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'I'm obsessed with Stan's 'RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under'. I asked the winner my burning questions.'

She's a winner baby – can I get an amen?

RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under season three has culminated in a fabulous win for Isis Avis Loren.

With 10 years in the drag scene, Isis from showed the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent necessary from the get-go in the competition to be crowned Down Under's best drag queen.

Now basking in her win and on tour, Isis tells Mamamia she feels "amazing and it's very cathartic".

A look back at the trailer for season three of RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under. Post continues below.

Video via Stan.

Throughout the season, Isis was a favourite to win. 

But what I wanted to know was if there was a time during filming – a lightbulb moment to be exact – where she backed herself and realised, 'I've got a really good chance of taking home the crown.'

"When I won the talent section, or Drag Bunch as it was referred to, I felt elated and that was probably the moment I felt I could win," says Isis. "There were some strong contenders, and so to tell my story and be able to win the challenge based on that was a pinch-me feeling."

For context, as part of her talent, Isis performed a lip-sync dance for the judges that reflected her experience of struggling with mental health and how she managed to break free.


Often drag talent shows are tongue-in-cheek, a bit raunchy and absolutely freaking hilarious. Seriously, they're iconic. One of the queens did a sexy yet informative tutorial on how to give CPR. Another performed an original song while channeling all the Naomi Campbell supermodel energy necessary. 

But Isis did something different. Something deeper.

Being so vulnerable about her story was daunting, says Isis, but something she knew she had to do.

"Mental health is really important to me. For the queer community, most of us go through a lot in our lives. To give people a space to connect and feel hope – that was so important," she explains.

"It was heartwarming to know that my story translated to the judges, especially RuPaul, and they saw it in its full glory."

It was the bonds made with her fellow queens in the cast that most surprised Isis, she shares.

"It was really beautiful. As Australian queens, we lean on each other a great deal, and we're a super close-knit community, perhaps compared with other franchises," she tells Mamamia. "The support we gave one another, and the support we received from the crew was incredible."

And of course, I was keen to know which queens in particular she had bonded with.

"It was wonderful to get to know the girls. I knew of Gabriella Labucci [the season's runner up] before the show and we got to know each other really well. FLOR and I had a lovely time together. And it was wonderful to get to know Bumpa Love outside of work almost."


Beyond the glitter, long nails, painted faces, perfectly sculpted wigs and sparkling outfits though, there's a mountain of work. And as a superfan, I'm ashamed to say I didn't realise just how intense it actually is for the queens.

"We're on stage for about 15 minutes to an hour on the show, but it takes hours of rehearsal, hours of preparation, hours of getting ready," Isis notes. "Drag Race can be quite a pressure cooker."

As soon as Isis received the call to confirm she would be featuring in this season's cast, she went straight to work.

There was vocal practice, refining her sewing skills, learning dance choreography moves in case called upon to lip sync. On the show, the queens' makeup looks as though it took them hours to complete. And off the show, many of them do take their time getting ready, maybe enjoying a sneaky beverage while doing it or listening to some music simultaneously.

But to hear how short a turnaround the queens have to be stage-ready shocked me.

"Some days we had an hour and a half. At least for the makeover challenge where we had to not only do our own faces but paint a guest's face as well – we were given around three hours. Getting into full drag is a mission in itself. But they don't call it Drag Race for nothing!"


For Isis, there was one moment in particular during filming that was the hardest.

It was during a recording session with Michelle Visage, where the queens had to record their vocals as part of a song they needed to perform on the main stage that week.

Isis was having trouble with her voice, and her confidence had started to plummet. It was hard to watch. 

"Michelle was saying to me: 'What are you doing?' like 'Why can't you hit the mark?' That really got me down. I kind of spiralled in that challenge. But I went for a breather, recalibrated and that helped a lot. It was pivotal I had those coping mechanisms in place to get through that very dark moment."

Although there were tough times, overall Isis said it's an experience she will cherish for a very long time.


"One of my favourite moments other than winning was when we had to do the runway wearing a fuchsia outfit of some sort. As we went into the critiques on the main stage, Ru asked me: 'Who made your outfit?' I said I did. She replied: 'You f**king b***h.'"

If someone called me a "f**king b***h", I'd probably feel a little miffed. 

Maybe even hurl an insult or two back.

But when the RuPaul, the mother of drag, calls you a f**king b***h in this context – it's the highest form of praise you can get. 

"It was a huge compliment," says Isis. "As a couturier and someone who has been sewing for 15 years or more, I've honed those skills and to get that acknowledged was amazing. Especially from the queen of drag."

Isis is officially Australia's first winner of Drag Race – from the Down Under version or any of the additional franchises. But it's also a personal win for Isis, and recognition for the wider drag community, cementing the excellence that is Aussie drag.

"I've been working in this industry for 10 years, five of those working professionally. To see drag growing in Australia is so heartwarming.

"What I hope the audience has really taken away from Down Under is that it's very caring and very loving. We're full of love, laughter and here for a good time. That's the power of drag – it's not discriminatory, it's all about love."

You can watch the full season of RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under on Stan now

Feature Image: Stan.

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