Stitch, Please! is out now on BBC iPlayer


Returning to the Drag Race franchise for the first-ever international All Stars in the form of Drag Race UK vs The World, Belfast-based Blu Hydrangea brought vigour, skill and precision, winning both the competition and our hearts after her debut on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season One. Now, she’s back with her own BBC Three series – Stitch, Please! – a competition challenging costume-crazy contestants to create iconic, catwalk-worthy looks.

Congratulations on your huge victory in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World! How does it feel to be the first-ever queen of the world?

It feels crazy. I’ve watched that episode so many times, but I’ve still not been out of the house and met people who have said “I’m so glad that you won”, so I still don’t believe it. It’s amazing to represent Northern Ireland the UK, and to not only be the first-ever drag artist from Northern Ireland on Drag Race, but to now be the only Northern Irish winner.

What was this experience like for you? How did filming this season compare to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Season One?

It was more fun, to be honest. It was less stressful. Season One was like a movie – RuPaul would come in with her little tricycle and she’d have something fun in store for us. This time, I felt more comfortable in myself and more confident in my abilities. I’d done more things than just sit on Instagram and perform in one bar, which is what I was before the show. I also have more money now to create outfits, but if you’re talented and confident, even if your outfits are a little shaky, I think you could still win Drag Race. It’s more about your talent.

Did your approach to drag change between these two seasons?

I was able to put more of my own creative eye into my drag. I’m not limited by my resources now, and I’ve widened my spectrum of artists that I get to collaborate with. I used to work in a bar probably five nights a week and I would be on Instagram all the time taking nice photos, but Drag Race is a lot more than that. You need to be charismatic, likeable, funny, and you need to have stories. And I was more willing to share those stories because I was more accepting of myself. I didn’t have to be reserved, or to hold back.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding your elimination of Pangina Heals, and there was quite a toxic reaction. It shone a light on the hate that can be so prevalent within the Drag Race fandom. What was that like for you, being on the receiving end?

The fanbase can be really toxic. It can also be really racist, especially when it came to Pangina sending home Jimbo. She got a lot of hate just because of her race, and because she sent home a white queen, I believe. Later on, when I sent Pangina home, I got a lot of hate. Drag Race is supposed to be fun – if you want to support your queen, don’t send hate, just send them money on their PayPal or buy their merchandise or go to their show. That’s fine. It seems a much more efficient way rather than send hate to the person that sent them home. I’m the one with the crown.

Stitch, Please!: Blu Hydrangea & Lucy

A lot of drag artists like Trixie Mattel and Shangela have huge fanbases of queer women. How do you interact with your queer female fans? Is this a thing that you’ve experienced?

Most of my fans that I meet and greet are queer women. There is a fabulous artist called Ramona Flowers, and she creates all my looks. I love the support from my queer female fans – people expect it to be all gay men because the majority of the queens on Drag Race are queer men, and it should be so much more diverse. They’re also so sweet and kind – they’re my favourites.

This season, you also opened up in a really nice conversation with JuJuBee and Cheryl Hole about your gender identity and your journey. What was this like for you?

I never had a healthy relationship with myself. In my younger years, I had eating disorders and I just didn’t love the body that I was in. But when I started drag, I got this euphoria from performing on stage. And that was very much connected to me performing and presenting as a female. Gender is such a big spectrum, and I realised that I can be who I want to be, authentically. I was lucky to be around people who were there for me, and that’s what I wanted to do with Stitch, Please!. All of the stitchers had been through something – I wanted to be an ear for them. I was their RuPaul, but I was also their therapist.

In Stitch, Please! you’re inspiring young contestants to explore their passions and their creativity. How does this relate to your own experiences of honing your skills?

The contestants are given a budget of £100 and 12 hours to create something fabulous and runway-worthy. It’s got great judges like Michele Clapton from Game Of Thrones and Julian MacDonald. These stitchers have a passion for sewing, but they also have great stories to tell. Their art has helped them through those adversities in life. I’ve been in their shoes, and I wanted to show them that hard work does pay off.

Finally – what does it mean to you to speak up about existing as an LGBTQI person in Northern Ireland?

It’s not spoken enough of. In Season One, I went into the workroom and told everyone that equal marriage wasn’t legal yet in Northern Ireland, and everyone was shocked. We’re not that far away – we’re only across a little bit of water. Whenever people look up LGBTQI rights in Northern Ireland, there is so much negativity – the DUP want to veto this, or that. It would be so nice for a photo of me with my crown to be what comes up on Google. I’m just trying my best because if I didn’t, it would be a waste of what I’ve been given.

Stitch, Please! is out on BBC iPlayer now. To keep up with Blu, follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.