Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela and Eureka are leaving the Drag Race werk room well and truly behind for We’re Here, their new docuseries which has finally landed in the UK.
The trio of queens traverse small-town America in the new six-part series, at each stop giving locals – most of whom are members of the LGBT+ community – the chance to become their drag daughters for the night.
On paper the basic concept sounds fluffy enough – a sort of Drag Race meets Queer Eye – but in actuality this is a show filled with grit and heart, one about overcoming adversity in Trump’s USA.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race highlights the queer community and experience from inside the werk room and on a runway,” Shangela explains as PinkNews catches up with the trio over Zoom.
“We’ve taken that experience now outside the building, into small conservative towns across America, to showcase what real life is and what it’s like for our queer community members in these spaces.”
She adds: “These are stories about queer people who may have been put on the outskirts, who may have looked around and felt like, ‘I’m the only person like me around’.
“I think that Brits will identify with these stories because they’re queer stories, they’re not just exclusive to small towns in America. No matter where you live in the world, as a member of the queer community a lot of times you know what that feels like.”
At the beginning of each episode Bob, Eureka and Shangela roll into town on three big colourful trucks, decorated as a yellow purse, an elephant and a pink box respectively. It’s a bold visual statement of intent – that this is an unapologetically queer operation, ready to steamroll any negativity that might arise in the more conservative corners of the states.
“The thing is, we’re not saviours,” Bob is keen to note.
“We’re not coming in and changing these towns. We’re really just amplifying the voices of people who are already in these towns, the real movers and shakers who are doing this work literally every day.”
Sometimes you can unearth support in the most unlikely places.
The first episode features three striking stories, of lives tinged with prejudice.
Eureka’s first mentee is a mother who admits to reacting poorly when her daughter came out as bisexual, leading to their estrangement. Shangela’s is a gay man desperate for his father to embrace all parts of his identity, while Bob is paired with a Black man (and committed LGBT+ ally) living in a town where the confederate flag is prolific.
Later on in the series we meet a trans man and his wife, a Christian “who doesn’t identify as queer” struggling with his attraction to other men, families fighting to overcome deep trauma and people who just want to live their truths unbothered. Their stories are shared without filter and with all the awkwardness of living while queer away from the metropolis.
“That’s what made me so interested in this project, was that this is real life,” Eureka says. “We’re showing what people really go through and how people really react and where we’re given an opportunity to show that, and that’s what makes this show so great.”
Where We’re Here also shines is in its more unexpected moments: those when some of the straight cis locals defy expectations, proving themselves to be welcoming of the queens and the local LGBT+ community.
“We understand that in America, and in a lot of conservative spaces, that it’s not very progressive, it’s not very open and accepting for a lot of queer people and their experiences,” Shangela says.
“However, what we found in this show, and I hope that people will see from watching the show, is that sometimes you can unearth support in the most unlikely places.”
All episodes of We’re Here will be available in the UK on Sky One and NOW TV from Friday (August 14).
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