Lawrence Chaney felt winning a Scottish BAFTA was “such a two fingers up to anyone who has ever doubted me”.
The 25-year old from Helensburgh has had an incredible year.
They won the second series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, flew in a plane for the first time to Los Angeles to make a new podcast show for 2022 and last month beat the likes of David Tennant and Martin Compston to win the audience award at the Scottish BAFTAs.
Currently on tour and announced this week as the face of Irn-Bru’s Christmas, Scotland’s best known drag queen is a national treasure. But it wasn’t always like this.
Bullied at school they were also targeted by internet trolls when Drag Race made them a star. Even arriving at BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay building last month they felt people thought they were just part of the entertainment and something to look at.
Lawrence, who likes to use the they/them pronouns, explained: “I did feel some people thought I was a
“It does happen people just think we are there as a box ticking prop.
“They don’t know your name. They don’t know your identity. Winning was such a two fingers up to anyone who has ever doubted me. It was also such a great testament to what drag can be.”
Lawrence revealed their mum Phyllis, who went with them to the ceremony was convinced they’d never win against such big stars.
The purple-loving drag queen laughed: “She didn’t think I was going to win so I didn’t prepare a speech.
She was like ‘you’re not going to win Lawrence, you’re up against David Tennant, Martin Compston and Kelly Macdonald’, these huge, well known Scots. She wasn’t being mean just realistic and didn’t want to gas me up.
“So we were both stunned when I won. She had a wee cry. It’s such a great landmark moment for drag. A queen beat some of the best actors and talent in Scotland.
“RuPaul doesn’t have a BAFTA and he’s the most amazing, famous drag queen in the world so I appreciate I’m a lucky, lucky besom. I pinch myself every day.”
Lawrence doesn’t think they’re more popular than the actors they beat but appreciates the love from Drag Race fans who came together to vote and got behind the Scot.
Lawrence was crowned the UK’s second Drag Race winner in March and it’s only now they’ve been able to meet their fans on tour, stopping off in Glasgow tonight.
After winning Drag Race, Lawrence published their first book, Drag Queen of Scots in September and the next month flew in a plane for the first time to Los Angeles to create a podcast with Drag Race makers World of Wonder.
They said of her first trip in a plane: “I was worried about it shaking about and them making me fly in a plane with propellers. But it was great.”
Lawrence can’t say anything about the podcast which will give them a worldwide profile.
But added: “It’s going to explore the culture shock of someone from Helensburgh in Scotland travelling all the way across the world to Hollywood. It’s fabulous and silly and just what we need in these crazy times.”
Since Lawrence returned they’ve been preparing and then going around the UK on tour meeting the fans who they couldn’t meet after winning Drag Race during the pandemic.
Glasgow tonight will be a big one. It was the city that made Lawrence Chaney. They said: “I’m such a tribute to Glasgow. If you can make Glaswegians laugh you can make anyone laugh because they are funny, funny people.”
As well as the tour which also stops off in Edinburgh tomorrow, Dundee on Friday and Inverness and Falkirk next week, Lawrence has also made it to BBC One primetime.
They are one of the contestants on December 30’s The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity New Year Special alongside Kirsty Wark, Steps’ Claire Richards and comedian Rose Matafeo. And this week they became the face of Irn-Bru’s Christmas this year. They are Fairy Godmaw and will be granting Christmas wishes.
Scots are invited to send in their Christmas wishes to Irn-Bru on Twitter, Instagram or TikTok and Lawrence will send some festive packs of Scotland’s other national drink with some of the deliveries being given some extra magic. It’s a great fit.
Who can forget Lawrence’s outfit in Drag Race in the Irn-Bru colours of orange and grey. But they admitted it wasn’t designed as a homage to their favourite drink.
Lawrence said: “I didn’t notice. I just liked the colour combination. It was Michelle Visage who noticed and said I had been inspired by Irn-Bru.
“She also clocked me before me, a Scot, that it was the Irn-Bru colours. But being Irn-Bru’s Fairy Godmaw feels very natural. It’s my favourite soda and we always have it at the dinner table at Christmas.”
After so many of their dreams came true in 2021, Lawrence is up for helping other people. They said: “I just want to take the slightest bit of pressure of someone, make someone laugh and for a moment make someone’s life a little bit easier.”
While they are hoping to make some people’s Christmas that bit more magical they can’t wait to be with their parents and sister. Lawrence added: “It will be a lovely way to end such an amazing year for me.”
● Check out Lawrence’s Fairy Godmaw’s magical antics on Twitter at @IrnBru, Facebook at facebook.com/irnbru, TikTok at @irnbruofficial and Instagram at @IrnBru.