Bimini on why Pride means being able to live authentically

Bimini on why Pride means being able to live authentically | Soho House

The ‘Drag Race’ superstar hosted a party at Brighton Beach House in the UK this weekend and gave us a full rundown on the importance of pride with a capital ‘P’

Monday 8 August 2022    By Samuel Muston

Since coming second in season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Bimini (formerly Bimini Bon Boulash) has attained the status of drag megastar somewhere between Marilyn Monroe and Elvira. And my, how they have been busy since that grand finale in March 2021. They’ve published a book, Release The Beast: A Drag Queen's Guide To Life, had their fabulous outfits shown in London’s V&A museum – next to clothes worn by Harry Styles, if you please – signed a record contract with a subsidiary of Sony Music, and modelled for the likes of Vogue, GQ Style, ES Magazine, and SSENSE x Maison Margiela. And all this in just a year. Release the beast, indeed.
To celebrate Brighton Pride in the UK, we asked House of Trash and Bimini to host a Pride party at Brighton Beach House. After all, who better to do it? Ahead of the event on Saturday 6 August, we spoke to them about Pride, prejudice, and Ru Paul.
What does Pride mean to you?
‘It just means being able to live authentically, and to kind of express yourself in any way that you see fit without any kind of judgement. And the thing is, we do still get judged. I feel like we’ve come a long way. But I’m very fortunate that I’m in a position where I kind of live the way I want to. What I hope is that everyone gets to be able to be free and be themselves, and I think that’s what Pride is about. It’s about young kids who are struggling to see what they could be, and that’s why a lot of people move to London.’
What is your funniest ever Pride memory?
‘It was way before Drag Race, in 2019 – I did the Pride float for The Glory pub in east London. The energy of drag was way different in London back then and I didn’t understand how freeing it could be. Johnny Woo was being a total nutter, everyone on our float were just party rockers, and we were surrounded by charity floats.’ 
What are you looking forward to at Brighton Pride?
‘Main stage, baby. My mum’s coming down to see me perform, so that’s going to be quite special. Then I’m going to be at Brighton Beach House, which should be one big celebration.’
What are the life experiences that make being proud – and showing it – important for you?
‘I think every year, everything has kind of worked towards where I am now. It all happened at the right time. One of my best mates, Byron, who I’ve been on this journey with – they work as my makeup artist – always says my superpower is timing. But I feel like I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this five years ago. I studied journalism; I was going to go into human rights journalism. I get to bring politics into my drag – if I hadn’t had those skills in journalism or politics and current affairs, I wouldn’t be able to incorporate that into my drag now. It’s been an interesting journey.’ 
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
‘Don’t care what people think – don’t listen to it. Don’t let that cloud your judgement when you’re figuring out who you are. Because the most important thing is to stay true to yourself. And also, you’re probably not going to want to speak to a lot of the people who gave you sh*t back in the day. You get to choose your family; you get to choose the people you’re around. That’s one of the beautiful things about being open and queer. Oh, and also start wearing SPF a lot younger.’
Were you proud at a young age or is it something that has developed as you’ve got older?
‘I don’t think I was proud. On the surface I was trying to be; I was that rebellious teen. But I don’t think I was feeling that confident. It was more of a cover. I started experimenting with fashion in my teens. Considering where I grew up [in Great Yarmouth], the scene there wasn’t alternative at all. But I found these people – and we bought stuff at charity shops and, indeed, always smelled like charity shops. We’d go out in moth-eaten fur coats and fishnets.’
What is RuPaul like in real life, what did they teach you?
‘They’re one of the most professional people I’ve ever seen. The success of Drag Race came a long time after RuPaul’s success in the 1990s. They’re someone to look to – to remind you of the importance of attitude and tenacity. Not apologising for what you want to do. They started Drag Race in their fifties, and to change the face of drag at that age is incredible.’

Was there a moment when you realised you were different to other people?
‘I think I always felt like I was a bit more mature mentally. I was very socially conscious from a young age. That’s one of my passions – people and human behaviour. I did sociology at A-level and I find it interesting how subcultures work, and all of that. At five or six I realised that I liked things I wasn’t “meant” to like. When you’re young you don’t really care as much, but you get a bit older and hormones start taking over. Like I definitely acted in a way that I thought I was meant to, just to fit in.’ 

Was it hard coming out as non-binary on TV?
‘I had no intention of going on there with that conversation. I think it was just natural. When it came out, I didn’t really even remember that much. Sometimes you’re filming for 48 hours, and you never know what’s going to be included. I’ve had messages from people in their sixties and seventies saying they finally understood how they felt – that’s just crazy to me.’

What’s a memory you are most proud of?
‘Writing a book was quite a big achievement, because it’s something I always wanted to do. And I actually did write my book. I think people didn’t think I would have done it, but I did.

‘Also, though, something that’s really important to me is the moment when my mum got it, when she understood why I decided to make the choices I did. She was resistant – she said why would you study journalism then go into drag? But now she gets that this is who I am and who I’m meant to be, and what I’m meant to do.’
What are your favourite clothing brands and why?
‘Vivienne Westwood, Valentino, Gucci. But the most iconic person will always be Viv, when she turned up at Downing Street in a tank.’
What are your plans for the future? World domination? 
‘Absolutely. I’ve signed a record deal with Relentless, which is part of Sony Music, and I’m working on an album. It’s crazy and I’m so excited for it. People are going to expect a certain sound like “God Save This Queen”, but it’s so far away from it. I like to call them sad bangers. And this is just the start. I don’t really feel like I’m the stereotypical drag queen – I don’t wear padding; I don’t really see myself as embodying a female illusion. I just can’t wait to show people what I have up my sleeve.’
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