Lawrence Chaney, a self-described “gay class clown,” captured hearts and the crown in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s second season. She was the first Scot to enter the workroom in series two of Drag Race UK, followed by Ellie Diamond.
“You’ve got Ellie with a really cool look, and you’ve got me with a silly look. Ellie and I were your first kind of sniff of the Scottish scene,” he said.
Chaney is proud to represent her home base of Glasgow, which he credits for his sense of humor.
“I think the Glaswegian sense of humor is a good symbol of not taking yourself too seriously,” says Chaney. “And that, hand in hand with drag, works really well. It’s a good duality.”
When Chaney won the crown on the show, she announced her “Purple Reign” had begun after her signature color. On Twitter, Chaney gave the nod to Prince, Madonna, and even some famous Bridesmaids. (see the tweets below)
Lawrence Chaney and Madonna
In an interview with Grazia, Chaney humorously explained her plan for tackling musical challenges on the show.
“Actually, I think you’ll find I’m an amazing singer-songwriter. Madonna has been on the phone: she’s Madame X and I’m Madame XXL.”
However, Chaney initially seemed to struggle.
“I’m gay, I should be able to sing and dance,” he joked. He wrote the lyrics, “Can’t sing or dance, but I’m so witty,” for a musical number.
Over the break caused by the pandemic, Chaney drew inspiration from the Queen of Pop.
“So what I did over the [Covid] break was work towards finding a way of making sure I was bringing me to the musical challenges, knowing that I can’t sing and dance. And when I came back, I tried to think of myself as a blank canvas: ‘If RuPaul wants you to sing this week, be a singer.’ I love Madonna, and she’s always admitted she’s not the best singer, but she made it happen anyway. So I really tried to keep that in mind.”
On Making RuPaul Laugh
Notably, Chaney has also long been a RuPaul fan and was delighted when she greeted him the second day on set with a Scottish accent and drawn out ‘Lawrrrrence Chaneeeey!’ Throughout the show, Chaney loved making RuPaul laugh.
“When you make that man wheeze laugh, you know you’re doing a good thing,” he said of RuPaul.
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Lawrence Chaney: Drag Queen of Scots
At just 24-years-old, the queen from Glasgow, Scotland, has rocketed to fame after performing in drag for six years. Already, Chaney has a No.1 single in the UK called “UK Hun,” which inspired a TikTok dance.
Plus, Chaney announced a new memoir called Lawrence Chaney (Drag) Queen of Scots: The Dos and Don’ts of a Drag Superstar, to be released in September. And, as the winner of the season, she will soon host a WOW Presents show for World of Wonder.
The memoir looks at the little boy learning to sew at age seven as he grows up. Lawrence went from a bullied youth to class clown to finding an outlet as a drag performer at age 17, celebrating “outer curves and inner beauty.”
Appearing on Instagram, Chaney reveals the book cover, saying, “It’s beautiful and purple just like I wanted it.”
“I make you laugh. I make you cry. What else do you want?”
On Choosing Her Drag Name
Lawrence was born Lawrence Maidment and changed his last name to Chaney after the 1920s silent film star “Lon Chaney.”
“He was known as the man of a thousand faces and I’m known as the queen of a thousand faces because I’m good at impersonation, stupid voices, and general buffoonery,” Chaney told Metro.
In Vogue, Lawrence elaborated:
“[Lon Chaney] paints himself to look like a monster in one film and then he’ll be a dame in another film. I loved his ability, like drag, to become another person. It wasn’t just a fake mustache, it was a whole new being.”
More about Lon Chaney via FilmStruck:
Showing What a Big Diva Can Do
As a plus-size performer, Chaney’s ambition is to show what a “big diva can do.” Throughout Drag Race, Chaney learned to be “moldable” and adapt to more than comedy, tackling acting, dancing, singing, and anything thrown at her.
“I want to set a precedent. I really want to show the world what this big diva can do. We can look fierce, wear high fashion too; not every joke needs to be a fat joke,” Chaney said.
“I really want to showcase the inner beauty, and the outer beauty – and not wear leotards with fringe on them.”
On Feeling’ Weird Looking’
When asked why she should be the next drag superstar, Chaney said she wanted to show the world that people who might be considered “weird-looking” could be someone and make a difference.
On the show, Chaney revealed that he was often bullied for his appearance in school. For years, people told him that he “would never be famous, would never succeed.”
“I was told I would stay in Helensburgh forever,” he told Edinburgh News. “I was told ‘you’ll never be like RuPaul’. People just put you down. I’ve been chased in the streets.”
His head of thick unmanageable hair has always been challenging to tame, he says. However, it’s Chaney’s unique personality and appearance that makes him so very endearing.
On Growing Confidence
Early in the show, Chaney was reluctant to show his face out of makeup. In Grazia, he reveals why:
“Because I think it’s hard to come to terms with the fact you’re not an attractive person. In the queer community, we put a lot of stock in our appearance, and I have always thought of myself as quite weird-looking. I thought people were going to say: ‘Who is this person with weird hair and weird eyebrows, and why has he licked a plug socket?’ I’m used to people seeing me in drag because I’ve performed so much in the clubs, but taking off my makeup in front of people was a real departure for me. It was a surreal moment and something I didn’t think I’d struggle with until I got there.”
However, Chaney has certainly become more accustomed to seeing himself on TV and is more confident, ignoring the haters.
“…I get more comfortable with seeing myself on TV every week. Now, I can think to myself, ‘I like that shirt on you’ or ‘OK, the hair doesn’t look quite so mental today.'”
Certainly, part of this performers’ incredible charisma is her vulnerability and authenticity. As viewers, Chaney easily connects with the audience, with a commanding presence. Yet, her often self-deprecating humor shows she doesn’t take herself too seriously. On the other hand, offstage Chaney battles perfectionism and can be his own worst critic.
“I’m like the Loch Ness Monster, a legend,” Chaney proclaimed when he entered the “Werk Room.”
In another funny moment, Chaney called himself the “Susan Boyle of Drag Race UK.”
Like Boyle, Chaney’s natural talent and star power shine through immediately with ease.
Below, watch as Chaney learns she’s won Drag Race.
On Coming Out of Lockdown
Although Chaney has lofty ambitions, she’s also down-to-earth and realistic. For example, her advice for people emerging from Covid lockdown is to set small, attainable goals.
“This is something I did while I was preparing for Drag Race: I set myself small, attainable goals, smaller than you’d probably think. You write them out on your phone. Empty the dishwasher or Clean the place. And then when you tidy the house, you feel better about yourself immediately because you’ve achieved more.”
Somewhere along the way, Chaney put snatching the crown on the to-do list and succeeded.
Now, after struggling financially for months in lockdown, Chaney and Ellie Diamond are ready to show the world what Scottish drag performers can do.
For Chaney, he wants to make the world laugh like RuPaul:
“I just wanted RuPaul to like me and laugh at my jokes,” he said.
“I want to continue to make people laugh, spread my stupid silly jokes, hopefully, make people laugh.”
See some of Lawrence Chaney’s iconic moments via Drag Race World:
Featured images: Screenshots via YouTube/ Drag RaceWorld