Keeping Up With Katya

Plucked from the thriving first floor of Birmingham’s biggest and best gay nightclub, The Nightingale, we find ourselves in the club’s green room amongst go-go boys and drag queens alike to interview Season 7 favourite of Rupaul’s Drag Race; Katya Zamolodchikova.

The Boston heralding bisexual Russian hooker is everything you’d expect: dressed glamorously, with a face beat from the heavens and a cigarette seductively burning in front of me, just to add to the aesthetic of it all. The beloved drag queen made tidal waves for her wit, injurious hilarity and warming character on 2015’s edition of Rupaul’s Drag Race, scooping up Miss Congeniality and since becoming a YouTube personality and fan favourite. Stopping off in Birmingham (UK), I have ten minutes with Katya. This is probably the shortest and most professional hookup she’s ever had. “Wanna go in the shower?”, it’s clear that this is certainly going to be quite the interview…

So what’ve you been up to recently?

Just gigging it. I filmed a new YouTuber series thats about to come out. That’s my favourite thing to do. If I could I would live in a tree and make videos. Seriously.

And you’ve just been to Aspen Gay Ski Week?

Aspen was beautiful. What i found was that Winter drag was the ticket, well for me anyway. Russian hooker aesthetically but also body temperature wise, I was cool, calm and collected the whole time. I didn’t sweat at all. In fact, I was a little too warm. It was so up high and the sun was so bright.

So the Season 8 queens queens have just been announced. Who are you favourites?

I cannot wait to watch this season. I know some of them from before, so just judging from Meet the Queens; Bob. I mean he was the only funny one. I love Kim but I know Kim, not very well, but I know her because she’s Trixie’s best friend. My friend Laila is on so I’m excited for her.

Another Boston queen!

Yeah, she’s from Gloucester which is like a trashy fishing village with a huge heroin problem. I’m interested in Thorgy Thor, I don’t know anything about her. I guess because her name is Thor and she has a great look. And then there’s Derrick Barry. Derrick is funny. She’s ditsy but not a bimbo. She knows what she’s doing. And Kim! She can turn out. She is so creative. You could give her a jar of pickles and a playboy magazine and she’ll give you a runway look. Looks wise, Naomi Smalls.

I fancy Naomi so much out of drag.

Yeah, super cute! Legs for days. He’s the mayor of legs for days. https://www.instagram.com/p/BBeoYReo81j/?taken-by=katya_zamo

What kind of things do you want to see more of this season?

I want to see better challenges. I want to see the runway have consequences but the thing is with that is you go into the show broke. It’s the life of a working artist, you don’t have the recourses to come up with show-stopping looks. I didn’t for sure. I want to see them create their own content. I don’t want to see anymore shitty acting scripts. I want to see them really be themselves and show their cards. And I wanna see all their assholes.

Every single one?

Yeah. Wide open. Pulled like, with a specula. More gynaecology and proctology.

It was decided a couple of weeks ago that poppers are to be banned in the UK as of April.

You’re kidding! I don’t know where you can ever get them in the US. I’m sober so I cant really do them because it’s under the umbrella of Amyl Nitrates but that makes me sad because I think in general we should be moving towards decriminalisation of substances.

Do you think the ban could be discriminative?

Homophobic? Yeah! Because people don’t like gay sex and straight people are like “you’re having too much fun”. You sniff this thing and your asshole widens and the heavens open and send down angels. Also, we’ve got to work on getting abortion legal in Ireland for fuck sake!

I know I still can’t believe that!

I mean it was illegal to be gay until 1993 and same-sex marriage was only introduced last year. Fuck! That is fucked.

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How do Irish crowds take you?

They’re just lovely. Everywhere in the UK and Ireland are just amazing. In Glasgow I had to tell them to shut the fuck up because they were screaming so loud. It was hurting my ear holes. It hurt, I was so overwhelmed. It was amazing.

Have you ever slept with an Irish man?

Yes, I have. Well, with a Northern Irish man. I met him at the Kremlin which is a Russian themed gay bar in Belfast and I got really really drunk and wouldn’t take my hiking boots off and I couldn’t get an erection it was terrible. He kept asking me “what’s your kink, what’s your kink” and I was like I gotta go home.

What is your kink?

Ermmm. I don’t really know if I have one. I don’t like props, I just like naked bodies. I would say taboo role-play but I’m not going to say anymore than that. The problem with that is actually acting it out. People just laugh and don’t stay in character.

Reddit users are completely mad for you!

Are they still? I stopped paying attention a little while ago, like halfway through my season because it’s not a good place for us to go.

How do you feel about it being used as a platform to discuss you all?

Oh, it’s great. But the thing is, a lot of the girls, including myself, would go and look on there because we wanted to know what people were saying about us. But we shouldn’t be on there. We don’t belong there. Jennifer Anniston doesn’t read TV guide or People magazine. I think it’s psychologically damaging for us but it’s very very very tempting! We’re more likely to go and find bad stuff, which is very damaging. I was very fortunate and had so many nice things said about me but then your brain gets used to it and you’re just like woah. I love Twitter and there is such dark shit on there. The most vitriolic, hateful speech gets twitted for us.. I’m on there for comedy and follow other comedians and drag queens and I tweet stupid shit and tell people where I’m going to be and I’ll get a little rabbit hole of “oh fuck wow people are really mad and ignorant” and that’s scary.

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And you’ve previously been very open about alcohol and drug abuse, what advice would you give other gay people and drag queens going through something similar?

I think it’s good to know that there’s a network and a community. People say ‘gay community’ but I don’t really think there is one. But there’s a large global community of people whose only purpose is to get you sober. Just knowing that that’s there helps people. I didn’t know about that. I never heard of that stuff but as soon as I heard about it I was like “cool ok” so yeah! But I’d say in the meantime, do as many poppers as you can. You should be on mushrooms and have shit all over your face!

The last queen I interviewed was Ginger Minj in the bed of her hotel room.

She keeps her room so dark and cold. It’s scary. It’s like a meat freezer on a hook.

Abattoir chic.

YASSSSSSS. *multiple clicks*

And following in the footsteps on the Meet the Queens interviews, what would be your personalised hashtag and emoji?

Hashtag 100% human woman and then my emoji would probably be like the balloon because I imagine it’s going to pop and it’ll be filled with blood.

You’ve been working quite closely with Trixie recently both in shows and on YouTube, what’ve been your most memorable moments with her?

Australia! The second time, because the first time we got detained for having the wrong visa. I didn’t try and bring loads of cocaine unfortunately but the reality was just as terrifying. We flew 24 fucking hours and flew back the next day. It was brutal but the second time was fun. We work really well together and I really admire her. She has a really good balance of being passionate about drag and being a drag queen.


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