A Q&A with Bianca Del Rio before her Indianapolis show 

The 'Joan Rivers of drag' is coming to town to ruffle some feathers

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Photo by Magnus Hastings

The Season 6 winner of Ru Paul's Drag Race has a brash sense of humor that spares no one. Her icy stare and flash of dare-to-spar-with-me veneers can make even the most insouciant viewer drop a jaw. We decided to chat before her upcoming comedy tour stop in Indy this week.

NUVO: What was it like meeting Joan Rivers?

Bianca Del Rio: Oh God, surreal. I have always been a huge fan of hers, for many years... I got the call asking if I would be interested in doing her show ... because I had been traveling so much I was unaware of what the show was, but still said yes in a heartbeat. ... I was really nervous because I didn't want to come across as a fan girl, but I also didn't want to seem aloof and over it. But as soon I got in the room with her we hit it off and got along really well. We were only supposed to film for about 15 or 20 minutes, but we ended up filming much longer than that because we couldn't stop cackling and laughing. I wound up loving her more than I thought I would, you know what I mean? Usually when you meet celebrities there is always something about them that changes your opinion of them.

NUVO: How has being crowned changed who you are and what you do?

Del Rio: I have realized that I can function on less sleep than possible. Before this I worked in theater, which deadlines were the death of things ... The adjustment for me was different time zones ...you are kind of here, there, everywhere. It's finding that balance in your brain of what's going on ... For any bitching that I would do backstage about my feet, about my wig, once you get out there it's all great, especially now that I appear with my own show. ... A 1,300 foot theater and it's sold out. Come on, how can you feel shitty about anything. Having worked, I am far more grateful for this experience now than I would be if I were 20. ... It's not just those who won that are doing amazing; Adore Delano is doing amazing, Courtney Act is doing amazing. ...It is amazing what the power of television allows all of us to do.

NUVO: Was Ginger robbed on Season 7?

Del Rio: Once you have been in the mix of it, it is very hard to look at the show from a different perspective. ... It's one of those things — someone is going to win. It's whatever Ru decides. ... Many people didn't like when I was chosen ... you can't please everyone. But also, the comparisons among people ... "Oh, so and so should have won this year. So and so should have won that year." That is a part of the business. That is going to come no matter what happens. All three of them, I loved. ... I am partial to Ginger because she is southern and I get her quirkiness and her comedy. By no means does that mean the other two didn't do good. It is a competition, but it is also a television show. They do what they want. Ru says that in the beginning. ... I wish some of the people, especially through social media, would not concern themselves with who is on the cover of Vanity Fair, who they think should have won Ru Paul's Drag Race and more about serious issues, like who the hell is doing Mrs. Duggar's hair? Let's go for the real person we should hate — her hair dresser!

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NUVO: What's the story behind your show?

Del Rio: Well, I am old enough to know what a Rolodex was. ... When I worked in a bar five days a week for 10 years, you have to deal with every kind of customer there was. So when you have to deal with the bitch customer or the drunk straight girl customer I filed everything in my brain as the Rolodex, what jokes do I have about this, what jokes do I have about that. When I was on the show Ru asked where my particular style of wit came from and I said my Rolodex of hate.

NUVO: Top three pieces of advice for a performer starting out.

Del Rio: 1. The only thing you can ever be aware of is yourself. You don't always know what the audience is going to be like. ... 2. No matter what you are on stage you need to be a professional backstage. 3. Always check the envelope with the money.


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