That’s called leaving with panache. The Big Bertha left Drag Race France with one of the most heartbreaking lipsyncs in the show’s history. You have to go back to the first American All Stars and the lipsync between Raven and Jujubee to find such emotion. She will also have marked the show with her outspokenness and her fight for the acceptance of all bodies.
Before talking about your journey in the competition, let’s talk about this lipsync on the song “Corps”, which for once is really becoming “legendary”. How did you approach it?
It was one of the songs that for me was one of the most important in lipsync. Yseult is one of my favorite artists. The lyrics of his song Body, that’s my whole fight, that’s the whole character of Bertha. In a way, I was happy to lipsync on this song, in front of Yseult as well. It added a lot of emotion. And it was hard, of course. I was very very proud to do this with Lolita and to complete this lipsync – which is supposed to be a solo exercise – in duet with her. It was not planned at all. It shows who Bertha is. Bertha cabaret is Bertha troupe, it’s not at all the Bertha who puts herself forward to crush the others. When you have a girlfriend in distress, you go. When I saw Lolita struggling with her lacing and corset, it was impossible for me not to go up to her, not to throw myself at her to help her and hug her. Often people in my troupe call me “Mama bear”. It’s stronger than me. I have to protect my sisters.
It’s this famous question from Nicky Doll (“Who should leave the show tonight and why?”) and especially the answers of the other queens that seem to have hurt Lolita. Do you understand his reaction?
Yes. Lolita is a fantastic performer, an incredible artist. It’s a war machine! She is never tired. We had a lot of discussions, because she only showed that side. She was very competitive, too. And we, the other girls, in our minds, we were more like a troop. That’s why there was a little gap between us. And we talked about the human side because it’s a human adventure. Lolita was very focused on the competition. It’s a small sugar heart, but it has a huge shell. Since the competition, we often work together and now we manage to see the human Lolita, without artifice. I think the choice of names was based on the human side.
It’s something we often ask ourselves as spectators. There are certain sequences that everyone knows are essential, and yet when the candidates are confronted with them, some seem taken by surprise. How do you explain it?
Quite honestly, we had completely zapped the possibility of this question. When you are in drag race, it’s the Drag Olympics, it’s very little sleep, a lot of creative energy. You’re really disconnected actually. There are things you don’t think about. When Nicky asked that question, we all looked at each other and said, “F***, we really don’t want to do this.” But it’s true that we are in drag race, there is always this question, so let’s go. I knew very well that Lolita and I were at the bottom of the ranking. I didn’t want to name myself, that wasn’t the goal, so of course I chose Lolita.
At the show’s presentation press conference, Nicky Doll said that to live, drag raceit was Koh Lanta. Is that how you experienced it?
This is Koh Lantait’s Beijing Express, it’s Fort Boyard, it’s Intercity – without the cows! Nicky Doll often says it’s the toughest competition on TV. Come to think of it, it’s true. You have to know how to dance, sing, be an actress, make people laugh, know how to sew, etc.
You seem to have missed out a bit on the Snatch Game, where you played Jean-Pierre Coffe. Looking back, what would you have done differently?
I could have done another character. But I like to write and I told myself that I was going to tell a story with this character. I had a whole storyline by Jean-Pierre Coffe who discovered the world of drags. And that’s not the thing to do. You just have to have a character, bullet points of ideas and hang on to all the questions. Afterwards, it was complicated for me because I was right after Soa from Muse and La Grande Dame and each time, I cried from laughing inside. I was like, “Keep your character! Keep your character! but I literally cried laughing.
You didn’t win a maxi-challenge, what do you think you missed?
A culinary challenge! (Laughs)
On the other hand, you have won one of the most popular mini-challenges, the reading challenge. Did you prepare your valves well in advance?
No way. It’s just when we were told “reading challenge”, I said “ok okay”. There’s no point in preparing jokes before the show because you use a lot of things that happen during the filming. And you have to discover the girls too to do personalized things. Me my maxim of life, it is “qui bene Amat, bene castigat”, which likes well punishes well. As I love them with love, it was easy for me to swing small spikes.
In the Popstars challenge, you wanted to talk about consent. Is it lived?
Totally. When you are in drag, you are a character, a character that provokes and attracts attention. I work a lot in cabaret and theater and I often do the Avignon festival. This is where I went by towing in the streets that I was an object. For example, my chest. How many times have you touched my chest? Very often women, by the way. At first, I would say “no, don’t do that to me”. Now, someone touches my chest, I touch the chest of the person opposite. And there people are a little shocked. Consent requires respect. We are not an object, we are not a product on promotion at the top of a supermarket gondola.
Do you already feel a “Drag Race” effect for your bookings, on your networks?
On my networks, of course. In the street too, it’s very funny. I came to Brussels because I am the godmother of the Cabaret Mademoiselle which is located here. At the Gare du Nord, I get arrested all the time. They say, “Excuse me, are you La Big Bertha? “. No no, I am The Great Lady! But it’s very benevolent.
In terms of booking, I was already working a lot before. It’s been my job for a while now. But it opens doors for me. For example, I’m going to Montreal soon to perform with all the stars of US Drag Race. It’s awesome. I freaked out when Rita Baga called me. She came to see me at Cabaret Mademoiselle. Already, she told me “I want you to come and do your numbers at my house”. And then she called me to tell me to cancel all my bookings from August 3 to 7. When I found out what it was, I said, “Ah. Really ? Good, okay. Let’s go! »
After Montreal, where can we see Bertha?
On the tour Drag Race France Live, which begins in early September. We do all of France, but also Brussels at the Cirque Royal on September 13th. We are in full preparation and it looks magical. And especially to be all ten, with Nicky Doll. It’s going to be so beautiful, super personal, since each queen will have her own number.
What was your relationship with Nicky Doll during the show? She was in tears of your elimination…
I think all the girls will give the same answer. Drag Race France without Nicky Doll would not have had the same flavor. Nicky has been patient support. Because she lived the American version. She always had a word for us. She came to see us in the dressing room every morning to ask us if we were okay, how we felt. She was the one who said to the production “we’re taking a break, bring them water, stools, etc. “. That’s why we call her our big sister. It was super important to feel like a family for this shoot. There were also all the technical teams, all the nannies, the whole communications team. There was a spirit of benevolence, of family. Just for that, I really want to have a barbecue with the whole team this summer!
Make no secret of it, Muse’s Soa is your favorite for victory. Why would she make a good winner of “Drag Race France”, in your opinion?
Soa, we’ve known each other for eight years, we shared sick galleys. We performed in cabarets, we were paid nothing. She’s an amazing performer. And like I say on the show, it’s not he, it’s not her, it’s a muse, it’s a creature. It’s super important to show that the world of drag is opening up. We are no longer in the years when it is a man who disguises himself, in quotation marks, “as a woman”. We got past that. The drag universe is much larger today, with drag-queens, drag-kings. It is important that the franchise Drag Race France stands out from this. Soa brings values of a fighter, values of a different person. And she’s my sister! I want to see the crown at her place. Even if I have an unconditional love for Paloma and La Grande Dame, which are real discoveries. The choice is difficult because they can totally win too. But it is sure that my heart speaks and for me it is my little Soa.
Anything else to add?
I’m hungry ! (Laughs)