Bianca Del Rio is the alter ego of feisty comedian Roy Haylock, the season-six winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The self-professed “clown in a gown” takes some time from her busy schedule to share a little about herself with Palette. Del Rio will make a stop in South Florida for the Not Today Satan tour, appearing at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale in November.
Please tell me what your life was like before Bianca.
Before Bianca?? I don’t remember that far back! That would’ve been in my teens. I was working in local theater and opera, doing costumes, hair and makeup.
How was Bianca Del Rio first conceived, and how has she evolved over the years?
In 1996 I was working on a play in New Orleans, and they needed a drag queen. I offered to play the role. That led to guest appearances at bars, which led to regular appearances at bars, which led to hosting. I eventually started working six days a week in bars before moving to NYC.
How long does it take to transform Roy into Bianca?
Anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes... depending on the gig and how much time I have beforehand. It takes lots of spackle, paint and sand paper.
I’m certain many of our readers are interested in the process of applying for and participating in RuPaul’s Drag Race. What was that like?
Hell! You have to come up with so many looks, and I was doing it close to the deadline. If I wouldn’t have been selected, I wouldn’t have auditioned again. It amazes me when I hear about some queens sending in audition tapes for multiple seasons. That takes some serious determination.
If you were to host your own TV show, what would it be?
Oh God! Well, I’m old enough to remember Carol Burnett, and I would love a variety show type of thing. I don’t know if it’s necessarily out there, especially with a gay artist, despite Ellen’s talk show. I’m a little racier, so it might have to be on cable.
Many viewers of Drag Race were especially touched by your relationship with your friend’s daughter, Lola. Can you talk a little about that relationship?
Lola means the world to me! I’ve known Lola’s mother, my friend Kerry, since I was 17. We went to prom together, and we did theater together. Kerry was pregnant with Lola when I first went to NYC, after Hurricane Katrina. I stayed with Kerry and her husband for a while until I decided to move to New York. We ended up being neighbors after Lola was born, so I spent a lot of time with her when she was growing up. I’d stop by to see her on my way to club gigs when I was in drag. That’s how “Roy Lady” came about.
Please tell us a little about your movie, Hurricane Bianca.
Hurricane Bianca was the creation of my friend Matt Kugelman. He came up with the idea about eight or nine years ago, wrote the script, did a couple of crowd funding campaigns and then directed the filming of it last year. The movie tells the story of a New York teacher who is fired from a small Texas school for being gay and returns disguised as Bianca to wreak revenge on the town. It’s a comedic take on a serious topic, because in more than half the states in the U.S. you can legally be fired for being gay.
What can folks attending your show this November expect?
I always say to expect the unexpected. Leave your morals outside, have a drink or five, and let’s all have a good laugh! I always tell people, “You’d be as bitter as I am if you had your dick in pantyhose.”
Finally, where do you hope to see your career in 20 years?
I hope to be retired on a private island... which will probably bore me to death after 10 minutes. I’m writing a one-woman/one-man cabaret, which I’ll travel with. It will be a little different than the bar gigs. I love those, but this is more of a sit-down cabaret act that I’ll be doing, which I hope to start in New York and take everywhere.