Home > News & Reviews > RuPauls Drag Race UK

A Queen's Queen: Tia Kofi Talks RuPaul's Drag Race UK Vs The World Tour And New Ambitions

Thursday, 18 April 2024 Written by Laura Johnson

Earlier this year, Tia Kofi pulled off a remarkable comeback. The Essex-born drag queen and singer-songwriter, who is based in Clapham, south London, won the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World and was crowned Queen Of The Mothertucking World. It’s a far cry from her last brush with RuPaul’s smash hit show, where she placed seventh on Ru Paul's Drag Race UK in 2021. Back then, she was awarded the tongue-in-cheek but harsh title of ‘Baroness Basic’ in one task.

Not content with personal milestones, though, her victory also marked the first time a person of colour from the UK has won, and the first time any UK version of the Drag Race franchise has offered prize money, with Tia taking home a whopping £50,000. So far it hasn’t changed her, though, and she reveals over a late morning video chat that the only thing she’s splurged on is Uber Eats — just don’t get her started on the delivery charges!

“I think it’s sinking in a little bit more,” she admits. “I didn’t get it immediately, I was like, ‘what’s happening? What’s going on? Oh my goodness, I won Drag Race.’ Who wins Drag Race? Not that many people. There’s only seven people in the UK who can say they are Drag Race winners, and as number seven I feel very fortunate, very lucky. I’m very grateful to Ru for making that decision. I just want to work really hard and make people proud.”

“That was a surprise,” she continues when discussing the prize money. “I literally turned up thinking I was going to make a disco medley of RuPaul songs like Blu Hydrangea [first winner of RuPauls’s Drag Race UK vs The World] did, and I was excited enough about that. And then they said it was prize money, and I was there being like, ‘And also the song with Ru, right?’ I wanted that part! But no, the prize money is very nice and I guess I’ll just be able to make more songs by myself.”

You see, not only did March 29 see Tia take home the crown, it was also the day she released her debut album, ‘Read My Lips’, which at the time of our chat had racked up more than two million streams. Coincidence or master plan? The latter, definitely. “All timed for that final episode,” she says. “Because either way I wanted to have something to celebrate, and fortunately I was able to have many things to celebrate. 

“The album actually made it into the UK Albums Chart, which is mad. It was number four on the Independent Albums Chart, in the top 25 of just all albums. There was literally a point in time when my album was next to Beyoncé’s and I was like, ‘What fresh hell is this?’ I should have got all the Taylor Swift fans on it, and been like, ‘Download my album so Beyoncé doesn’t get number one’. But I didn’t think about that until now, and also Taylor Swift’s fans are scary.”

The record offers a varied tracklist, with some songs leaning into dance and UK garage territory, while others take influence from pop-punk. It’s not surprising considering the first four live shows Tia went to were David Bowie, Blink-182, Bowling For Soup and Spice Girls. She’s also a die-hard fan of the musical SIX and performed one of its numbers, No Way, during her 2022 RuPaul's Drag Race UK tour set in front of one of the show’s writers, Toby Marlow, and Renée Lamb, who originated the role of Catherine Of Aragon.

Tia will be continuing her coronation celebrations during the upcoming RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs The World Tour of the UK, which begins at the O2 Academy Glasgow on April 25 and runs until May 4, when it will conclude at O2 Academy Birmingham. So, what can we expect? 

“If I’m honest, I’ve got three options for what I want to do and I haven’t chosen it yet,” she admits. “So, I don’t know. I’m either going to go for something very different, and emotionally charged, but that is dependent on the technical aspects of things, because I’ve got a whole vision for what I want that to look like, or I might perform lots of my own music, because it’s really fun and I like doing it. I might just tell all the queens not to worry about a set and I’ll perform the whole of SIX the musical by myself playing all six roles.”

Tia’s comedy roast during her latest season was a gut-buster, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t ask if she’d also be tickling audiences’ funny bones on the upcoming tour. “So, I will be hosting at the start and then there might be — I don’t even know if I can mention it, no one’s told me that I can’t say anything about it — a fun game for some of the audience, which I’ll also be hosting partway through the show,” she confirms. So, there will be comedy. Whether that comedy is on purpose or not, you decide!”

Having previously toured the UK with the queens she competed against in RuPaul's Drag Race UK, Tia is familiar with life on the road alongside her series sisters, and is hoping for a similarly lively experience this time round. “I think the season two tour was lots of big personalities, and had its moments of being stressful, and being incredibly fun and really silly,” she says.

One of her abiding memories of the tour involved a middle-of-the-night dash from the bus alongside the late Cherry Valentine. “We stayed up really late having a little glass of wine and a chat,” Tia recalls. “We were talking, just about life and everything, and then the bus stopped and we were like, ‘We’ve made it to Birmingham already?’ We checked the time and everyone else was asleep and it was 3am. We were like, ‘Shall we go out?’

“So we ran off the bus and went into the Birmingham village and enjoyed the last hour of one of the venues being open. The sun was coming up, and I think I posted this video of me and Cherry a little less than sober trying to get on a scooter and falling over. It was very silly, so I’m hoping for lots of those kinds of times.”

