Meet the Dagenham drag queen in this year's RuPaul's Drag Race UK

Ella Vaday

Ella Vaday from Dagenham is in this year's season of RuPaul's Drag Race UK. - Credit: BBC/World of Wonder/Ray Burmiston

A drag queen from Dagenham is among the cast of this season's RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

Ella Vaday describes herself as a "drag beast from the east" and "like a desperate housewife of Dagenham".

Introducing herself, she said: "[I'm] a yummy mummy - a bit garish, a bit classy, a bit Essex-y. I'm very sarcastic and dry."

The 32-year-old's name comes from her days running a dog walking business while appearing in the West End.

"I’d be running around all day, and then when I’d go to work I would say, ‘It’s been a hell of a day!' I used to call myself Ella Vanass, but everyone thought I was saying elephant ass, so I scrapped that."

Global drag icon and judge, RuPaul Charles, presides over the BBC Three series which will see 12 of the nation’s drag queens compete over 10 weeks to be crowned the UK’s next Drag Race superstar.

Series one and two have been streamed more than 35million times on BBC iPlayer.

Most Read

Ella has been doing drag for two years, but has sung and danced from childhood. Her act took off during lockdown last year when she went from 6,000 followers to 30,000 on social media.

On what inspires her, Ella said: "My drag is the feminine side of me - which as a male actor I’ve never been allowed to show - so it’s two fingers up to everyone who has ever told me I must look like a leading man. Now I am both the lead man and lead woman."

The actor and dancer trained at Bird College in Sidcup. Her first job was as a backing dancer on X Factor for Olly Murs and Eoghan Quigg.

Theatre credits include Peter Pan, Book Of Mormon, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Fame, Cats and Wicked where she covered nine people.

"There was one show I sang every single male line in the opening of Wicked. Everyone was off," she said.

Last year, she started rehearsals for Hairspray, but Covid-19 hit and the production was halted.

On appearing on Drag Race, Ella said: "I am looking forward to the singing challenges and dancing challenges where I know I can excel."

Asked why she should be the next Drag Race superstar, she said: "I’m bringing all the skills I've gained for the last 14 years.

"This competition is testing everything I’ve ever learned. In the short time that I've been doing drag, I’ve really pushed myself. I don't do things by halves."

RuPaul's Drag Race UK returns to BBC iPlayer in September.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter