After nearly four months of grueling competition, RuPaul’s Drag Race season 14 is finally coming to a close.
On Friday (April 22), the top five queens of the season — Angeria Paris VanMicheals, Bosco, Daya Betty, Lady Camden and Willow Pill — will duke it out in a lip-sync smackdown for the crown. The winner will not only walk away with the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar, but a boosted cash prize of $150,000, while the runner-up queen will also take home an additional $50,000 thanks to a new rule introduced just before the finale.
Labelling herself as the “demon queen of Seattle,” Bosco has proven that she is so much more than a fiendish performer. Quickly establishing herself as the comedy queen of the season, Bosco sang, hosted and roasted her way through the competition. Even when she was supposed to go home, she managed to hang on for dear life by the wrapping around a gold-plated chocolate bar.
Below, Billboard chats with Bosco ahead of the finale airing about this historically long season of Drag Race, her love for bras, corsets and panties, and why her penchant for being “funny, but also pretty and humble” make her a top contender for the crown.
Bosco, you made it to the finale! Congratulations, queen, how are you feeling heading into this weekend?
I am feeling so elated, so excited, and so tired. So, so tired. [Laughs.] Yeah, it’s been a crazy journey. I feel like, something people don’t think about that much is that, while y’all have been watching this season for the past 74 years, I had to go through a several-month application process to get on this season, then I had to film this season, then watch it all back — I’ve been working on this season for the last year and a half, and I can taste the finish line. I am ready.
Ok, so you were all aware of the fact during filming that this season was long?
[Laughs.] I mean, there’s only so many times that somebody can not be eliminated until you’re like, “How many episodes did VH1 order this year?” But being on television another week? I am A-OK with that. Also, while I understand some of the complaints … when Drag Race is playing, Drag Race is the best thing that’s on television. So like, you get more Drag Race! That’s what everybody wants, even if they hate to admit it.
I have loved watching you on this season. You truly became the undisputed comedy queen of the season, because you took home practically every comedy challenge win! Was that odd to have happen, even when that’s not necessarily the brand you came in with?
I have always seen myself as a good joke-writer, and quick-witted, so I wasn’t expecting to struggle when it came to comedy challenges. I was very excited to learn that I really succeed at challenges like that, because for a lot of people, those are some of the scariest challenges to come in and do! I don’t know if there’s a way to really learn how to be funny, so I’m very happy that I excelled at that. Now I can turn that into something else! Like, hell yeah this can be part of the brand now! I love being slutty, and I’m very funny — what a winning combo! People have done way more with way less.
Now, on the flip side of that, you were also the recipient of the much-talked-about golden ticket this season after being told to go home by the judges and the other queens. We saw your reaction on screen — what was happening off-stage once everything was said and done?
The vibe was disbelief, for sure. General happiness, as well — they have to edit it to play a certain way, but every single one of the girls came up to me and told me that they were very happy I was the one who had the golden bar. Like, we knew that the chocolate bar was going to happen, and I understand feelings like, “Dammit, another girl isn’t going home.” But, everybody was actually really happy for me, so that felt really good. So I then spent a few days crying, because it was a tough episode! Being told to go home by all of your friends, and production, and RuPaul is a very jarring experience. But luckily, I’m really funny, and also pretty and humble, so I was able to bounce back.
There was a lot of shade being thrown at you for your signature bra-corset-and-panties looks that you wore on the runway. From a challenge perspective, is it difficult having to bring all of these distinctive looks to the show while also maintaining the style of looks that you know you look good in?
It’s tough! We had to prep for the show during lockdown, and I don’t live in a city with a plethora of designers, and I didn’t have any RuPaul connections yet. Nobody had heard of me before this season, so there were no famous sisters or friends of mine that I could reach out to and see if I could pull on any of their connections. So, a lot of what I was doing was s–t that me and my friends had, or crafted together, or sewed ourselves. I totally understand the critiques, but I was also really proud of what I was able to do with what I had available to me. Also, that’s very indicative of what you’re gonna get at a Bosco show, and I’m not mad about that! Like, how Angie has pageant gowns, we all have our own thing! But I promise to buy more expensive lingerie from now on.
I wanted to congratulate you on your coming out as trans earlier this year, alongside a few of your season 14 sisters! What has that experience been like for you?
It’s been really incredible. I mean, talk about a fully life-changing year! I guess I decided to do 2022 on the highest difficulty possible. Like, let’s do the hardest reality TV competition show in the world, let’s be on television for four months, and go through second puberty, and come out in front of the whole world. I just really loaded it all up this year. [Laughs.] No, it’s been great — it’s definitely a process, and bumpy, and emotional, and crazy, but I couldn’t have asked to do it any other way.
We learned a few weeks ago that the winner of this season will be taking home $150,000 instead of the usual $100K — what was your reaction when you found that out?
I was like, “Oh, excellent. That sounds delightful! I can think of so many different types of thongs that I could buy with that kind of money!”
It’s also just nice that now I don’t have to get as angry at other reality shows with the $100,000 prize for being way easier than Drag Race.
That’s the other thing, though! This is the hardest reality show ever, that challenges you in so many different aspects of your career — and some people just have to put makeup on someone else, and they get the same amount! Like, “Wait, I have to do that myself for free! That’s a requirement just for me to get on the show!”
So, heading into the finale, if you had to make the pitch for yourself, why do you deserve to win season 14 of Drag Race?
Do you want a winner that’s lost three times? Do you want a winner that’s been censored upwards of five different times for nudity on national television? Do you want a winner who’s love language is s–t talking? Then you should be Team Bosco. I am here representing the demographic of slutty bullies, I regret nothing, and I would do it all again.
Before I let you go, since this is Billboard, I have to ask — is there a song, album or artist that you’ve been listening to a lot as of late?
Ooh, good question! Something I’ve been really into this past week that I’ve been vibing to and enjoying is Sinéad Harnett’s new album, Ready Is Always Too Late. Oh, it’s incredible. It’s so sexy, so smooth, I swear she is this generation’s Sade, I love her.