Looking ahead, she’s already picked out those from the new series who’ll lead the mayhem. “I think this cast are professional but also quite fun,” she says. “I think if anyone’s going to be leading the silliness it’ll be Hannah [Conda], Choriza [May], Arantxa [Castilla-La Mancha], and probably Jonbers [Blonde].” Despite their tense words during the series’ reunion episode, Jonbers and Tia are friends again. “She even tried to marry me off to her brother at one point,” Tia laughs.

Name checking and elevating other queens is something Tia does often, whether it’s inviting them on her podcast The Final FronTia, as she did with her fellow finalist Hannah, mentioning their charity work in interviews, as she does with RuPaul's Drag Race UK series three contestant Elektra Fence, or writing lyrics about them. “Real queens hold up each other's crowns, Together we'll take them down,” she sings on Read My Lips. With many quick to call drag a cut-throat scene, why is it Tia has gone completely the other way?

“I think everyone’s success in this kind of world, is everyone’s success in this kind of world,” she says. “If Viv [The Vivienne] hadn’t won season one and all of those queens hadn’t been amazing and entertaining on that first season, I wouldn’t have been on season two. If I hadn’t had those interactions that I had with the judges, then I wouldn’t have been asked back to do Vs The World. You know, Viv was in the final of Dancing On Ice, and if Viv hadn’t been on the final of Dancing On Ice, would Blu have been asked to Dancing With The Stars in Ireland? Maybe not. 

“I just see no reason not to talk about and uplift other people, and there are so many queens who because they didn’t get to the end on their season don’t get credit for all the hard work that they do. I’ve mentioned Elektra Fence in previous interviews. She’s literally one of the hardest working and nicest queens that I’ve ever met, and she does amazing work for Scope, she’s running the marathon, she’s been to parliament speaking on things that are really personal to her and her family, and I think that’s incredible. 

“I don’t think people always help uplift other people when they’re doing things like that, and I see absolutely no reason not to. Like, why would me posting about Hannah Conda’s new single suddenly mean that no-one’s listening to my album? If anything, people are gonna go, ‘Oh, that song by Hannah’s really good, but Tia’s got music as well, I should listen to that.’ There’s literally no version of reality where I can see that uplifting other people is detrimental to you .”

Although the chemistry between all the queens from the latest series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World made it one of the best the BBC has had from the franchise, the relationship between Tia and Hannah Conda seems to be one that will outlive their Drag Race press cycle. 

Tia’s deadpan, dry humour complements Hannah’s direct, quirky style, bringing to mind the dynamic drag duo Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova, who went on to find success with their show UNHhhh and podcast The Bald and The Beautiful, not forgetting their two books, the first of which made the New York Times Best Sellers list. “That’s so funny, because I was literally talking about that earlier,” Tia exclaims. “We’ve been saying we’re the Ant and Dec of Drag. The comparisons are there.”

Having already achieved so much in her 33 years, it begs the question, what new goals has Tia been scribbling on her bucket list? Will there be a solo tour to support her new album? After an ominous pause, followed by a clearing of her throat, through tight lips she tells us to “stay tuned to socials.”

With so many strings to her bow aside from music, having hosted the red carpet for last year’s Attitude Awards, appearing on multiple television game shows and now hosting her podcast, can we expect to see Tia on our TV screens in the future, or are her ambitions solely focused on live performance?

“When I was 10 years old, I told my sister that when I grow up I want to be Davina McCall. So I think that’s still the aim if I’m honest,” she chuckles. “I was obsessed. I really wanted to present Big Brother because I thought it was so fascinating that she got to be involved with this show that I loved so much, and talk to all these people and do the interviews. I was like, ‘I wanna talk to them and find stuff out about their experiences.’ That’s me at my big age of 10, having that profound life experience. I think it’s probably my adult brain reflecting on what I thought and felt aged 10, rather than me at 10 being like, ‘Ah, I understand the sociological impact of this television programme’. Definitely not. I was like, ‘this is cool, I want to be that lady.’”

“I feel comfortable and at home doing shows like that. I feel it’s nice to chat to people, engage, and communicate with people through the lens of entertainment. It’s what I’ve always enjoyed. A happy place for me is to watch the YouTube compilations of the Graham Norton show, or even watching Eurovision and stuff like that has always been a real happy place for me, and something I’ve been obsessed with. I want to do the commentary for Eurovision, that’s what I want to do. Move over Rylan!”

‘Read My Lips’ is out now through Intention Records.

Tickets for the RuPaul’s Drag Race UK vs The World Tour are on sale now.

RuPaul's Drag Race UK Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu April 25 2024 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Fri April 26 2024 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 City Hall
Sat April 27 2024 - MANCHESTER O2 Victoria Warehouse
Sun April 28 2024 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Mon April 29 2024 - EDINBURGH O2 Academy Edinburgh
Wed May 01 2024 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Thu May 02 2024 - LONDON O2 Forum
Fri May 03 2024 - BOURNEMOUTH O2 Academy Bournemouth
Sat May 04 2024 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham

Compare & Buy RuPauls Drag Race UK Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

Tue 20 Feb 2024
RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs The World Tour To Travel Across UK This Spring
< Prev   Next >