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Jonbers Blonde on ‘Drag Race UK’ & Merging A Passion For Fashion With Drag

As the dark horse of the Final Four of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Jonbers Blonde might have entered the finale of Season 4 without any badges, but she had a high fashion aesthetic and plenty of heart to spare as she battled it out for the crown. I sat down with Jonbers to dish on her rise to the finale of this season’s competition, her own journey to embracing drag as her passion, & what made Season 4 the “season of the sister”.

MC: What is it like to have been part of the Final Four on this season of Drag Race UK?

Jonbers Blonde: For me it really is. It’s more shocking than anybody, because I have zero badges; for me it really means the most. I worked extremely hard and kept such a positive attitude to get here with no badges. Going into the final with no badges I think is something that people look at as a bad thing, but I think with my track record, you can’t say that I didn’t try. I wanted a badge every single week and tried to keep that positive mental attitude every single week. Even though I didn’t get one, I still feel like a winner going into the Final Four, because I did strongly on some of the hardest challenges and my competition was extremely hard; these are some of the best queens to ever be on Drag Race UK. So to go up against these queens, I mean…

MC: What are your rose and thorn from your Drag Race UK experience?

JB: I think the thorn for me is actually that a lot of people didn’t understand my aesthetic. I think that’s one thing that is up for debate with anybody outside of who you are in your own drag. I am one of the only queens that people have done that with; every queen goes on there with their own aesthetic and presents what they want. For some reason, it has translated that a lot of people didn’t get my drag. I am there to showcase what I do and what I do is fashion, and within fashion realms we use references, and mood boards; there is no original idea. What I brought and when I got the category, I was like “if this was my Met Ball, what would my reference point be”? People always forget, there is a reference point when people do the Met Ball carpet. That is what I brought into it and unfortunately it didn’t read and that is totally fine. That is a very small thorn and it is something that is just an “oweee” not an “ouch”.

My rose would be meeting everybody and getting close to every single girl; it really is the season of the sister. Even though we had a flew blips, there were no real arguments or massive bust ups, and I know people are looking towards that and I wonder why we’re looking towards that. We should look towards the good, this is a sisterly season, this is a season where we all loved each other. Why can’t we look at the good, instead of looking at the bad? That is what I take into my every day life. Challenge wise, obviously the Rusical, Rusical was incredible for everyone, it was a moment that no one messed up, on the runway or in the challenge, and everyone’s position was clear and it could have been anyones game .

MC: When did you know that your drag was going to be more than a passing fancy and the passion you followed? 

JB: Drag for me started, and with my parents it didn’t go down too well. I moved into my cousin’s place and one of the drag competitions was to win some money and a monthly gig was doing drag. I’d always loved drag, I’d always loved the divas, I’d always loved Britney, Britney was my ultimate. I was like “I want to do that”. I’d always wanted to go to theater school, but in Northern Ireland we didn’t have those options. It wasn’t like being in England where all of those girls were there, the only big city we had was Belfast where things could happen and there wasn’t a massive amount of it. I’d done and won the competition and I won a monthly gig. That was the start of my love for drag and the performance and the bravado and just the good time around it. This was what l loved, and I could emulate men and women’s fashion all at the same time.

Before non-binary was even a topic, it was something combining all of these subjects together and making something that was truly yours. That is why to this day, I adore drag and I adore Drag Race; it brings everything together where we wanted to be as kids. It celebrates everything you wanted to do and puts the bow on the package and says you’re good at what you do. Every drag is valid, whether you are on Drag Race or not, but when you do get on it as a fan, it is amazing. 

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