Drag queen Léona Winter in the running for the TV competition “Drag Race”

Drag queen Léona Winter in the running for the TV competition “Drag Race”
Drag queen Léona Winter in the running for the TV competition “Drag Race”

the essential
Léona Winter, whose real name is Rémi Solé, is a renowned artist in the world of drag queens. Based in Narbonne, she is a candidate for “Drag Race 3”, a competition organized by France 2 which will be broadcast from May 31.

Léona Winter is a French drag queen from Céret, in the Pyrénées-Orientales. She now lives in Narbonne and, at 29, she already has quite an artistic career. She is notably the winner of the Chilean show “The Switch Drag Race” in 2018 and the first drag queen to have participated in the competition “The Voice” until the semi-final on TF1 in 2019. In 2021, her character and her baritone-countertenor voice caused havoc in “Queen of the Universe”, an international drag-queen singing competition. Léona Winter’s track record is far from exhaustive. Now, the queen is returning to competition by participating in the “Drag Race 3” competition broadcast from May 31 by France 2.

Every Friday

The Drag Race France competition is an adaptation of the American television show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (RuPaul being one of the most famous drag queens in the world). The competing drag queens are subject to challenges in all areas: singing, fashion, humor, etc. The challenge allows you to select the queen of French drag who will notably win a crown as well as a scepter in the national colors decorated with more than 5,000 crystals and pearls for a value of €40,000. Season 3 of “Drag Race” will be broadcast from Friday May 31, first on france.tv at 7 p.m., then every Friday at 10:55 p.m. on France 2.

Léona Winter, you already have a rich career and you are an accomplished artist. Why participate in a new television competition?

It’s true that I had the chance to participate in numerous competitions and international shows where I was well placed. I started drag at a young age and everything went very quickly, perhaps thanks to my specialty in singing and because I speak Spanish fluently. I appreciate this chance of being able to make a living from my art and my passion, even if I worked very hard for it. But “Drag Race” is a different competition: singing is not a mandatory condition, we will rather look for the essence of drag as such. And I still have things to prove! As an artist, you never stop learning and evolving. There is no limit to creation and it is my spiritual food. I also want to rediscover myself: people often see me as the beautiful and kind diva, but I want to prove that I can be another Léona.

TV shows like “Drag Race” are a springboard for artists. Do they also contribute to changing opinions about drag queens and the LGBT community?

It was high time that a competition like Drag Race was broadcast on TV, and on France 2, which is a public channel, it’s even more wonderful! Beyond being a complete art, drag becomes a social subject that makes you think, especially for those who have not had the chance to be educated about this artistic form and the struggles we wage.

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What are these battles that you are fighting?

Every drag queen has a fight close to their heart. But the most beautiful thing is being able to be who you want and who you are, without makeup. It’s funny to say that for a drag queen! But being able to exist with your own colors without worrying about what people will say is the most beautiful struggle. Being yourself is the basis of our entire existence. And this message is for everyone, not just the LGBT community. My own mother told me that seeing me on stage freed her from the pressure her parents put on her when she was a child.

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However, it must not have been easy to reveal yourself as a drag queen…

I was born in Céret and grew up in Arles-sur-Tech, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, and it wasn’t easy every day. I suffered quite a lot of bullying at school and the most difficult thing was dealing with the attacks and the mockery. But I was lucky to be surrounded by my family and I fought with my weapons: to be good at studies and to amaze with artistic activity. The turning point came during a party in Spain when I went on stage. I was 18 and the women had to dress up as men while the men dressed up as women. I understood that people could look at me with stars in their eyes and not like the ugly duckling. Becoming Léona, an entity with whom I could be myself, was liberating.

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