How did one tiny drag queen unite the internet? Ciara McAlinden explores how Bimini Bon Boulash stole everyone’s hearts and changed the face of mainstream television.
In these bleak times coloured by separation, constant napping and endless assignments, it came as quite a relief to hear that RuPaul’s Drag Race UK would be on our screens once more. As a Scot, the introduction of Ellie Diamond and reigning champion Lawrence Chaney on national TV made me incredibly happy, and I was certain that my allegiance would lie with them as the show progressed – but alas, I have crossed ranks since the season began, and I have fallen deeply in love with an English queen. East London’s Bimini Bon Boulash has gotten tens across the board from viewers all around the country, myself included. There’s no shortage of talent in this season’s beautiful line-up; an overflow of stunning looks and effortless humour have graced our screens, not to mention the lovable friendships that we’ve been able to watch blossom. So why, amongst this explosion of entertainment fuel, have we all latched onto Bimini?
Well for starters, she’s fucking hilarious – not a joke, just a fact. Bimini’s conversations with other queens, their performances in the main challenges, and their talking-heads moments all have such a laidback smoothness that just oozes humour and kindness. They claimed at the beginning of the season that they wanted to show that a queen can succeed on Drag Race, and have a full career in drag, without being a bitch, and they truly have proven that it can be done. Bimini hasn’t been branded as the Nina West-type bundle of joy of the season, but they exude such genuine kindness in all aspects of the show.
I don’t think I’m alone in my weekly audible gasp when Bimini walks out onto the runway either. Taking inspiration from Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Iris Van Herpen, Pamela Anderson, and, of course, Jordan, Bimini thrived both in-challenge and on the runway and has since moved on to walk in fashion week runways and model for various reputable magazines. Stunning looks aren’t the sole basis of what made us all love Bimini, however; a major element of (at least my) attraction to Bimini is their matter-of-fact humour and conversation surrounding politics and social matters, especially on the topic of gender.
Though they’ve been killing it since the start, Bimini began to gain more screen-time after a conversation with another favourite queen of mine: Ginny Lemon. Ginny spoke very openly about their struggle with finding a gender identity that they felt at home with, and how their life changed when they discovered a whole community of non-binary and gender non-conforming people. Ginny and Bimini had the first positive open discussion about the gender binary that I’ve ever seen on a mainstream channel (a welcome refreshment from Good Morning Gammons battering on about how folk can identify as penguins these days). From that point on, Bimini hasn’t shied away from discussing her own gender identity and the politics surrounding the trans community, and they show no signs of stopping – their Twitter is filled with brief messages calling for the protection of the trans and non-binary community, and I’m sure everyone’s seen their countless “DISMANTLE THE PATRIARCHY” posts on social media. They have such a tasteful approach to discussing serious issues – not a moment of insensitivity crossed their discussions the whole season, and my God, it was refreshing.
Although Bimini didn’t win the season, they’ve certainly left a mark on the viewers of Drag Race, and on drag itself. Bimini’s undeniable intelligence, beauty, and charisma have left me dying to see more of them – hopefully, this coronavirus shit goes away soon so I can see their live show ASAP.