Bianca Del Rio: drag star to hold court at the Warfield

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday April 23, 2024
Share this Post:
Bianca Del Rio
Bianca Del Rio

When drag superstar Bianca Del Rio was crowned Most Powerful Drag Queen by Vulture, she took it all in stride.

"It was a surprise and an honor," Del Rio said in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter. "But I try not to get too caught up in that stuff. This year I could be crowned the ugliest and most useless. That's showbiz, baby."

Currently on tour, Del Rio will bring her unique brand of outrageous humor to the Warfield on May 3 and May 4 in a new show called "Dead Inside."

But just who is Bianca Del Rio? How did she come to be? According to the diva, she was born nine months after a wild night between Joan Rivers, Don Rickles, and Bozo the Clown, though she won't say what happened that night. She refers to herself as "the expert on nothing who has an opinion on everything, who likes to wear sparkly gowns and too much makeup." But she has her serious side as well.

"Visibility is extremely important for drag and all other marginalized groups," she said. "Because the more people are exposed to those groups the less threatened they feel by them. Drag visibility demystifies and humanizes LGBTQ+ individuals, and it helps LGBTQ+ youth in red states feel seen and less alone."

The "Drag Race" alumnus has never been afraid to shock or offend her audiences. She admits that there has been backlash, yet she stands her ground, saying that pushback isn't going to change who she is or what she has to say.

"But there are quite a few people out there who are just as rotten as I am and find humor in everything," she said. "That's my target audience. There will always be people who are offended by something I say, but I don't pay those people any mind. As a good friend of mine once said: "Bianca can't get canceled, because she stays canceled."

Bianca Del Rio  

Deadly funny
Del Rio promises that "Dead Inside" will be pretty offensive. She advises parents to leave their kids at home, and says that anyone with thin skin should also stay at home.

"If you're the type of person who laughs at funerals and doesn't take anything seriously, then come on out," she said. "You'll probably like my show."

Del Rio (real name Roy R. Haylock) is of Cuban and Honduran descent and hails from the New Orleans area. After Hurricane Katrina, she moved to New York City where she worked as a costume designer for various shows, including ballet and opera. In addition to performing in drag, Del Rio starred as Angel in a regional production of the musical "Rent." She has also performed with another drag diva, Lady Bunny, with whom she pretends to have an adversarial relationship on social media.

In 2013 it was announced that Del Rio would compete in the sixth season of "Drag Race." On May 19, 2014, Del Rio was crowned the season's winner.

"According to the contract I signed to get my check, RuPaul is amazing," Del Rio joked. "She's the most wonderful person to ever walk the earth! She is gorgeous. She is a goddess. She is glorious."

And when push comes to shove, Del Rio advises people against pursuing a career in drag.

"It's a trap," she warned. "You dress in drag once for Halloween, and thirty years later you're in drag six days a week schlepping huge bags of wigs, makeup, and tights all over the world."

Bianca Del Rio's 'Dead Inside' Comedy Tour, May 3 and May 4, 8pm, $39.50-$275, The Warfield, 982 Market Street,

Never miss a story! Keep up to date on the latest news, arts, politics, entertainment, and nightlife.
Sign up for the Bay Area Reporter's free weekday email newsletter. You'll receive our newsletters and special offers from our community partners.

Support California's largest LGBTQ newsroom. Your one-time, monthly, or annual contribution advocates for LGBTQ communities. Amplify a trusted voice providing news, information, and cultural coverage to all members of our community, regardless of their ability to pay -- Donate today!