Anita Wigl’it Is Already Dreaming of “Drag Race Down Under All Stars”

The "House of Drag" host shares how she knew her time on "Drag Race" was up.

Anita Wigl’it is no stranger to reality television. Before she walked into the workroom on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, the Auckland queen was the co-host of House of Drag, a New Zealand reality competition series that can be best described as Drag Race meets Big Brother.

But even hosting your own show doesn’t fully prepare for you the beast that is RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Anita found that out pretty quickly — especially with twists like Art Simone being sent home early on, and Snatch Game happening in the second episode of the season.

Anita’s Queen Elizabeth II won Snatch Game, but just two episodes later, she found herself in the bottom two with Karen From Finance. The queens battled it out in a lip-sync to Dannii Minogue’s “I Begin to Wonder.” In the end, it was Anita who was asked to sashay away, even though she didn’t even make it off the stage before asking about All Stars.

Anita spoke with NewNowNext about her time on Drag Race Down Under, including the surprise of Art Simone, how she knew it was her time to sashay away, and if we can expect a third season of House of Drag.
 

Hi Anita! I have to know, what was going through your mind when Art Simone popped out of that dumpster?

Oh my gosh. Sort of two things at once, actually. On one hand, I was thinking, you know, she’s back because she’s such an incredible drag queen and performer, she’s such a complete package. On the one hand, on the competition side, I was like, oh no, we got rid of her and now she’s back again. But on the other hand, I was so happy for her, because in Episode 2, when she went home, I was so heartbroken for her. Because I know how much she wanted this, and it just destroyed her, really. So a bit of a mixed bag.

What was the vibe on set when Art was crying after she was sent home?

Oh, it was awful. A lot of us were crying as well, which is so funny. Because I’m thinking, it’s Episode 2, and the emotion’s already so high. I think for me, I think for all of us, probably, like, seeing Art, we just felt so bad for her. Because any of us could have been in that position, and nobody wants to go home that early.

When I was talking with Art, she said she was surprised by how fast filming went. What surprised you?

The most surprising thing for me was in Snatch Game. I thought it would be like, okay, Ru will ask us a question, then there will be a five-minute break or something so we can think of an answer. But it was more like 5–10 seconds. It was so fast-paced. It was such a whirlwind. That was the most surprising thing for me.

Has there been any backlash to your Queen Elizabeth Snatch Game? What’s the reaction been like?

No, the reaction’s been amazing, actually. All really positive, which is ironic, because it was so dangerous. But no, I’ll hopefully get out of that scot-free, until the Royal Family hears and tries to take me out. [Laughs]

For us Americans, can you explain the premise of House of Drag?

Sure! House of Drag is a drag competition where it’s sort of like a cross between Drag Race and Big Brother. So, we have about eight to 10 contestants living in house together, and they’re all drag performers. There’s drag kings, drag queens, and everything in between. Each episode, they’d have to do a challenge. Kita [Mean] and I were the hosts, and we’d get to eliminate someone each week. It was sort of like a comedy show. Kita and I would do these funny scenes with the contestants, and we actually got to do two seasons of it, which was so fun. And hopefully, who knows, maybe a third season in the future.

Since you were the host of another drag show, did you feel like you had a leg up going into Drag Race?

Well, actually, kind of the opposite in some ways. Not necessarily a leg up or leg down, but I suppose knowledge of how reality TV works. But also, with that, by being a judge, I was able to understand that the judging role is quite interesting, and that what my opinions are, somebody else’s opinions can be completely different. So it kind of made it more scary, thinking, what are these judges going to think of me? Like, what way will it go?

I’ve always thought Drag Race should do a Big Brother-type show with all of the queens living together. Would you want to live in a house with the other Down Under queens?

Yes. I would have loved that as long as I can choose my roommate.

Who would be your roommate? Kita Mean?

Well, yeah, probably Kita. I’d also take all of them. I love them so much. But I reckon Coco [Jumbo] and Maxi [Shield], that would be a fun room to be in.

How was it competing against Kita?

It was so interesting because we’re known for being a comedy duo, and basically all of our major things, until this point, have been together. It was incredible being an individual for a change. It was great. I think we both sort of acknowledged that this experience was a big stepping stone in our career. And so it was fun to individually shine, and we just both knew what we had to do and get on with it, I suppose.

You’re in the same drag family as Courtney Act, right?

Sort of. So, not necessarily the drag family, but Kita and myself, we have a drag mum whose name is Tess Tickle. Tess is a Kiwi queen, but she lived in Sydney after the Priscilla movie. Tess worked in nightclubs with Courtney when Courtney just started. I’ve met Courtney a couple of times, when she came to New Zealand and she hung out with Tess, so I got to meet her then. Courtney has done such amazing things for Australian drag. And I think that’s part of the reason that Drag Race Down Under has been so successful.

Going back to Drag Race Down Under, were you surprised when you were in the bottom two?

Not really. I was so divided over the dress I made. Like, part of me really liked it, and part of me really hated it. I knew it could go one of two ways.

I’m guessing that wasn’t the first time you’d lip-synced to a Dannii Minogue song?

It actually was!

No!

I’m embarrassed to say. That song we’d beenx given, I think we’d be given the night before, so I was panicked learning it. As soon as we got back to the hotel at the building, I was just listening and listening and listening and listening. So I’m quite pleased that I pulled it out.
 

Are you more of a Kylie fan?

Embarrassingly, I’ve never lip-synced to a Kylie song either.

Oh my gosh. Anita!

I know, I’m such a terrible Australiasian. I love them both, but my vibe is more of a comedy show.

Which diva would normally lip-sync to then?

Oh, definitely Shirley Bassey. I’m such a Shirley Bassey fan.

When you were lip-syncing against Karen, did you think it was anyone’s to win, or did you think that Karen had in the bag?

Yeah, absolutely. It was really interesting, actually, because it wasn’t that I gave up at all, but before the lip-sync song started, there were a couple seconds of pause. I had this overwhelming sense of calm, and I knew that Karen would be staying and I’d be going. Because in my mind I knew that this was my time. I’ve been on the show and I’ve done what I wanted to. I portrayed things that I wanted to. Obviously, I had much more to show, but I knew this was Karen’s turn to stay. So I kind of just enjoyed the lip-sync, knowing that Karen would be staying.

Did you think like, oh, maybe they’ll bring me back, like they did Art?

Yes. Well, part of me was like, maybe a double save would be nice, where no one goes home. But no, I thought, like, they won’t pull that trick out of the bag again. So I thought … But you know what, fingers and toes crossed that there will be All Stars one day.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."
@chrisreindeer