Interview with Baga Chipz

Category: Press Pack Article

How are feeling about joining The Circle?

Oh, my God. Do you know what? Sometimes I'm like, "What are you letting yourself in for, Baga? What are you letting yourself in for?" But at the end of the day, I've been given an amazing opportunity. I'm new to the game, but I might be one of the most famous women in Britain at the moment! Since Drag Race, I've been given all these opportunities and I was just like, "You know what? I'm actually a fan of that show." I haven't got to eat creepy crawlies or I haven't got to do intense fitness workouts. So I was like, basically I'll be sitting on my ass trying to catfish people.


Is that what fascinates you about the show, the social media element?

Well, it's a show for everyone, but it's got a big young following. It's real life and sometimes you never know who's on the other end of the keyboard. You could be talking to absolutely anyone. So yeah, just be careful who you talk to and who you send pictures to! That's why I've never sent a picture of my minge, so if that's out there, then they've made that up because I'm very innocent, very virginal!


Is there anything that you're worried about?

I wouldn't necessarily say worried. I just want to do well. If I do something, I want to go far and I want to try my hardest. Obviously, it's a TV show, and you want maximum exposure, like every show, and you want to be on it the longest, and you want to win it, and all this. I don't just want to go on telly for the sake of it. I want to try and be clever and I want people to be like, "Oh, Baga, you've fooled all these people. What the hell?” I've watched the show before, and I'm a fan of the show. I've watched both series and yes, some of the stories you learn of people and all that really pulls the heart strings and you never know, I could make a mate for life off this show. Some people have made lifelong friends from it, and I think that's a really good basis for a friendship, becoming friends from personality, and what you have in common, and what you look like, and what you're wearing, what you can afford, and stuff.


You’ve decided to catfish by playing the game as Kim Woodburn, why?

I've got a leg up because we are very, very good friends, and I've been on the phone to her. She's always phoning me, she’s telling me everything. I know a lot about the real Kim. I know her background, her personal life. I want to go in there and try and be the Kim I know. Obviously, I'm going to be Kim, I'm going to be saying, "Hey, be cleaning up after yourselves," and all that. And, "Oh, you're a lovely ..." "What a good-looking fellow you are. If I were 20 years younger," and all that. But I'm going to also be like, "Yeah, well, people know me from Big Brother, but they were just actually rat bags, and I want to show the real me." And just befriend people. I'm going to flirt with the lads and I'm going to be a mother to the girls!


What advice has Kim given you about being her?

Like I said, Kim is an absolute technophobe. She's got an old Nokia phone. She uses a house phone for most of her calls. She's told me, "I can't even switch a computer on." If I go on there being all technical and whizzy, they're going to be like, "This is a 78-year-old woman and she's saying things like ‘LOL’ and ‘DMs’. She wouldn't do that”. So I'm going to go in there and be like, "How the bloody hell do you work this thing?" and “I feel stupid. I'm talking to myself, talking to a wall." I'm going to act like I don't know what I'm doing. If somebody says something like “LOL”, I'll say, "What are you saying? Speak English”. And then they will educate Kim on all this text speech. I'm going to be very clever, and I'm going to be a 78-year-old woman.


Have you got any of Kim's clothes to channel her when you're in there?

Well, I'm going to be me in there in terms of what you see. I'm going to be wearing me kaftans, me turbans, and stuff, big sunglasses when I can't be bothered with make-up. But then at the nighttime, let's say, "Oh, Circle, you've got a takeaway and a bottle of wine." I'll be all dolled up. I'll look like Dolly Parton. But I've got my Kim Woodburn T-shirt. I'm going to go in with the marigolds. Kim's a very good friend and if anything, I'm doing it for her as well.


Where did your friendship come from?

Oh, my God, we've known each other for years, but basically after Celebrity Big Brother, the LGBT community loved Kim Woodburn. She's a matriarch. She's larger than life. She's a walking, talking meme! She’s got more catchphrases. I think her and Gemma Collins are probably the only two I can think of that have got hundreds of catchphrases. Kim's got so many like “scum”, “filth”, “adulterer”, “horrible girl”. You know what I mean? We met at G-A-Y. They booked her to judge a competition, and I was the hostess. This was before Drag Race. I was just a working drag queen. I was a fan of hers and she was just so lovely to me. We just hit it off, and I got her phone number. Then I was getting her lots of gigs. This was a woman in her seventies working, doing gay clubs at two o'clock in the morning. And all she'd do is basically go on stage and say, "Hello, you horrible lots… don't start with me." She'd do five minutes on stage, then she'd do a meet and greet, so you got a picture with Kim. This was after Big Brother and all that, so she was hot property. Then we would just talk at least three times a week.


She's your showbiz fairy godmother by the sound of it?

Oh, yeah, she is. We're just really close. On the phone she never swears. She never bitches about anyone. She never slags anyone off. She's just given me loads of stories to go into The Circle with. I've phoned her and was like, "What city was you brought up in? What school did you go to? How long have you been married to your husband? What's your anniversary? What's your date of birth?" I need the facts. You know what I mean? Someone might have done their research. I need to reply right away, so I'm going to have my little book and I'm going to be like, "Right. She was born in 1940…”


Has she given you any stories that perhaps the wider public don't know but she's happy for you to reveal?

I'm just going to tell the Kim I know. She's a sweet lady. She's lovely. She's nothing but supportive to me. She sends me Christmas cards, birthday cards. This is the Kim people don't know. She doesn’t brag about it as well. She doesn’t do, "Oh, I've done this. I've done that." She gives a lot to charity. She had a very sad life when she was younger. She's tough as old nails because she survived. And people don't see that side of her. They just think, ”Oh, she's a bitter old woman." There's one thing I'll say about Kim Woodburn. She's not bitter whatsoever. Anyone that does well, like every time I get a big gig, she's like, "Well done. I'm so proud, dear."


