We open the inaugural episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under with all the pomp and circumstance us Aussies can muster, meaning there was a kookaburra carrying on over the beautiful, smooth baritone of a didgeridoo while Ru let rip with some spectacular Australiana puns. And coming from the foremost pun enthusiast of this great southern land, he should really take that as a bloody compliment.
Oh and in the great tradition of bring the US of the southern hemisphere, I’m ignoring the fact this show is half New Zealand – aka our Canada, the prettier more charming country – and should one of their queens win, claim them as quick as we claimed Rusty, Keith Urban, Rebecca Gibney and the iconic Richard Wilkins.
But enough of my ramblings, I really need to turn my attention to the first shiela to show off her map of Tassie in the Down Under work room, the iconic Art Simone. Full of bogan charm and bouncing with joy, she flew her way into my heart like a flaming Galah. After a brief period of isolation which no doubt triggered memories of her recent hotel quarantine, she was joined by Maxi Shield who won my heart by quoting another Australian legend, Lara Bingle. As the two gabbed about in the Werk Room, they gave the world the first taste of the finer details of the Australian language with a few fucken oaths, you’re a srubber and other phrases that really say, how the fuck do Australians think this is how you’re meant to talk to friends?
Dripping in her self-proclaimed Faboriginality Jojo Zaho quickly became my fave as out of drag, he is hot as hell and rocks the mouth of a trucker. We got our first taste of the queens from the long white cloud when Elektra Shock entered the fray and quickly gagged the Aussie girls, despite them not knowing who she is. Side note, she was absolutely robbed of victory in House of Drag season 2, so if you underestimate her, you may just find yourself da-da-da-da-da, fucking off.
Making things a little more controversial, Scarlet arrived looking like Aquaria and thankfully not rocking on of her many reported black face looks. Coco Jumbo arrived and brought a tonne of charm and energy, and maybe I love her most of all instead? I mean, at least she was charming while mocking Elektra’s thirsty wig. Speaking of Elektra, one of the queens that robbed her of victory on House of Drag, Kita Mean arrived, this time to compete against her. Talk quickly turned to how gaggy it is for Kita to appear without her partner Anita, with Kita admitting that it feels weird to be going it alone. Up next was my new, ultimate, super mega best value favourite Etcetera Etcetera arrived dressed as a cockroach and shut it down, right now – she wins my heart and then hopefully the competition. Messed up antler or not. We then learnt that wait, Kita does not need to worry about getting lonely as Anita also made her triumphant debut and damn, I wish I knew how she managed to stay so charming despite being way too fucking much and so so positive.
Oh and please note, this now means that both of Elektra’s bosses are now in competition with her.
Rounding out the cast is Karen from Finance with the greatest entrance of all time, missing her mark and out of shot while dressed like Jane Fonda in 9 to 5. And like her friends Trixie and Katya, I live for her.
Barely getting any time to kiki and get to know each other on a deep and spiritual level, the siren went off and Mama Ra arrived to welcome the dolls into her international family and then immediately tasked them with a screen test overseen by the man that floods my basement most, Taika Waititi.
Speaking of flooded basements, we quickly pivoted to the shoot where the Pit Crew were well and truly packing – and had me primed to shoot – as the queens filed in to film their audition for Thore. Art was first, lisping her way further into my heart and completely charming Ru with her stupidity. Maxi was sexy, Jojo was ready to mount the Pit Crew – #RelatableQueen – Scarlet rocked laser titties, Coco was wacky, Etcetera was ridiculous and in the zone, Kita was focused, Anita served anger and joy in exactly the same way, while Elektra was absolutely demented while screaming out her rage and having Ru in hysterics. Karen then danced her way into my heart. But sadly for her, not Ru and Taika’s, as Elektra took out the first Mini Challenge of the series and silenced all the girls that didn’t believe in her.
With that out of the way, Ru quickly dropped the bomb that their first Maxi Challenge would be a cheeky little get to know you ball. The first category is Born Naked, with the queens getting us thirsty in their sexiest nude illusion. No Place Like Home would be the second category, giving the queens the chance to sell themselves while selling what makes their hometown so good.
As soon as Ru departed the queens scrambled to find a place in the Week Room, while Etcetera, Coco and Jojo were busy looking for the trade of the season. Which fills my heart with joy that the trio of icons have their priorities correct. While Kita decreed Maxi the trade of the season for looking like a trucker, Coco identified Anita as the PeeWee Herman before nearly fainting as she discovered that Elektra is hot. As such, she immediately regretted being shady about her as her only shot now may be a hate fuck. Speaking of Elektra, she was already feeling like the underdog of the season and felt like she really needed to turn out the first challenge to counteract the other queens’ reputations.
Elimination Day arrived – the episode ran fast, fam – with Karen sharing that her hometown runway was inspired by all of the drunk girls late in the afternoon of Melbourne Cup, meanwhile Jojo was going to rock a look in honour of her ancestry rather than one specific place, before sharing with Art how proud she is to be an Indigenous Australian. Elektra and Kita meanwhile were kikiing about their Born Naked runways, with Kita sharing that she is still uncomfortable in her skin after losing weight after her recent lap band surgery. Oh and Anita was starting to feel very awkward about competing against her dear friend, though vowed that this is her time to shine as Scarlet’s born naked outfit tore open as they were about to head off to the runway.
With that, we check in with Michelle – lover of penal colonies – and Rhys, who loves his new daddy RuPaul. Who conveniently was sans drag as her make-up decided not to join her in New Zealand in time.
