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“It’s a lot to handle, but I am ready to handle it,” Paloma confidently says of her newfound responsibilities as the first-ever crowned queen of Drag Race France. “I feel like I have to represent my community, which is not really represented in France. When I was younger, I had no models, no representation and I feel like I am becoming that representation for a new generation.”

On the grand finale of the French spin-off, the three finalists – Paloma, La Grande Dame and Soa de Muse – delivered a fierce performance of RuPaul’s track Catwalk and competed in a final lip-sync smackdown to Dalida’s Mourir sur scène. Although Paloma almost didn’t apply for the show, she ultimately defeated her opponents and made herstory as France’s First Drag Superstar; joining an elite line-up of inaugural champions such as Bebe Zahara Benet, Natalia Pliacam, The Vivienne, Priyanka and Envy Peru.

Viewers came out in droves to celebrate her victory on social media, while declaring the debut season as one of the franchise’s “best” due to the lack of conflict between the contestants and its emphasis on the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent of French drag. “It’s one of the most kind seasons for a long time,” says Paloma. “There’s no drama, there’s a sorority. The French version is proof that you don’t need drama to put on a good show.”

Here, Paloma speaks with GAY TIMES about her “overwhelming” experience on Drag Race France, how her inner saboteur almost hindered her performance in the competition and why her triumph is a “revenge on life”.

Paloma, massive condragulations on winning the first-ever season of Drag Race France. How does it feel to be part of herstory?

It’s music to my ears! I have no words to describe it. It’s very fresh, but I’m grateful to be the chosen one.

Have you had a chance to celebrate yet?

Yes, last night was fun – champagne everywhere! It was crazy. We’re not used in France to this kind of event, viewing parties are a new thing for Paris and in France in general. It was like a Lady Gaga concert.

There’s going to be many viewing parties in the future with, hopefully, a second season of Drag Race France…

Yes, let me enjoy my reign before we talk about season two please!

What does winning this title, France’s First Drag Superstar, personally mean to you?

Personally, it’s a revenge on life because I was used to losing. Besides that, I feel like I have to represent for my community, which is not really represented in France. We don’t have a lot of queer people in media and on TV, which is a shame because France is a very progressive country, but people are not very talkative about queerness. When I was younger, I had no models, no representation and I feel like I am becoming that representation for a new generation. Wow.

Absolutely, so many French viewers are going to see your run on the series and be inspired to live their lives more authentically, or even start drag! How does that make you feel?

It’s a lot to handle but I am ready to handle it. It’s very special for me. I receive a lot of messages from families – not only queer people or young people, but straight families with children saying, ‘We’re watching with our kid and France is ready.’ It’s quite a progress!

Was your Drag Race experience everything you thought it would be?

Yes and no! I’m not going to lie, I was here for the long run and I wanted to be there until the end. The cast is very strong and I think the most important thing for me is not the win, but the sorority we were able to create. Without them, it would’ve been very different. The love we have for each other is beyond. That’s the best part. It’s not just for TV, it’s real.

There’s a lot of ups and downs that come with Drag Race, such as winning challenges and lip-syncing for your life. What was the most challenging aspect of the experience for you?

I think you know it… The dance part! It was so cringe for me. As I said, I’m a freestyler. I’m not a choreographed, dancing queen! I don’t think the ‘Next Drag Superstar’ needs to be a dancer.

Well look at Alaska!

Yes, exactly. But it was a challenge for me, and I love a good challenge. The hardest part is maybe your inner saboteur, it was there all the time.

On the other hand, what was the best part of the experience? Other than meeting your season one sisters, of course.

To be able to rise to my own expectations. I also didn’t expect to be relatable. I was very secure with Paloma, but I was very insecure with Hugo. The most challenging part was to be Hugo.

Do you feel like Paloma and Hugo are now more intertwined?

Yes, in a way. Sometimes it’s very strange to see yourself on TV without wigs and makeup and speaking about your mother, stuff like that. It’s a gift to myself and the world.

Social media can be a bit… crazy, particularly when it comes to Drag Race. How are you balancing this new aspect of your fame?

For me, it was quite easy. Not easy, but I had a good run on social media. I know it’s not the same for everybody, Drag Race fans can be very wild. They can be at war on social media, but I have received so much love. I don’t think I’ve received one hate message, just love love love.

I typed “Paloma” into Twitter after your win and the reaction is incredibly positive.

There is another Paloma on Big Brother and she’s taken a lot of space on Twitter too, so maybe it’s for her!

It was definitely you! (I think.) Did you ever expect to have such a passionate following?

No! Absolutely not. I was not expecting it because all my life I was the black swan. Wait, the black sheep, not the black swan! It’s overwhelming, because you are judged for your work and your identity, too. To be loved as Hugo as much as Paloma is quite weird for me.

During the finale, you admitted that you almost didn’t sign up to Drag Race because you didn’t think you would be chosen. So, what advice would you give to other drag entertainers out there who don’t think they’re worthy?

Don’t compare yourself to others, because all drag is valid and unique. Your drag could be the future of drag. If you want to get onto the show, be yourself and don’t let your inner saboteur… That’s the biggest challenge on the show, you can be successful at every challenge but your inner saboteur could be telling you that you’re doing badly.

This has been an insane season of Drag Race. How do you think the series has revolutionised drag in France?

French drag or drag in general?! It’s one of the most kind seasons for a long time. There’s no drama, there’s a sorority. The French version is proof that you don’t need drama to put on a good show. Sometimes, other versions rely on drama to spice the season up. Charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent is all you need, not drama.

And that’s exactly what we need right now, more queer joy!

Yes! In France there’s no representation for queer people, so we need good representation, positive representation.

Drag Race France is available to watch exclusively in the UK on the streamer of all things drag, WOW Presents Plus. Subscribe via