Stoke-on-Trent drag queen says UK Drag Race could be a game changer

Ash as Maria Weaver Rose

A Stoke-on-Trent drag queen hopes Ru Paul's Drag Race UK has a similar impact here to the one it has had in America.

The new series, which will feature guest judges including Cheryl, Twiggy and Andrew Garfield, starts on BBC Three at 8pm tonight (3 October).

Ash, also known as Maria Weaver Rose, says that the US version of the show inspired him.

He said: "It was the spark of it.

"Finding that and watching it, I could relate to them.

"There was something in me I needed to bring out, and I love to entertain.

"Drag Race was the catalyst to bring Maria out.

"I remember my first night dressing up in drag for a Halloween theme at the Sugarmill.

"I did a really terrible Ariel costume but people loved it, and they welcomed me with open arms."

The UK has a strong tradition of drag acts, such as Lily Savage, Danny La Rue and Dame Edna Everage.

But there has not been such high profile British based names regularly appearing on our TV screens for several years.

But the US version of Drag Race has made household names in America of some of its stars.

Ash is hoping UK Drag Race will encourage more people to get involved.

He said: "I think it is going to be really important.

"America and Britain are really different in the way they do things, and drag is one of them.

"I feel it is going to be great for us drag performers because there will be a lot more relatable people on there, and it will even inspire people."

As well as getting more people interested in performing, Ash is hoping it will show people about drag culture.

He said: "Drag performances are an act.

"When I am being Maria, that is different to how I am when I am out of the wig and the dress.

"Being a drag performer we have that platform to educate people. 

"I really admire people like Courtney Act because she is telling people about our culture and our history."

Ash admires former Ru Paul Drag Race contestant Courtney Act, who uses the platform to educate others about drag culture and LGBTQ+ issues (Photo: Getty Images)

Ash says he is looking forward to watching the show, and is hoping to apply for the next series - offering something a bit different.

He said: "I love my heavy metal, and I love to implement that into my drag performance.

"Of course I can knock out an S Club 7 or a 5ive song.

"But I also love to bring out something like a Black Sabbath song, or something people don't really know.

"As long as they are having fun with it, I am happy.

"Maria Weaver Rose will be working her hardest to get onto series 2.

"This year for me is about going around a few places, get some more cred, then it will be my time to shine"

After impressing in the early stages, Maria will be competing at Gossip in Hanley in December for a spot in Eurodrag 2020.

But first there's the Halloqueen-Spooktacular in York, and the Queen Bee competition in Leeds.

Ash says it is great to be going out and representing Stoke-on-Trent across the UK, and hopefully the world.

He said: "We have a lot to offer here, especially when it comes to drag.

"Our Pride events have always been glorious.

"Going to my first one in drag was outstanding, I got such a good reception."

You can follow Maria on Instagram, or email mariaweaverdq@gmail.com for booking enquiries.

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