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Drag Race UK's River Medway opens up about losing her mum to Covid-19

The star shared a tender moment with fellow queen Ella Vaday in the show's latest episode

2021-10-15

Words: Alastair James; pictures: BBC

Drag Race UK’s River Medway has opened up about losing her mum to Covid-19 before she got the call to be on the show. 

The 23-year-old drag queen from Kent spoke to fellow contestant Ella Vaday as they prepared for this week’s main challenge, performing as part of a girl group.

The queens formed half of Pick ‘n’ Mix, which also starred Vanity Milan and Choriza May. The other contestants – Krystal Versace, Scarlet Harlett, Kitty Scott Claus, and Charity Kase – formed the Slice Girls.

"I didn’t think I could do anything"

River Medway, Vanity Milan, Ella Vaday and Choriza May as Pick 'n' Mix (Photo: BBC)

As the queens got ready in the werkroom, Ella said she loved how personal her band’s lyrics were to each member.

Ella added: "I found yours [River] really touching because it’s about your mum, isn’t it?”

River replied she had to include her after she caught Covid and died nine days after entering the hospital.

Discussing how she dealt with the loss, the star says: "I was just so upset, so depressed. I didn’t think I could do anything. I remember going into her bedroom and just laying on her bed and I was talking to her and I was, like: 'I’m going to make you so proud. I'm going to go on Drag Race one day and I'm going to tell the whole world about you.'"

River Midway, whose real name is Dexter Clift (Photo: BBC)

Sobbing, River continued: "I wish she could see me now."

She added: "I just hope if there’s someone else who’s gone through a similar thing and lost someone, just for them to know you can carry on because when my mum died I thought that was the end of my life.

"I genuinely did not think I would be able to do anything again. I didn’t think I’d be able to get out of bed ever again. I thought that was it, I might as well be dead as well because I could not live without her."

The star then said she has to keep going and that ultimately "life is too short, you have to live every single day like it’s your last."

Power to you River!

Elsewhere in the episode, the two bands wrote their own lyrics to different versions of the song ‘B.D.E. (Big D**k Energy)’, with Pick ‘n’ Mix’s mid-tempo version beating the Slice Girls’ upbeat take.

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