Ten years ago, when Bianca Del Rio was crowned the winner of Season 6 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” it was a different time: The reality competition aired on Logo, not MTV. It was a single franchise, not an extended universe of shows from countries around the world. And there was no such thing as a drag queen who’d never set foot in a drag bar.
Of the current state, Del Rio says, “I don’t want to use the word ‘oversaturation,’ but there’s just a lot of drag.”
In Sunday Funday, L.A. people give us a play-by-play of their ideal Sunday around town. Find ideas and inspiration on where to go, what to eat and how to enjoy life on the weekends.
Season 16 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” premiered this month, and while Del Rio’s reign may be over, she still looms large in the fandom. For many years, she was the only winner to have never been up for elimination in her season, and she still appears from time to time as a guest on the show. Last year, she also hosted “The Pit Stop,” an official Drag Race recap series on YouTube.
Up next for the booked and busy multihyphenate performer: “Dead Inside,” her new stand-up show — her sixth global tour since competing on “Drag Race.” She’s doing 60 dates across North America, starting in San Diego on Feb. 12 and coming to Los Angeles at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on April 21. After a short break, she’ll be hitting the United Kingdom, Asia and Australia.
Who should get tickets to “Dead Inside”? “Anybody that’s got an open mind and ready to cackle at a man in a wig. This is the show for you,” she said.
Del Rio relocated from West Hollywood to Palm Springs during the pandemic but is still in town regularly to catch up with friends and make drag supply runs. (In a world full of “Drag Race”-adjacent fashion designers and makeup artists, Del Rio is still DIYing it. “I can’t imagine doing drag without creating the clothes or doing the makeup or creating the wigs,” she said. “For me, that’s just kind of my full package.”)
Here’s how she would spend her ideal Sunday in L.A.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.
6 a.m.: Wake up at the Kimpton Everly Hotel in Hollywood
I stay at the Kimpton Everly Hotel, which has been one of my favorite places because it’s pretty central. I’m up early. So 6 a.m., I’m up. And then about 6:05 I realize where I am. I like to wake up early and enjoy my hotel amenities. If you’re at the Kimpton you can always go sit by the pool, which is lovely.
6:15 a.m.: Go for a caffeine kick
I always usually start my day by running over to Starbucks. I often say I’m not going to have coffee. I have this love affair with coffee. Three shots of espresso over ice with a splash of oat milk, which is the best way to get you going. But I tell myself too many of those are pretty bad for you. So I’m thinking, I will do the green tea lemonade, which is somewhat enjoyable, no sweetener, and it’s lovely. It doesn’t give you the kick that you would get with the coffee. Then I end up getting the coffee. So yes, I quickly regret it, because I’m bouncing around town.
8:30 a.m.: Embark on a drag shopping spree
When I come into L.A., it’s usually more than one day. I have to make it worth my while. So my Sunday Funday will start on Friday or Saturday.
I have to hit all the fabric stores because I’m not lucky enough to have all of those supplies out here in Palm Springs. I will visit a fabulous place called International Silk and Woolens. They’ve got every piece of fabric you can imagine. The sad thing is you probably can’t reorder it, because it was from 1928. Another place that I visit is called Richard the Thread, which is all corset supplies. Everything from hooks and eyes and snaps and boning and anything you need to pull in all of your manliness and your man body to look like, as I call myself, an erotic clown.
Then I go down to Santee Alley, which is a drag queen’s dream. They’ve got everything that you need from makeup to heels, which is great, because you have to find the shoes that are a size 12. You need to pick up some lashes and stomp into this amazing place called Blue Moon Fabrics, which has another huge array of sequined fabrics that you can order in bulk. And there’s also the Bead Factory, where you pick up your loose rhinestones to make everything sparkly. So my trunk is highly full.
11 a.m.: Go for oysters at Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market is one of my favorite places to go. I like it because there’s options; I’m not married to having a specific place that I want to go to. Then I have to figure out what I can eat while I’m there. You think to yourself, “I can have whatever I want. I’m 48 years old. This is good.” Now my body goes, “No, you can’t.”
