Bob The Drag Queen On Mentoring Others for HBO’s ‘We’re Here’
The 'Drag Race' legend talks about his connection with Shangela and Eureka O'Hara.
Watching Bob the Drag Queen listen to people share their experiences is so soothing–she should honestly have her own talk show. In HBO’s We’re Here, she is one of three drag queens taking small towns by storm, and her intelligent confidence makes her such an asset to this new documentary series.
At the top of every episode, Bob, Eureka O’Hara, and Shangela explore a new city, and the townspeople can’t turn away. They are decked out in fabulous duds, huge hair, and just the right amount of attitude. When Bob was on the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race (and she won, thank you very much), she exuded this undeniable talent. Your eyes went to her every time she was on screen, and she was hilarious. In We’re Here, her eagerness to learn about other people’s stories is so evident. There’s no pretense. She’s not putting anything on. Bob The Drag Queen is there to share how the power of drag can make you a better person.
I chatted with Bob on how We’re Here feels like activism and how she always wanted to speak before a large crowd.
Awards Daily: Does We’re Here feel like activism while you’re doing it?
Bob The Drag Queen: It does feel important. It feels like we get a great opportunity to go into these towns. We go into towns outside of Drag Race, we are previously from small towns but only for like a day or two, you know what I mean?
AD: Yeah. I love how when you reach each town, you set up a small space. It’s really for rehearsals and getting to know each of the people you are mentoring, but it reminded me of how LGBTQ people create their own safe space.
BTDQ: We want them to know we are there. It is called We’re Here, after all!
AD: That’s true.
BTDQ: We want to make our voices heard and make our presence known. Having a base certainly helps with that.
AD: Drag boot camp.
BTDQ: And we want to build those for the people we are working with as well. We want them to feel like they can be in this drag-tastic world.
AD: Usually in the middle of every episode, we see you, Eureka, and Shangela just hanging out together with who you are working with. In the premiere, you are outside, and there’s another episode where you all just go out and meet people. What do you think you get out of that experience that you can put towards your performances?
BTDQ: I like to make the performances geared towards their experiences. It’s easier to get to know someone and then cater something towards that rather than to have a performance that doesn’t have anything for them to connect to, if you know what I mean?
BTDQ: I would rather structure it around something that would mean something to them personally.
AD: One of my favorite episodes of the season is when you are in Twin Falls and you are mentoring three drag performers, Lavender Beauchamp, Amelia Blayke, and Lucid Dreams. I feel like you as a person, since seeing you on television before, helped me appreciate my gayness a little bit?
BTDQ: Awww, thank you.
AD: You’re so smart and articulate and you’ve been vocal about having a sense of pride in your community. Can you talk a little bit about strengthening that community?
BTDQ: Well, I don’t know that I talk that much about strengthening the community, but sometimes I need to get the idea out of my brain, onto my lips, and into the ears of others. If that’s a side effect that’s great. When I was little, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just knew that I wanted to be one of those people that got up to a lectern and gave speeches. I always wanted to do that, and becoming a comedian is my own rendition of that. I want to provoke thought through humor.
AD: You, Eureka, and Shangela have incredible chemistry. What do you think you can learn from your sisters?
BTDQ: There’s a lot about perseverance and endurance from Shangela. She’s had such an inspiring career from being voted off multiple seasons of Drag Race to becoming a fan favorite to coming back and almost winning the crown. She broke her leg like six years ago in three places and worked so hard to get back into working.
BTDQ: And I mean, she broke it to the point where the bone was coming out of the skin. She’s recovered quite well. Eureka wears her heart on her sleeve, and she’s so open and honest about everything.
AD: I’ve heard that she overshares everything. (Laughs)
BTDQ: She definitely does that.
AD: One of the more emotional episodes is when you are on stage with Nate in New Mexico. What was it like to share that story with him?
BTDQ: It was wild. He came alive so much during the performance. I was honestly nervous in rehearsals because he was so timid, but at some point, he came out of his shell during the performance. It was amazing to watch. All his indigenous and queer friends were there holding up signs. It was gorgeous.
AD: You get to really bare yourself on the show. Were you expecting that? You talk about how drag saved your life.
BTDQ: We are expecting the people we are working with to bare their souls. It would be a disservice of us to not do the same thing. It’s not journalism—I’m not Oprah Winfrey. My job is about connecting, so I have to put a piece of myself out there. I have to.
AD: The cast of the Nubia tour is really packed with stars like Bebe Zahara Benet, The Vixen, and Peppermint. Are you ladies still in talks to do that tour?
BTDQ: We are looking to get back on the road. The world is in hiatus right now. We want to do the shows, and we are excited to start back up with it.
We’re Here is streaming across all HBO platforms.