On the Born Naked runway, Scarlet was able to sew together her silicone catsuit and rocked full bush and nips, proving Australia and New Zealand are a bit more lax with their censorship. Maxi meanwhile lived in her see-through trench. Elektra was inspired by Ru in a gladiator number, Coco covered herself in over-sized, camp drag props, Etcetera rocked their non-binary roots in a gory and glamous goddess gown. Jojo meanwhile had me living with her even fuller bush than Scarlet, Karen looked like a sparkle, stripping dream while Anita slayed as Eve, though not as much as Alaska Eve, it should be noted. Kita’s bodysuit was sadly ill fitting around the arms but she made up for it with a beautiful ball covered number while Art gave split personality in the most polished way possible.
Extra points go to Kita for getting Rhys to quickly assert himself as the alpha non-Ru-or-Michelle judge on all franchises ever by uttering, “I love balls slapping against my arse,” which I feel in my soul. I mean, ugh, it is soothing and I’m glad Rhys is bringing it into the broader consciousness.
Category No Place Like Home saw Scarlet slayk, serving Black Swan realness, Maxi served Big Prawn eleganza in honour of Ballina – which for those that have tragically never been, was a petrol station. Elektra was a technicolour dream angel for Auckland, which was stunning despite me not getting her references. Coco rocked King Kong chic in honour of another of my Christmas roadtrip faves, the Big Banana of Coffs Harbour. Etcetera served the map of Canberra in the sexiest way possible before Jojo stole the damn show as the self-crowned Queen of the Kooris. Karen pivoted in the best way possible, slaying as a very realistic drunk chick at the races. And I should know, as I was once kicked out of the races. Oh and then Anita turned up as a sheep, before Kita was All Black and sexy as hell and Art closed the show with a reveal, from little black dress to a graffiti covered gown and honestly, it was impeccable.
Ultimately Maxi, Etcetera, Anita and Kita were sent to safety, leaving the tops and bottoms – you know I have to say it, we’re all bottoms – on stage to receive critiques. The judges lived for Scarlet, despite her meaty damn tuck. They thought Elektra’s looks were simple albeit great, and then confusing and basic for her hometown look. They didn’t love Coco’s nude look, but lived for her hometown runway despite it potentially being legitimate Party City. Jojo was tragically read for being unpolished despite having a powerful message. Karen meanwhile received universal praise for both looks, as did Art.
Critically, Rhys followed his earlier majesty by quoting his boyfriend, “this is a strong opening, I hope you can top it.” And with that, the hilarious Ross Matthews, Carson, Alan and Graham started to worry about their job security.
Backstage Coco was gutted to have received mixed reviews, while Elektra was sure that she was in the bottom with Coco. Jojo meanwhile was heartbroken to not impress the judges, breaking down as she listened to the lip sync song, sure of her fate before she even returned to the stage.
Ultimately Scarlet was deemed safe as was Art, meaning Karen took out victory in the first challenge. On the other end of the spectrum, Coco scraped through by the skin of her teeth leaving Elektra and Jojo to battle it out in the first lip sync of the season to Tragedy by the mother tucking BeeGees.
Right from the start Elektra was desperate for victory as she slapped her pussy into the stage, but damn did both of the duo kill it. Bouncing off each other, the queens gave comedy and ultimately were delightfully congenial and altogether ridiculous, giving the world a taste of just how fun Down Under drag can be. Tragically though, someone had to become the Pork Chop of the franchise and despite it being such a strong opening lip sync, poor Jojo Zaho was felled from the competition.
Upon arriving backstage, I immediately pulled her in for a massive hug partly because I was so heartbroken to see her go and partly because she is hot. As I wiped away her tears, I reminded her that as her dear friend – we met at that place when we were both doing that thing, I’m sure I mentioned it – I know that this will not bring her down and frankly, snagged herself one of the most iconic places in the history of the series. Bested only by a crown. But since she was eliminated wearing one, she kinda got the best of both worlds. With that, we whipped out our Jojo Zahohos and toasted to all her success.
I was going to try and avoid smut upon my return, but when serving up a long, firm pole filled with glorious, sweet cream there is no way to avoid it. I am a ho for a hoho and after putting one in your mouth, you will be too.
Serves: 2 dear friends, looking for a creamy filling.
Edited from Gale Gand’s recipe.
7 eggs, two of which need to be separated
¾ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup clarified butter, warm
3 cups icing sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
350g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil, or whatever flavourless oil you prefer
Preheat the oven to 180C and line two jelly roll pans with baking paper.
Combine five whole eggs, two yolks – you could use the whites for a cheeky Macarooney Mara – muscovado sugar and two teaspoons of the vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk over a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture homogeneous. Remove from the heat and transfer to a stand mixer, beating for five minutes or so, or until light and fluffy.
Remove from the mixer and fold through the flour, cocoa and baking powder until just combined before finally folding through the clarified butter. Split the batter between the two pans, smooth the tops and transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Take the cakes out of the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and cover with some cling while you get to work on the rest.
While the cake is getting chill, mix the icing sugar, butter and remaining vanilla with the paddle of a mixer until the sugar is wet. Insert the paddle into the stand mixer and beat on medium for a few minutes or until so light and fluffy it is pulsating.
To assemble the cakes, smear a layer of filling over the top of each cake, leaving a centimetre on one of the long sides. Roll each cake tightly to form a fat roll, trim into lengths, transfer to baking sheet – seam side down – and place in the fridge to set for an hour.
While they’re in the fridge, combine the chocolate and oil in a bowl over a double boiler and mix until it forms a glossy liquid. Leave to chill for five minutes before grabbing the cakes and working one at a time, dip them in the glaze, allow excess to drip off and then transfer to a baking sheet to set.
Once firm, plate up, serve them to your iconic friend and devour together, in the smuttiest way possible.
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