Banksie Drag Race UK

Banksie on exiting Drag Race UK, trans acceptance and their future in fashion

‘For Snatch Game I was going to do the artist Banksy fused with Lorraine Kelly’

My jaw was honestly on the floor watching last night’s Drag Race UK, as RuPaul told Manchester’s icon herself Banksie to sashay away. Banksie has had a very strong run on the season so far, and I was expecting her to at least place top five. She’s become a fan favourite with her openness, her fierceness, her amazing runways and the dialogue she’s opened up about being trans and her relationship with her girlfriend. It’s a shocker seeing her go so early, but to soften the blow I caught up with Banksie for a quick interview on her sad exit from the so far outstanding season five of Drag Race UK.

Banksie! I’m so giddy to speak to you but honestly heartbroken because I really thought you’d be in the final! How are you!? How are you feeling after watching it back?

I missed loads of last night because as soon as I started the lip sync I started bawling my eyes out. Not that I was sad to be doing it or sad to be going home, but it felt like an ending place. This is a year of our lives, from filming to the end product, and it’s very overwhelming. It just felt like such a weight of.. [she nearly starts crying], urgh, I’m gonna set off again now, I’m getting goosebumps.

The editors were brilliant. I am a little neurodivergent weirdo and I was seen as that on the show, and that for me was so honest of them to do.


It was quite hard seeing you go home on a week where everyone did well. Is that more frustrating sometimes, leaving when you know you didn’t make any major mistakes?

It’s a bit frustrating, but I don’t know why from the critiques I just felt really calm. I think it was my time. Maybe if I kept going I wouldn’t have left people wanting more. I was desperate to see my partner. When you spend a whole episode talking about them it reminds you that they’re still out there getting on with stuff.

One thing Ru said about your performance was you seemed nervous. Did you feel it?

There were elements that made me nervous. We had the rehearsal with Michelle and everyone thought I did amazing. I probably should have been a bit shit. I was in trackies and slippers when we rehearsed and then we had our costumes provided and the corset wasn’t one I’d have picked, restriction wise. Wearing the hood made me nervous. I gave myself that role, so it’s my responsibility.

Going back to your partner – that conversation was really informative and moving. What did you want viewers to take from that?

I really wanted there to be a storyline on British television that was about trans people that was not what it usually is, vilifying trans people. I’m trans, my partner’s trans, Cara Mille is trans and Kate is trans. We’re all different and we all have very different journeys and that’s what makes us special. The storyline of that conversation was about love and acceptance and not getting bogged down by the Conservative government’s agenda of saying being trans is terrible. We just want to be left alone to love and to live.

I’ve had so many messages saying they’re in a relationship with someone considering being trans and they don’t know how to navigate it, but my chat on Drag Race made them feel it’s not a big deal. That to me was the only reason I needed to have that chat.

I was thinking last night watching Drag Race, Big Brother and MAFS UK all at once – all three shows have great trans women doing amazing things. Hallie on Big Brother, Ella on MAFS and you, Cara and Kate. I think on BB and MAFS these people are educating so much to people who aren’t normally around trans people and it’s so nice seeing the government’s stance isn’t reflected in the public. Do you feel like that’s the case too?

Oh, massively. When Ella was on MAFS she explained being trans to them all and past that point she was just Ella. Normalising and making people realise people are people without the label. I put a tweet out about how good the NHS were recently with my partner, and everything was respected her pronouns, her name. The NHS is the best thing we’ve got in this country, and the only thing they care about is taking care of people.

Agree. I can’t go much further without asking you about the tension and storm off from last week. Was it weird knowing it had happened and you had to wait to watch it back?

We knew it was gonna be in and knew it was gonna be a moment. The anxiety for me was I had those big ear muffs on the whole time and could barely hear anything. I was sitting there the whole time waiting for the episodes to air panicking I’d made it all up. When it came out I was actually depressingly underwhelmed! I just stuck up for myself and took some time out to sort my head out. I came back in and apologised, because that’s how you move on.

Naomi Carter said you were only out the room for about five minutes!

It’s just about knowing how it all feels to you. I know that I need silence away from everything to remember what my brain’s saying to me. I know I need that moment to process because I’m not very good at saying things on the cuff. I remember waiting by the door and listened to see what side everyone was on, and I could hear DeDe saying “she’s had a bit of a bad day.” I thought, well if DeDe’s on my side I’m going in. And then she sent me home, bitch! How rude.

I’ve got to ask: Who were you going to do for Snatch Game!? So annoying you only missed it by a week.

I know, so disappointing. My multi-layered Snatch Game was I’m Banksie, and I was going to play the other Banksy. The artist. I picked a celebrity who Banksy is, and the celebrity I picked was Lorraine Kelly.

I’m actually agog we’ve been robbed of this. Finally Banksie, Drag Race UK is done – what’s the plan next? What’s the goal?

I’ve always said that Drag Race was like a door for me. I never went into it thinking I was gonna win it, and I know that sounds self deprecating, but I genuinely didn’t think I was going to win. I thought this is just the door for people to see me and see what I can do. Someone will love it and put me on a runway somewhere. I want to go New York, Milan, Paris – crossing the world doing fashion. That’s the dream.

Catch Banksie and her castmates as RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Series 5 continues every Thursday at 9pm on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. For all the latest reality TV and entertainment news like Pop Culture Shrine on Facebook.

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Featured image via @sheisvil and @therealbanksie