With the news that RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under is hosting an open casting, we asked this year’s Queens to share their tips for Season 2 hopefuls.
What do I hear? Is this a Kylie Minogue song? Is this the unique twang of a New Zealand accent? Is a door slamming as RuPaul checks into MIQ? Why, I think there is, because earlier this month TVNZ announced that there will be a second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, coming in 2022.
The first season had a bumpy road at the start, but it’s hard to see the result as anything more than a success: Kita Mean, shining and sparkling, as Drag Race’s first “down under” superstar. The other big takeaway: we have so much more drag talent than the one that came on stage in the first season.
The first season has aired over half a million times on TVNZ OnDemand and is one of TVNZ’s 10 best local shows of 2021, said TVNZ’s Cate Slater. “It’s clear viewers loved seeing our local drag skills brightening up the screen. With the cast officially open, we can’t wait to see some of Aotearoa’s top contenders.
That’s right, this time there is an open casting. Drag Race has used a combination of shoulder calls and open casting in the past, and now local queens can toss their wigs into the ring in a bid to be the next drag Down Under superstar.
The drag racing giant has made long-awaited strides towards inclusiveness. Kylie Sonique Love was recently the first trans contestant to win a season, and the upcoming UK season will be the first to feature a cisgender contestant. Hopefully these local open hearings will also help create a more inclusive cast in this part of the world.
But what does it take to make it through not just past auditions, but through the show itself? We asked Anita Wigl’it, Elektra Shock, Karen from Finance and Maxi Shields from the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under how they got to the main stage and share their tips for other Drag Race hopefuls.
At the end of each episode, RuPaul yells, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love someone else?” Then Ru gets an amen in there. The biggest advice queens gave me was not to love each other, but being yourself.
Dance Queen Elektra Shock said, “Remember you are auditioning to participate in RuPaul’s Drag Race, not to do an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Leave the sophisticated editing and scripted instructions to the professionals. Use your audition tape to show them the real you, good and bad.
“They don’t want to find the next Kita, Anita or Elektra. They want to find the next you.
The current Anita Wigl’it agrees: “Be your authentic and amazing self! In our lives as drag performers, we all idolize incredible drag superstars, but the world doesn’t need two of them, it needs one of you.
Learn to sew
Every season there is a sewing challenge. Sometimes more than one! And in every season, like a gay clock, there’s a queen who can’t sew. “Learn to sew! Said Maxi Shield, the fan favorite, who sewn a garment bag in a Vivienne Westwood-style punk look.
“Take classes in making outfits for your body. Sewing has been a challenge since the very first season… You have no excuse! You might not be able to create stitching in no time like Ra’Jah O’Hara, but you can at least figure out how to thread a needle.
Get your wigs in a row
Elektra Shock, who came under fire and light roasting for their wigs last season, has a simple tip for your hearing: “Wigs! Beautifully hydrated layered wigs! “
… and organize them, literally and metaphorically
Once you’re on the show, you’ll need a big bag of tricks in every sense of the word. “Try not to think too much, there will be plenty of time for this in the labor room. Take the information given to you and prepare for whatever RuPaul might throw at you, ”explains Shock. “Drag Race is full of emotional twists and turns, and a well-packed dragster bag will help you weather the storm.”
What else could help you weather the storm? “Make sure you have a good therapist! Karen from Finance said. “Tell them to empty their schedule.“
Know the potential missions
Anita Wigl’it recommends gorging on previous seasons to “get an idea of the challenges this can bring”. Her research led her to use books and videotapes in a costume design challenge, which had been done in previous seasons with both excellent and poor results. After trying it out herself, her advice is not to use books and videotapes in your own costume.
Shield, who admits she was “shithouse” in the singing challenge, reportedly worked on her vocals and pre-wrote some lyrics. “Drag race it really is “prepare for anything and everything, but then get there and go with the flow”.
Think about Snatch Game from the start
Snatch Game has been around since the second season of Drag Race. There is no excuse not to prepare for it, or worse yet, to prepare a bad Snatch game. For every Adele, Little Richard and Maggie Smith, there are… well, more or less all the performances from the first season of Drag Race Down Under. (In fact, Karen from Finance has said that the only thing she wishes she could do is her performance at the Snatch Game.)
Reigning Down Under Snatch Game champion Anita Wigl’it, who has emerged as a memorable Queen Elizabeth II, has some expert advice. “Even though it’s so much fun, there is a lot of preparation involved in transforming into someone else and finding areas for jokes.”
And as much as you can practice, things can change in an instant. “You have to be prepared to throw all your research out the window and think on the fly,” says Wigl’it, “but it can also be practiced! Instant improv doesn’t always work well, as Kita Mean learned when she gave a questionable pivot to Dr. Seuss in the middle of the game.
Get off the beaten track
Some of the best Drag Race players have been the ones who had an interesting twist on a challenge or mission. Sasha Velor had quietly killed him for most of Season Nine, but his rose petal drop was the revelation heard around the world. Take the advice of Karen of Finance, who took the risk of dressing in Shapelle Corby: “You don’t get gold stars for being ‘good’ on Drag Race. “
There is always the next time
Maxi Shields would like to remind those attending the casting call that Drag Race is not the ultimate solution. “It really has nothing to do with what fabulous drag actress you are. If you don’t come in, you’re still fabulous. There’s always season three!
Apply to participate in RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under or find out more at rdrcasting.com. Season 2 of Drag Race Down is slated to air in 2022.
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