Our favourite queens tell us about the impact of Drag Race Down Under, their challenging year, 2024s new TV show, and the secret to their enduring friendship.

There’s a lot of opinions, and I totally can understand why,” Kita Mean tells us as we broach the subject of a controversial op-ed published on, where an anonymous Kiwi drag queen listed why Drag Race Down Under should move its production to Australia.

Often these opinions are coming from people who dont fully understand the nuances around everything involved in making RuPauls Drag Race. It takes whopping budgets to get certain key players that make the show in NZ. It’s very easy for people to be like, Its shit. It would be better here,but ultimately, being real, there’s just not enough money being thrown at it,” the winner of Down Under Season One (DUSO) explains, while making it clear she will always remain a diehard Drag Race fan.


Anita Wiglit, who not only joined the cast of DUSO but also Drag Races Canada Vs The World, agrees that the budgets and the size of the studio are detrimental to Drag Race Down Under. From a performer’s point of view, I don’t think it necessarily needs to move to Australia, but having a larger studio and more camera people would help, so that there’s no breaks in between,” she tells us, explaining that after she learned that she was being eliminated from Season One, she had to wait an hour for cameras to be reset before they could record her reaction to being eliminated!

Even though they were already successful in their own right – owning Caluzzi restaurant and presenting their TV show House of Drag – its clear, as we talk to Kita over Zoom from her hotel room in Chicago, that appearing on Drag Race was a life-changing experience for both queens.

Kita is adamant that anyone thinking of applying should go for it. Just do it. Dont hold yourself back!” she insists.

While Anita is also encouraging, she is cautionary about the expectations queens can realistically have about the impact of Drag Race on their careers.

What to expect from the show now is different from what it would have been a few years ago,” Anita explains, suggesting that the number of bookings queens are offered (particularly internationally) is often dependent on how many social media followers they have accumulated after the show, and with each series of Drag Race that goes by, that impact lessens.

Isis Avis Loren, who won Season Three – her social media following is quite a lot smaller than even the person that went home first on DUSO. The payoff of the show now is not what it used to be,” she tells us.

On one hand, I want to say invest in yourself and give yourself the best opportunity you can to win,” says Anita, reflecting on the costs of producing spectacular runway looks for Drag Race, but on the flip side, is it really worth investing in a show that realistically you are unlikely to get any tours out of or much work from the show afterward?”

As two of the biggest stars that Season One produced, life for Kita and Anita has not been the same since. Season winner Kita is performing at Chicagos iconic venue Roscoes the night after we speak and is moving on to bookings in Toronto and London from there.

It’s just really opened those doors to drag on an international level,” she tells us. Anita and I have been busting our asses for years, and now we’re just so honoured and privileged that we get to continue doing what we love on a bigger stage.”

The international travel has been crazy,” agrees Anita, who tells us that she has had to pull back from accepting too many bookings due to exhaustion.

To put it into perspective, this year I’ve been to Australia five times, America three times, and Europe twice. I finished my solo show, Funny Girl, in London, and it was my 74th performance of the show! Crazy that I got to produce something and share my story with so many people. it was always the dream, but now we’re actually doing it!”

While Drag Race gave the queens a worldwide platform, they assure us that they still have to be industriousand go out and hunt for opportunities.

Of those 74 shows, I organised 64 of them myself, emailing fringe festivals and booking theatres!”

For Kita, who nearly spent last Christmas in hospital, an infection following a botched surgery forced her to cancel several gigs. Even when life has thrown curveballs, when you’re good to go again you reach out to those connections and you make it all work.”

This no-quit attitude will result in the girls returning to our screens next year with a brand new TV show.

I was sick to death of knocking on TVNZs door, saying, Hey, put me on one of your shows.So I wrote a new show and pitched it to any network I could. Finally, I sold it and we’re about to start filming it early next year,” Kita tells us, refusing to give away any more details.

2023 has been an amazing turnaround for Kita, who began the year in hospital, unsure when she would be able to return to work following a tummy-tuck surgery in Thailand that went wrong.

My scar looks like it’s been attacked by a shark, but I’m healthy,” she tells us before shockingly admitting, Funnily enough, when I came home from Thailand, I still did a couple of gigs before I could get admitted into the New Zealand hospital. I was just stapled up. I had sanitary pads stuck to me to absorb any of the infection leaks, and hoisted tights over the top to keep it in place, then put a corset on!”

She tells us that the urgent need to perform came from her deep yearning and love for drag!”

2023 was also a tumultuous year for Anita, who went through a well-publicised divorce from her husband, who himself had just starred in Down Under Season Three, ensuring that their break-up gained much attention.

It puts it out there into the world quite quickly,” says Anita of the public interest. I didn’t really have time to think, Was that the right decision?It was already out there. I had no choice but to accept it, which was negative in the sense that I didn’t have time to process it, but positive in that it was all done and dusted very quickly.”

Anita says that she feels in a good place as she looks in the rear-view at 2023. Im a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. I have no regrets in my life or any relationships I’ve had. We’re getting the house ready to sell in February. I’ll be starting my life fresh and buying a new little house for myself. I’ve got the new TV show launching next year, so its a nice place to be at the moment. Full of learning. Im doing less work now and focusing on living a little more!”

Living a single life for the first time in years, we ask Kita to give advice to anyone who might see Anita on Grindr and want to ask her on a date. If Anita is keen to meet you, then you’d be a fool not to!” her friend sweetly assures us.

The enduring friendship the girls share has seen them survive being business partners in K Roads famous drag restaurant, Caluzzi.

I love Wiggleslike a family member, and I think that has made running a business easier over the years. We’re like yin and yang; whatever my flaws are have been Anitas strengths, and whatever Anita isnt confident in, I’ve been able to boost her up!” Kita explains.

We’re the only two people in each other’s lives who have had really illustrious drag careers. There are certain things that she and I have experienced that nobody else on this planet has experienced together. It’s definitely not always been roses, but that really bonds us. We could write a genuinely very entertaining book about the history of us two. We’re each other’s biggest supporters, and it just works so beautifully in business!” she concludes warmly.

We are each other’s biggest supporters,” confirms Anita with a wry smile before adding, but we’re also complete bitches to each other! We’ll always be encouraging, but we are also ruthless to each other! I like to pretend that I’m nice and pure and that it is Kita that leads me astray. But really, I think we both like leading each other astray at any moment we can!” she tells us, as cackles commence from both of them.

Article | Oliver Hall. 

Photos | Kita Mean self-portrait, and Anita Wiglit by Peter Jennings.