaps as her entrance look so it felt ever so slightly repeated.

Tayce – Toot

Okay, so Tayce did an obvious Welsh reference but my god she looked good. I thought she was going to be Top 3 for her looks this week, but hey – I’m not one of the judges.

The Results

It was Asttina Mandella who was victorious in the first episode. I think she did good but I didn’t think she was going to be the winner. I honestly thought Lawrence was going to snatch the whole episode. If not her, I thought Tayce was going to win.

But the winner wasn’t my main gripe of the episode – it was who landed in the bottom 3.

A gag of a decision with the bottom 3

So the bottom 3 ended up being Joe Black, Bimini Bon-Boulash and Sister Sister and I honestly don’t think any of those queens should have been there. Personally, I thought Tia Kofi and Veronica Green would have been in the lipsync and maybe A’Whora as the other bottom queen.

In the end, it was Joe and Bimini who faced the lipsync and I was gutted. But it was Bimini who was victorious and Joe Black (devastatingly) sashayed away.

But let’s not get too down, yes my predicted Top 3 queen went home on episode 1 but that doesn’t make her any less of a legend. Joe is a star and when the pandemic is over, I can’t wait to see Joe in their natural habitat performing on stage.

Harry J Bartlett

Digital Content Creator, lover of fashion, drag queen connoisseur and all around phenomenal human being. If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would say; Gorgeous, Talented and Humble.

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