Bianca Del Rio: The Rolodex of Hate Tour
8656 Colesville Rd.
9 p.m. (sold out)
Thursday, Feb. 19
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” season six champ Bianca Del Rio (aka Roy Haylock) is no stranger to the D.C. area having performed at Capital Pride last summer and returned several times for monthly appearances at Town.
On the eve of next month’s season seven premiere (on March 2), Bianca pays us another visit with next week’s Fillmore Silver Spring stop for her “Rolodex of Hate Tour” (the season seven cast will also be at the Fillmore on Feb. 25). Her comments have been slightly edited for length.
WASHINGTON BLADE: Last time we were in touch you were in Australia. How was it?
BIANCA DEL RIO: I had a great time. Australia is absolutely lovely. I was a little unsure, you know, because (season six runner-up) Courtney Act is from Australia so I didn’t know how they would receive me, but it was quite lovely and I had a great time.
BLADE: How is the “Rolodex” show differently from what we’ve seen you do at Town?
BIANCA: This is an hour-and-a-half of me talking. It’s nice because the audience gets to sit down and is hopefully interested in what I have to say. It’s a little more calculated, a little more orchestrated. I explain how I become who I am and what I’m about.
BLADE: Have you enjoyed your visit to Town?
BIANCA: It’s been great. We did the dates we were scheduled and we’ll be back there again in the spring. Great people there, great staff.
BLADE: Was a second show at the Fillmore added because the first did so well or were two planned all along?
BIANCA: We always start with one and see how it goes. If it sells out, we add another. It’s a little tough on the voice, but I appreciate that people care.
BLADE: You’ve been on quite a ride since the finale aired where you won last year. What’s that been like for you?
BIANCA: Amazing. It’s really interesting the power of television and realizing how many people give a shit. I’ve been doing this for a long time so to have it at this level now is kind of insane when you realize how many people watch the show and want to come see you. It’s been a golden opportunity and rather surreal.
BLADE: You’re so quick-witted and make it look so spontaneous. How much of that is really off the top of your head or improvised?
BIANCA: I think that it’s not so much improvising as being in the moment and knowing when to use the right material at the right time. That’s one thing nice about this show. There’s a whole section that’s question and answer so I get to really test myself and you never really know what’s going to come out. Sometimes it’s like, “Oh shit, I shouldn’t have said that,” but you never really know what people are going to bring out of you. It could be really good or really bad.
BLADE: Is that a skill you’ve developed or did you always have it rather fully formed?
BIANCA: Sometimes I kid that much to people’s dismay, I’ve always had this approach. Now it’s celebrated whereas before it was considered something bad.
BLADE: LGBT activists can be so heavy handed at times. Do you worry about landing in the hot seat culturally?
BIANCA: It comes with the territory. People are insane sometimes and get so bent out of shape. I always say consider the source. I’m a man in a wig in a bar. I’m not standing on the steps of the White House making some big political statement.
BLADE: What were your thoughts on the female or she-male segment on “Drag Race” last year?
BIANCA: I thought it was silly. It’s a show where we lip sync for our lives … it’s not that serious, so it was hard for me to understand why people found it so offensive.
BLADE: What was going on backstage at Capital Pride last year? Why were you so late going on?
BIANCA: They weren’t organized, that’s all. … They kept pushing us back so we got shafted. We had the least amount of time which I thought was kind of insane, but it is what it is.
BLADE: How long was it between the taping of the finale and when it aired?
BIANCA: We filmed to a certain point, then you go back for the finale months later. There’s only so much we can say about that because we signed contracts, but it was a long, long time.
BLADE: So you had to keep it quiet that you’d won?
BIANCA: We didn’t know until it aired — they filmed us all winning. Me, Courtney, Adore — then you don’t know which one they’re going to air until it airs.
BLADE: Your expressions said so much. What was going through your head when Laganja had her big meltdown?
BIANCA: I was over it. Now I know her and understand she’s really a talented performer and a great queen but in that moment I didn’t understand all that. I was just over it that she cried like every fucking five minutes.
BLADE: Who was your favorite guest judge?
BIANCA: I’m a big costume queen, so Bob Mackie.
BLADE: What’s Ru like when he’s not “on.”
BIANCA: I was more impressed with Ru as a person than I was with Ru the drag character, if you know what I mean. He’s very likable, very approachable and quite lovely. We film for hours and hours but you only see like maybe 10 minutes so there’s a lot you don’t see. It was amazing.