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RuPaul's Drag Race star River Medway speaks about life growing up in Medway


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Two of Kent's best drag queens will be battling it out on TV tonight.

River Medway and Krystal Versace will star in the third series of RuPaul's Drag Race.

River Medway talks ahead of first show

The American star will put 12 queens to the test in different challenges over 10 weeks before crowning the UK's Next Drag Race Superstar.

Hopeful River Medway spoke to KentOnline about her experiences growing up in the Towns and her stint on the show.

The 23-year-old said: "I am so glad I can be some form of representation of people in Medway and maybe not everybody there will understand what I do or why I do it or think this does not represent the area, but I think Medway is so many different things and there is honestly so much culture that I think is so under the radar.

"I am so glad I am now representing this sort of art form on television that has not ever been seen before."

River Medway. Photographer: Ray Burmiston/BBC Pictures
River Medway. Photographer: Ray Burmiston/BBC Pictures

The performer said growing up she did not see anyone like her or in the mainstream media so it is really important she can act as that person, especially for the young queer community.

She added: "My name is River Medway my whole brand is the fact I am from Medway but I am doing all these things people there feel like they cannot do because of where they are from."

The queen also spoke on Kent's drag scene suggesting there is not a lot of drag in the area despite it being a popular culture form.

She continued: "I did not know it was there growing up, there are certain people who probably do not notice that, so now finally I can be like we are here we have always been here and now everyone gets to see it."

Starting out when she was 15, the wannabe superstar only started doing drag properly the past two years with her first proper, paid gig being at local venue Poco Loco, Chatham.

All of the contestants on this year's drag race. Photographer: Ray Burmiston/BBC Pictures
All of the contestants on this year's drag race. Photographer: Ray Burmiston/BBC Pictures

Its manger Jody Carrington expressed her support, saying: "We will absolutely be supporting her. We are delighted for her and will be rooting for her."

River Medway started performing at the business's LOCO cabaret nights which take place every month and Jody commented she has always been an amazing dancer.

The nights have gone from strength to strength and have been a fun and supportive environment.

She added: "I love what they do. I hope she does well."

The bar's next LOCO cabaret night will be a Halloween performance on October 29.

Jody Carrington, manager of Poco Loco
Jody Carrington, manager of Poco Loco

Talking about her stint on the hit TV show, River Medway said she is really excited for people to see this series and complimented the great cast and judges.

Keeping very coy about what viewers should expect, she said viewers should look out for every episode. River Medway admitted she only applied to the show to see what the audition process was like and has now ended up in the 12-person line-up.

She added: "It is probably one of the best decisions of my life.

"I am so grateful for it. It has pushed me so far. It has literally pushed my drag at light speed and I do not know where my drag would be right now if I was not on the show."

She will be competing with Tunbridge Wells's Krystal Versace.

River Medway. Photographer: Ray Burmiston/BBC Pictures
River Medway. Photographer: Ray Burmiston/BBC Pictures

She said appearing on the show has made her more confident in her drag but speaking of her time growing up, she said: "I would never walk down the street in drag, I would never leave my house, I would never wear make-up like none of that and always do it in my bedroom."

She now feels confident enough to do that and express herself.

She concluded: "I was what so many people are. I would always look for somebody who was like me when I was younger and I could not find, there was no one around Medway that I could look up to really and I just hope that I have now become the person that I was looking for.

"I hope that I have become the person that so many young people can look up to and realize no matter where you are from, no matter what your background, no matter what you have, you can become anything you want and even aside from drag.

"Everything will happen at the time it is supposed to happen and just never lose sight of what you want and just go for it and work hard for it because it will pay off."

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK series three begins tonight from 7pm on BBC Three via BBC iPlayer, with new episodes every Thursday.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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