TV

Ginny Lemon Dishes on Her Self-Elimination and Madonna-Inspired Exit

"I went in as an icon, and I shall leave an icon."

Fancy a slice?

The eliminations on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. have been shocking, to say the least. The latest episode makes the herstory books as one of the rare times that RuPaul did not ask a queen to sashay away because Ginny Lemon sent herself home. The Worcester queen chose to bow out before the lip-sync, leaving the remaining queens — and viewers at home — truly gooped. (But we knew Ginny would pull a few tricks ever since we saw them walk into the workroom wearing their lemon-yellow Crocs. A true icon!)

Ginny spoke with NewNowNext about what led to her decision to remove herself from the competition, coming out as nonbinary, proposing to her boyfriend at a Kate Bush concert, and how Madonna inspired her lipstick mirror message, “Witches Unite!”
 

Hi Ginny!

Hiya bubs, how are you?

Oh, I’m good. I’m excited to talk to you.

Well, I’m excited to talk to you. The feeling is mutual, babe.

We have to talk about the iconic moment when you don’t even lip-sync. I re-watched it, and I could see that you were giddy with excitement before it started. When did you decide that you were just going to walk off?

Well, I mean, to be honest, I thought, well, I’m just going to go make a cup of tea. I came back, all the lights were off! So, I think I was having a fabulous time. I was having a fabulous week. And I thought I’d done really well. So the moment I started getting these negative critiques, I thought, do you know what? Do you know what? Nana is out. Nana cannot be up anymore. I kind of just stuck with my own spiritual compass and let it guide me to where it needed to guide me to, and I wanted to stay very true to myself. I know it’s a competition, but I just went with my gut feeling, and my gut just said just to walk away from this one.

So no regrets?

Oh, Édith Piaf, baby. Je ne regrette rien.

And you didn’t think about running back on stage saying, “Just kidding!”

No. I mean, I wanted to just to have a lie-down and a cup of tea and a fag. That’s all I wanted to do. And it was so amazing because we got to see Sister Sister take to that stage and absolutely tear it up. It was fabulous. I was so happy to watch Sister Sister perform. So, no way. I set a slice for a reason. Nobody ever gets the whole lemon tart.

I do think Ru approved of you walking off. It was very punk.

Well, do you know what? Look at it back, and I do feel there was a little half-smile there. And I think for Ru being an icon, truly can recognize an icon when they see one. So, from one icon to another, we salute each other.

And have you talked to the other girls about you walking off? Were they shocked, or was it, “Yeah, that’s on-brand”?

Absolutely. It’s the gag of the season. We’ve been chatting about it nonstop. And they’re all so happy for me. Obviously, people may have other opinions. Who knows? Who knows what they say? We’ll find out. But everyone has been fully supportive of me and my journey. It’s corny to say, but we do very much have a sisterhood, and I wouldn’t wish ill against any of them.

It is such a strong crop of queens this season. Every week has been a shocking elimination.

It has been shocking. All of the good ones have gone early. But after the shock of Joe and Cherry, and Asttina, who are hugely talented, I just thought I’d go along with the other icons and go out early. So, the cast is so strong and amazing and such a diverse cast as well. And we’re here for it and we want to see it.

You came out as nonbinary on the show. How has the reaction been?

The reaction has been absolutely amazing. I can’t express how I feel about it because I was completely shocked at the reaction from people. For me, it was just a year ago, and it was one human having a conversation with another human. And so, to see that dialogue almost a year later, I had to emotionally disconnect from the rawness that I was witnessing on screen. It was myself, it wasn’t Ginny; it was myself, Lewis, crying. So it was a very emotional time, but I’m so glad and happy that that conversation was had. The outpouring of love and the stories of coming out, that I’ve heard because of that story — it’s been incredible. I’m truly humbled and amazed at the response.

Where does the name “Ginny Lemon” come from? What’s the inspiration?

It comes from being a bit of an old lush and drinking quite a lot of gin in my local bar here in Worcester. I’ve got a bit of a reputation for having a few gins every now and again. So they ended up calling me Ginny, and I thought, sometimes I can have quite the acidic tongue, so Ginny Lemon just fitted perfectly.

I also want to talk about you being a Kate Bush stan.

Obviously.

What is your favorite Kate Bush song?

I say this with complete and utter, no irony, but my absolute favorite Kate Bush song is “Burning Bridge.” It’s just an amazing song. It’s a B side off Hounds of Love. So you may not have heard it cause it’s one of the rarer ones. But I absolutely adore it. But anything off The Dreaming album. I mean, The Dreaming album is one of the… if not the best album ever written.

What would you say is an underappreciated Kate Bush song?

Oh. Do you know what? I think the second album, Lionheart. I think that was really underappreciated, and there’s a song on there called “Oh, England My Lionheart”. And I think I’ve been listening to that quite a lot this year with the terrible political things that have been happening here in the U.K. So it’s given me solace to think about the idea that I… what I thought England was and to that political becoming. So that’s the hidden gem.

If some young person were to come up to you and ask, “I wanted to get into Kate Bush. Where should I start?” What would you tell them?

I would say to them, “Listen to The Dreaming and never look back.”

Did you get to see her live show a few years back?

I did. I was very, very fortunate to see her twice. And also the first time I saw Kate was the time I proposed to my husband during singing one of our favorite songs, “Cloudbusting”, and he said yes. So I actually proposed to my husband at the Kate Bush concert. And I don’t think many people can say that.

Wait, tell me about that. You proposed during the Kate Bush concert, during “Cloudbusting?”

Yeah, it was right at the end, and it was the Encore of “Cloudbusting.” And there’s one of the lines that I keep as a mantra in my life — it’s, “I just know that something good is going to happen / Yeah, I just know that something good is going to happen”. So by the end, I got on one bended knee and presented to him with his grandfather’s ring and proposed.
 

Wow. Did the people around you clap or anything during the show?

Oh, no. I mean, the people were so with Kate Bush. I didn’t want to take my eyes off her either. But we were with two very good friends, Ben and Joe, and they were absolutely sobbing. I think it was the highlight of the [night]… for them. So it was a very much good experience.

Oh my gosh, I love that. So when you wrote “Witches Unite!” on the workroom mirror, what did you mean by that?

Well, it’s so funny. The day that I found out I was going to be on Drag Race, I went to see Madonna, who was doing her live show, and then right at the end, somebody stood up and just shouted, “Witches unite!” And I thought that was one of the most amazing things that anyone has ever shouted at the end of a concert. And it really resonated with me. And my cover story for going [to film Drag Race U.K.] was that I was going to Prague to be with a bunch of witches to go on a spiritual journey. To be honest, apart from the location, I think I was absolutely right. I went and met a bunch of witches and went on a spiritual journey.

Do you have a favorite memory from the Drag Race set?

My absolute favorite memory — and now, this is quite naughty of me ’cause it did happen backstage — but Lawrence used to stuff the sausage rolls and sandwiches and stuff down the side of the sofa for later. And we’d be like, “Lawrence, what are you doing?”, “I’m keeping them warm for later.” So, yeah. That’s my favorite memory, of Lawrence stuffing snacks down the side of the sofa, to keep warm for later. Definitely my highlight.

I have to say, you just walking off that stage was really, truly iconic. So I have to give props to you for that. You accomplished something rare.

Well, thank you so much. As I say, I never went in as a contestant. I went in as an icon, and I shall leave an icon.

RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. is available on WOW Presents Plus.

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