For Bumpa Love, entering the Werkroom on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under Season 3 was a true “box checked” moment. While competing against several of her real-life colleagues might’ve posed a challenge to some, Bumpa met the challenge head on, even competing against Ashley Madison in a not to be missed lip sync for your life! I caught up with Bumpa Love to discuss her illustrious drag career, why Drag Race Down Under was a different experience entirely and why she is ready for her next chapter now more than ever!
Michael Cook: You were an absolute joy and a treat for the fans to get to fall in love with on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under.
Bumpa Love: Oh thank you, it was a treat to be on the show, I’ve got to say!
MC: As a seasoned queen, what was the experience like for you? Your perspective is most definitely a unique one.
BL: Absolutely it was such a unique experience and you’re right; I’ve done everything except for this; this is the one thing that I have not done. For me, this is the Olympics of drag, I had to be realistic about it. To be on the show it is something that I thought I would never get to do. So now I’ve done it, I’ve checked it off and it was such an amazing experience. Even though I am one of the “older girls”, I’ve learned so much and I am really looking forward to using some of that. I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve, but I’ve learned so much from being on the show, I loved it.
MC: It’s so refreshing to hear that because so many people think at a certain point they actually stop learning, while I feel that you simply can never stop taking in new knowledge.
BL: Many years ago, I always thought that you could only be as good as your next gig. So now literally, I am only good as my next gig. I have been lucky and blessed to get as much work as I want. I surround myself with an amazing team of all ages, sizes and colors.
You see two of them on the show, two of my girls, Isis (Avis Loren) and Ashley (Madison), which was an amazing experience. I do surround myself with really super talented creatures of the night; working with others I found has really helped me. I really thought that I knew everything until I went on that bloody show (laughs)!
MC: It’s always such a treat and adds an entirely different layer to the competition to find that people competing against each other know each other in a different way outside of the competition. For you in particular, that must have been truly surreal.
BL: It was a bit of a shock, I’ve got to admit. Especially for us having three from the same place, I would rather if be just one. Straight away, I thought “Oh, I’ll have to send these girls home”. I did know of the others and it was so unfortunate that on the first episode, no one got to see my reads because I read every single girl that walked in the door! I had Ru laughing, the cast laughing, and I think I only got about ninety seconds in that first episode, but it was hilarious.
MC: Seeing girls in nightlife and then being in the werkroom with them in a competition setting is definitely a complete change up, wouldn’t you say?
BL: Oh exactly! When I walked in, I had so much energy I was like “Pow!” because that’s how I roll. I think the girls were taken aback, because I was just like “Boom” someone would say a name and I would say something funny straight back, that is kind of how I work. It was definitely a very unique experience, yet again.
MC: How did you get started in the world of drag?
BL: I was always in the performing arts and always worked in the performing arts. I did tv, film and musical theater for a little while, but I really got so inpatient. You are doing clips for something and you are on for two seconds, but you have to wait for forty-eight hours. I was always thinking “I have to do something else, I really like working”! With drag I can style wigs, I can sew costumes, I can do choreography, I can mix music, I can do shows, I can do the whole thing and I am constantly busy. When I started thinking about drag and RuPaul was one of the very first drag queens that I saw live, I was so inspired by her that I thought, “If that big brown gorgeous woman can do it, then so can I”!
MC: Knowing how to sew is such a key quality to have, but you can truly do almost anything it seems. What is one thing you are not able to do that you would like to learn to do?
BL: The spilts. I’ve always wanted to be able to do the splits! Even though I’ve trained as a dancer and performer, I still can’t do the splits (laughs)!
MC: What are your rose and thorn of your Drag Race Down Under experience?
BL: Being told by RuPaul twice that I looked twenty five years younger! Twice in two different episodes, I have that for the rest of my life. I think my thorn was my looks, I had quite a few designers not deliver my costumes in time, so I had to pull together a few of the looks. For me, that was a real thorn in my side and I hope to God that I get an opportunity for something else. I’ve got my whole team lined up this time. And they know that I’ll punch them in the head if they don’t get everything to me on time (laughs)!.
MC: The time between you are cast on Drag Race to when you leave can be such a challenging timeframe, but it certainly teaches you to work under immense pressure. Do you think that you are ever really ready to go on Drag Race?
BL: No, of course not. And I can sew! I pulled a couple of my costumes out of thin air because I can. It’s such a unique experience; you think you know what’s going to go on and what is going to happen and how you are going to be, but you have no idea.
MC: In your long and illustrious career, have you gotten to travel and bring your drag to other locales around the globe?
BL: I have, I have traveled and I have performed a lot in New Zealand and around the world. Not so much in the past few years because I have had my venue (Vau d’ville Drag Cabaret Restaurant) and have been working here for the past six years. Now, I have been offered a couple of flights around to places and I am really looking forward to touring. I am also looking forward to what other experiences I can have after being on the show.
MC: Have you gotten to perform in the United States as of yet?
BL: I have been to the States actually, I’ve been to L.A.!
MC: How does drag in the United States differ from drag Down Under?
BL: I’ve always wanted to work in the southern states like Texas and all that, I have a couple friends there. I love the feel of the girls, I think we would get along like that. I think that they would do really well because they are really unique the way that Australians perform. I think it would be kind of wacky to do in front of an American audience, but I think in a really good way. I think it would work.
I love Americans, there’s a venue here called Circuit that I used to do shows at. Whenever there are Americans in the audience, they would always come up and give money to me!
MC: So many girls now are making drag their business and their brand. If you could give any performer any advice on truly making it a business, what would it be?
BL: Don’t fuck around. It’s a business. You have to work very very hard. A lot of my facade is this drunken lady, but that is a character that I have worked on for many years. I wake up, I know what Im doing, I know if I have a rehearsal, and I know that I have to be on time, all of those professional things. A lot of people that I have met over the years that wanted to do drag, I tell them what the work ethic is. It can be a full time job but you need to do the work.
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