Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t seen the first episode of Camp Wannakiki season 3 turn back now. To watch it, head here. Then come back and read more about your hometown queen, Bulimianne Rhapsody.
Content warning: This post discusses sexual assault
Attention, campers! Summer camp just got a whole lot raunchier–in the best way! Austin’s very own Bulimianne Rhapsody made her TV-debut on the third season of drag reality competition Camp Wannakiki on June 24.
Camp Wannakiki is a whole lot like RuPaul’s Drag Race and Dragula, but think campier. For those who didn’t watch the 2019 Met Gala, camp, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “a style or mode of personal or creative expression that is absurdly exaggerated and often fuses elements of high and popular culture.” Tl;dr: Camp is over the top, and for those that haven’t had the opportunity to see Bulimianne perform, she fits the definition to a T.
The show’s creators, duo Apple Brown Betty and Cherry Pi (known jointly as the Sugarbaker Twins), brought ten contestants to a Wisconsin summer camp to crown the third Queen (or King) of Camp. Bulimianne’s intro look is one that very few people could pull off, sporting a houndstooth jacket over her camp t-shirt with a polka dot skirt. The first episode lived up to the quintessential summer camp: icebreakers, kickball, and talent show splitting the group into red and blue teams. Not surprisingly, our ATX queen on team blue took the first W! From auditions to filming during a pandemic, the road to Camp was a short, but interesting journey for Bulmianne.
It all started at Elysium, Bulimianne’s home bar-away-from-home, at Austin’s International Drag Fest in 2019. Cue a performance to Robin’s Dancing On My Own, but with a small Mexican parodical twist: sub “dancing” for “churros”. Following the performance, the surprise guest in the audience, the Sugarbakers, encouraged Bulimianne to drop in for open auditions the following day.
So, naturally she brought churros.
“I just walked in with a ‘here’s the churros’ that I promised,” Bulimianne said. Though she was late because she took too long getting ready (drag-queen time), she stuck it out, waited for an unnecessary classic selfie opportunity, and persuaded an audition. With a video submission later in the process, she secured her spot on the cast.
Pastries or not, after 15 years of drag, the world is finally getting to get a taste of the psychedelic, campy (literally!), mustached queen that Bulimianne brings to her entertainment. As an intro to her drag, she explained “my dad’s Mexican-American, my mom is a ginger, so I’m one spicy broad.”
Around town she’s known for being more than just spicy. Bulimianne is the notorious director and producer of the award-winning troupe, PooPoo Platter, which ultimately gave birth to the alternative Red River drag scene.
Part of that PooPoo cast is Bulimianne’s husband and drag wife, Louisianna Purchase. Her femme-fatale partner, no stranger to reality TV, placed in the top four of season three on The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula. Though Bulimanne’s got a little insight on what it was like, she said their stories aren’t the same. Regardless, as we watch her story unfold during this season on Camp Wannakiki, Austin is graced with a bit of drag reality royalty.
With the show being filmed during September of COVID-19, there were obviously some logistical precautions. No contestant could take public transportation, so Bulimianne took to the road to make the the longest trek of any contestant to the Midwest summer camp. Though it was a pandemic, there was a normalcy that the show provided to her. The intro of the first episode flashed a quick message to let viewers know that “all cast and crew were tested for COVID-19 and self-quarantined before filming began” to ensure everyone’s safety.
“It felt good being around people and not having to worry about wearing masks and social distancing because we were all tested,” Bulimianne said.
Closing out each episode, a disclaimer is quickly shown to let viewers know that after announcing the cast and filming, a contestant’s appearance was reduced during editing, while not diminishing the work of the other contestants. Ultimately, it was brought to the show’s “attention that a camper had been accused of assault in college and found in violation of the university’s sexual misconduct policy.”
The last two seasons of the show have taken a fork in the road from it’s sister programs like Drag Race and Dragula, and have proven to be arguably dramaless. But in an age where we are starting to hold people responsible for their actions, it’s important to note that this was a necessary step to keep this and future season’s integrity and mission true.
“It made me question why I’m doing this? Did I make the right decision? Do I want to keep doing this?” Bulimianne pondered. “And there are still questions I have right now, and if I make a decision moving forward, there are repercussions on it from here on out.”
Though sexual assault is rampant and a growing discussing, the show chooses to represent and highlight the nine other drag performers this season. The show closed with resources for anyone that is a victim of sexual assault urging them to reach out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673).
To continue to follow the progress of Bulimianne and the other contestants, catch each episode three-days early by heading to Iron Bear every Monday 8 PM hosted by Bulimianne herself. For those who can’t swing Mondays, they can stream new episodes every Thursday, at youtube.com/c/CampWannakiki.
For a more in-depth look at Bulimianne, follow her at @bulimiannerhapsody. You can expect a digital video performance of her looks every week for the rest of the season.