Photography courtesy of HBO
The drag queen superstars spill the tea on the new season of their hit show, the death-dropping looks, and what Coming Out Day means to them.
Date October 11, 2021
Move over, Batmobile. HBO’s We’re Here — the drag documentary-meets-makeover series starring Shangela, Eureka O’Hara and Bob the Drag Queen — might possibly feature the most fabulous forms of transportation ever created. In the opening scene of season one (which premiered in 2020) and season two (to be untucked today), the world was introduced to three of the campiest trucks to ever grace the small screen: a fuschia-bowed set of wheels, a mobile-enlarged elephant and a literal “purse first” vehicle.
“I don’t want to ruin it for you, but I actually never drove the [purse] truck myself,” shares Bob over video chat. “When we did season one, I didn’t even have a driver’s license, so I legally could not drive that truck.”
As the drag-mobiles are captured driving through American suburban streets in the opening minutes of the new season, it’s immediately apparent how accurately this scene represents the entire series. For those unfamiliar (or those without an HBO subscription), We’re Here is a six-part show that follows three of the most exuberant exports of RuPaul’s Drag Race as they travel across the U.S. and adopt various small-town residents with a connection to the LGBTQ2S+ community as drag children. Each episode starts with the hosts — all decked out in their finery, hence the need for trucks with space to haul it all — sissying that walk through the main stretch of the community, culminating in a fabulous lip sync performance (because, of course!). Along the way, expect to cry — and not just a few tears, we’re talking ugly sobs — as the tragic backstories of the makeover-ees take centre stage.
“I tell people all the time when they say, ‘Oh my God, I cried,’ I’m like, ‘You cried? It wasn’t just a one-hour event — I was there for ten days! I was crying every day for ten days,’” Bob reveals.
“We’re Here” Season Two— Joey. Photography courtesy of HBO
For all its positivity and motivational mantras (think “hope is here to slay” from the show’s promos), We’re Here is also a stark reminder of the obstacles the community continues to face. For every moment the community welcomed the queens and their transformations with open arms, there are still groups of angry bystanders yelling derogatory comments at Shangela, Eureka and Bob. While the queens handle the overtly conservative townspeople with empathy and humour (drag is not a contact sport), Coming Out Day — which falls on October 11, also the date of the season two premiere — is a reminder that it’s not as easy for everyone.
“I do get a lot of questions, not just from people but from parents about coming out and how they can help,” reveals Eureka. But her go-to advice is to always live your truth. “Whether it’s gender expression, your sexuality, or whatever you have to come out about, do it on your own time. There are no rules except the rules that you create for yourself. Have faith in the people that you love and that love you. If they don’t accept it, that’s okay, but I promise you that there are people in your life that already know and don’t care.”
That’s a powerful message for anyone to hear, no matter their background. But still, it’s a credit to the queens and activists that have come before them that such a personal confession can be so readily accepted.
“I was thinking about the people who have created spaces for me to be sitting on this Zoom call right now, and how grateful I am that people have allowed me to navigate the world,” says Bob about LGBTQ2S+ History Month, an observance held annually October. “I think about Lady Bunny, Peppermint, William Dorsey Swann, Dr. Angela Davis, and I’m just living in a place of gratitude. And you know, I’m also thinking about how to make sure that someone coming after me has a great space, too. So I’m making sure that I’m doing my thing to contribute to history going forward.”