Let’s say today, the Oyster Gourmet, because I do enjoy raw oysters. I’m from New Orleans and that’s just the thing there. And you can’t eat raw oysters in Palm Springs. You shouldn’t. I wouldn’t recommend it.
You can tell who your friends are when you say, “I like oysters.” They’re either completely grossed out by it or they go, “Yes, let’s get a dozen to share.” No, no, no, this is bad. Sharing is my worst nightmare. Not “for the table” — the worst words ever. Not my thing at all. I like a dozen for myself.
1 p.m.: Visit MOCA and make a makeup stop
We’re wandering through the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is always great. Then usually a Sephora is quite important. I’m heading there to purchase the drag things that I need. The one thing that has existed since I started drag in 1996 is the Mac Ruby Woo red lipstick. It’s the best. It’s the bluest red. So I scoop that up, usually in bulk. I have to buy all that I can buy while I’m there. Also my NYX white eyeliner and my NYX black eyeliner, I have to buy in bulk, because apparently, there are no real women using this in Palm Springs.
2:30 p.m.: Meet up with drag friends in West Hollywood
Around 2:30 I will head to West Hollywood to meet up with two of my good friends and “Drag Race” alumni. Mariah Balenciaga is a friend of mine. And you’re wondering, wait, did you make plans with Mariah? No. I show up, because Mariah is always at Micky’s, the big gay bar down on the strip. She will always be there in the courtyard, sunglasses, hair in a ponytail, ready to greet me. And once I’m there, we call to see who else is around. Adore Delano will come visit me, who was from my season as well. And that’s where we kind of do the catch-up.
I try to be a lavish lady on the go so I order white wine. Because I know one white wine, I’m good. I can’t go any further than that. After that one glass of wine, everyone decides to make dinner plans. You know, that’s a whole thing. Everybody’s like, “Yeah, let’s go to dinner!” Then no one shows up.
5 p.m.: Grab an early dinner at Ootoro in Little Tokyo
I have to head to dinner because I need to get back to Palm Springs. I grab sushi at Ootoro in Little Tokyo. I love tempura, first of all, so tempura is my main goal here. And I do love anything with salmon. And I’m the queen of getting a California roll. A miso soup is definitely on my list as per usual. It’s a thing when you’re ordering sushi, you’re thinking, is it going to be enough? Is it not going to be enough? You’re always questioning how much to get so you always order far too much.
I just devour all of that. Then I’m rethinking my life because I’m realizing I just bought corset supplies, and I’m definitely going to need it after all of this rice intake.
7 p.m.: Drive back to Palm Springs
As I’m full of rice, in this moment, I realize I’ve got to get myself back. My phone is saying it’ll take 90 minutes. My phone is a liar. But I do prepare myself for that. You make sure you have your water, you plug in your phone, you get comfortable and you realize this journey could take literally 90 minutes if you’re lucky, or six days. Pack your perishables.
The drive is lengthy, but it’s one of the few times that I’m alone. It’s one of the few times where I’m not allowed to text. I’m not allowed to try to figure out anything, I just have my music and go. It reminds me of when I was much younger and I had a cassette Walkman. It was freeing. You kind of just go into the zone.
9:30 p.m.: Soak in the tub
I get into my tub, I relax, I think about the fun that I had, maybe have another glass of wine. There’s a good bath salt that I love that I have been using, Aveda Stress Fix Soaking Salts. I love a clay mask, which is another important thing to do when you’re a drag queen. And I just sit in that tub for as long as I can until I’m weathered and wrinkled. It’s the best thing in the world.
10:30: Fall asleep during the signature bake
I try to commit myself to watching something on television, maybe “The Great British Baking Show.” I fall asleep within the first 10 minutes. And then I’m out for the count. You’re fighting that sleep and it’s over. Then I have to watch the whole episode again on Monday.