How are you feeling about living in the flat on your own?

In my job, I'm around thousands of people. I'm on stage. I'm backstage with loads of people, 90% of my income was theatres. I used to do shows with 2,000 people a night, Glasgow, Manchester, every night. I didn't have a day off in 40 days, doing shows. People think, "Oh, Baga's loud. Baga loves to drink. Baga loves to party.” Yeah, I do. When I'm at home, I live a quiet life. When I lived in London I used to just sit in my room, silence. I love my own company. I know it sounds bad, but I love my own company. But when I'm working, it's tits and teeth and I've got to be like, "Hello, hello. How are you doing? How you doing?” I go home, I chill. I don't want to see anyone else.


Are we going to see a different side to you then?

Well, I'm just going to have a little ball, sitting in a flat on me own having a few of me gin and tonics! I love my food and I’m, what’s the word? Anal. The place has to be spotless. The place will be spotless. I won't be living in a pig sty. But bad habits, I'm not one of them that picks me nose and wipes it on the side or bite me toenails. I'm not going to go on the settee having a wank. I do know I'm being watched!


What do you make of social media?

It's a blessing and also a curse. In my career, I need Instagram, especially while in lockdown. My income has come from Instagram. Posting about Sensodyne, Lady Gaga... You're talking 10 grand a post sometimes. With that kind of thing social media, it's good to show your fans what you're up to, to communicate with your fan base, to sell tickets to your shows. Social media is very important to promote yourself. On the other hand, people think they have the right to say anything about you. They can slag you off. They can be anyone. They could call you the worst names under the sun. They could give you death threats. It could literally be some old man in Kentucky pretending to be a local Drag Race fan. I think it's very toxic. I think social media is a big part to blame with a lot of suicides, but I also think it's amazing. It's a double-ended sword. It's got its pros and its cons. Without social media, I wouldn't be where I am. It advertises TV shows. It shows people what you want. If you're selling something, social media is the best place to advertise. But like I said, people think that they have a right to call you names.


What's the worst thing somebody has said to you online?

Oh, I'm going to be here all day. I'm not going to lie, I’m on social media and 99.9% of it is just love. It's literally, "You are amazing. You are my favourite. You should have won Drag Race. You're the best." And then it was just one comment a week. It's literally that one comment that will stick in your head, not “you're the best, you're amazing”, it will be that comment like, "You're fat, you're ugly,”, or "you shouldn't be doing this”, "your dresses on Drag Race were the worst I've ever seen," and all this. The worst was like, "I wish you were dead. I wish you'd just die."


That’s awful, how do you cope with that?

I don't reply to them, I just block them. I just think, "Why should I die? Because I've been on a TV show in drag?" But like I said, especially with me, because of the show I'm on and stuff, obviously you get a lot of homophobia. You got a lot of transphobia. You get a lot of people who don’t think you fit in the right box. And they're all people from America I've never even met. These are people telling you to die and you've never even met them. Or I get, ”You're going to hell." I had a Christian group tell me I'm going to burn in hell because I'm a drag queen. But like I said, I don't take that to heart because it wasn't personal. There's millions of drag queens in the world. They're not attacking me for the person who I am. They're attacking all people who live that lifestyle.


Do you have to put boundaries in to make sure you don't get sucked into that negativity?

Yeah. When I started, I would reply or block, I think I did it for a week, and then I got bored. You can look at my social media now and you won't find one comment, negative comment from me. You literally block anyone nasty. You do not reply. Especially in show business, you can't be replying to every bad thing, a lot of people think they should reply but don't give them the time of day. A lot of them are just scumbags. So you literally block and then, and I’ve had this before, they’ll write something negative on Twitter, I block them and then they'll go on Instagram going, “Please, please, please unblock me. I didn't mean it”, and I’m like, “What, you didn't mean to call me a T-R-A-N-N-Y?”. No, any homophobia or transphobia on my social media, blocked. End of.


Have you made any celeb mates online?

I've got loads of friends. I mean like, even before Drag Race, I'm friends with Jane McDonald, Beverly Callard from Corrie. They're my heroes. I could meet Lady Gaga and Beyoncé in the same room, but if Liz MacDonald or Julie Goodyear were in the other corner, I'd be in that corner. I really would! They're my kind of people. I'm more starstruck by people who have inspired my drag. I've got so many supporters, it's unbelievable. From A-listers to Kerry Katona. Most of them are Corrie because I’m Corrie mad! Duncan from Blue follows me! Jeremy Corbyn – He follows me on Instagram!


Do you hope that like all the Drag Race girls will be supporting you?

Oh yeah. We're a family. Anything we do, we will support each other. Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to lie. I've done really well. I've done a lot of TV shows, like MasterChef and I’ve got a lot of TV stuff coming up. I've done well. I did MasterChef, Blu Hydrangea messaged me, "Oh, my God. I was so proud of you.” We've all got each other's back. I'm sure being on [RuPaul’s Drag Race UK] and not doing as well, you must sit at home and think, "Oh, I didn't capitalise on it. I didn't do anything. I'm back to square one." But I was like, “This is my opportunity, I'm grabbing it, and I want it to make a career out of it”.


This series is for Stand Up to Cancer, was that important to you when you signed up for the show?

When I heard it was the Stand up for Cancer, I was just like, “what better way to use your platform? You've been given this opportunity in life. You've done well on a TV show, and now you can entertain people and help raise money”. Let's say there's a woman at home suffering with cancer or something, if I can just put her mind off it for a little while and make them smile by being a total tit, that means the world. It's just a bastard of a disease. It just needs to go away and I wish we, not just as a country, but as the world, need to come together and fight it.