The finale is upon us but who will be crowned RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 champion?

It’s a four queen finale again this year, with Aquaria, Asia O’Hara, Eureka and Kameron Michaels all vying for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar but who do you think should wear the crown… and take home the cash prize of $100,000?

AQUARIA

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22-year-old Aquaria, whose boy name is Giovanni Palandrani, got inspiration for her drag name from her zodiac sign… Aquarius.

The New York City queen won three maxi challenges and two mini challenges during the season but, aside from the final lip sync, never found herself in the bottom two having to defend her place in the competition.

Due to her success on the show, she’s been tipped as the favourite to snatch the crown. Speaking of her time on Drag Race, she said; “I feel very blessed to be a part of the cast and blessed to be a part of season 10… ’cause it really is such a killer season.”

Did you know? Before it was announced that Aquaria had been cast on the show, she already had more than 210,000 followers on Instagram (which has now shot up to 798k!)

ASIA O’HARA

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This seasoned queen won two maxi challenges and four mini challenges in her time on the show, but also had to lip sync for her life against The Vixen in episode 8.

Asia, whose boy name is Antwan Mason Lee, created her drag name after a family member who she had a strong relationship with when she began her career as a queen.

Although not aired on the show (I wouldn’t have admitted it either), Asia is the drag mother of Season 4’s Phi Phi O’Hara – who returned for All Stars 2 in what people felt was a bid for redemption.

On the red carpet ahead of the finale, Asia said that she took the competition day-by-day, challenge-by-challenge. “I didn’t expect to be here, but I’m not surprised that I am”, Asia said with joy.

Did you know? Asia claimed the title of Miss Gay USofA in 2007, a year after Alyssa Edwards snatched the award.

EUREKA

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Formerly known in Season 9 as Eureka O’Hara, this queen won both two maxi and mini challenges this season, proving that she was worthy of a second chance at competing for the crown.

Having to lip sync for her life twice, Eureka sent home Kalorie Karbdashian Williams in episode 2 and was part of the double save with Kameron Michaels in episode 9, which got under Aquaria’s skin.

Eureka, whose boy name is David Huggard, adopted her drag name from her biological mother’s name.

In a beautifully written poem, the self-proclaimed “elephant queen” posted on Instagram; “I want to win not for me but for the people who think they are losers”.

DID YOU KNOW? Eureka is the first returning queen to reach a Drag Race finale.

KAMERON MICHAELS

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31-year-old Nashville queen, Kameron Michaels, was described throughout the season as quiet and distant, frequently keeping herself to herself. However, she also earned the title of this season’s “lip sync assassin” after finding herself in the bottom two three times in a row (which resulted in sending both Monet X Change and Miz Cracker packing).

Despite having only won one maxi challenge and not proving successful in the mini challenges, Kameron has climbed her way to the top.

During the Ru-Union episode, we saw that none of her fellow season 10 queens thought she deserved to the win the crown, however prior to the finale episode Kameron said she couldn’t believe it but she was “so happy to be here [in the finale]”.

Did you know? She’s the first RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant to survive three lip syncs and not be told to sashay away in the next episode.

BUUUUUUUUT……

The big question is who will emerge victorious and snatch the crown? Tune in tonight (or avoid social media waiting for it to be uploaded on Netflix if you’re in the UK like me) to find out!

 

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How To Train Your Dragon is back!

On 7 June, DreamWorks released the first trailer for the third installment of the animated hit fantasy series, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

DR3_Tsr1Sheet_HiddenWorld_RGB_2SMIt’s been nine years since the first How To Train Your Dragon film flew into cinemas across the world. Two films have followed the adventures of young viking, Hiccup, and his unique dragon Toothless, as they protect the Isle of Berk and it’s people from multiple threats and it looks like it will be no different in the third and final film… well, except for Hiccup’s beard.

In 2014, I was lucky enough to be selected to travel to Norway to celebrate the release of HTTYD 2 for National Geographic Kids magazine. It was the most amazing experience, especially having not been to the country before.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the head of character animation, Simon Otto, in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, took part in a spot of dragon racing (thankfully whilst firmly on the ground) and even gave indoor skydiving a go to … all of which were caught on camera and published on the NG Kids YouTube channel!

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is due in cinemas next spring.

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ZSL welcomes baby tamandua!

On 31 May, London Zoo announced that they’d recently had a surprise arrival at the zoo. Meet Poco – the tiny tamandua.

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 1

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo

Poco was born to proud parents Ria and Tobi (who only moved to the zoo last October as a hopeful companion). Keepers welcomed the newborn’s arrival, which took place just five months after the pair of tamanduas had been introduced. The cute Easter arrival clung to Ria’s fur but now, at two months old, Poco is beginning to venture away to explore the Rainforest Life home.

Tamanduas are nocturnal creatures, native to South America. Part of the anteater family, these mammals are impressive climbers and have tongues that can grow up to 40cm long. This species has very small eyes and poor vision, so relies on its hearing and strong sense of smell.

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo 2

Tamandua baby (c) ZSL London Zoo

The perfect proposal

In April, my partner asked me to marry her and I, of course, said yes! For my birthday earlier this year, she’d bought me a voucher for afternoon tea at London’s Fortnum & Mason since it’s my favourite shop and I’ve always wanted to go there for it. When I arrived (as I was meeting her there from work) I saw that she had a rose… that’s when I knew something was going on.

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Filled with excitement and anticipation, we were seated at a table by the window. With the sun beaming in, and before having ordered anything, she started telling me how much I meant to her. And that’s when it happened! Once I’d figured out what she was going to ask me, I was itching to say yes but I didn’t want to ruin what she’d prepared, so waited patiently. It was from then on that I had the biggest grin plastered across my face and it stayed there for the rest of the day. I wish I could relive it over and over as everything was just perfect and so filled with joy.

Now, we’re in full wedding planning mode. With one venue appointment done and several booked for this month, with the invitations designed and the guest list almost written, along with preparing to try on my first bridal dresses this weekend… life couldn’t be any better!

Get involved in the Great British Bee Count 2018

This year at Dennis Publishing, the company is supporting The Bumblebee Conservation Trust – a UK based charity dedicated to reversing the dramatic decline in the bumblebee population by ensuring the country is filled with suitable habitats rich in colourful wildflowers.

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uksafari.com @2009 Rosemary Lehan

Bumblebees are vital in the survival of the planet. These small striped creatures, along with other insects, are responsible for pollinating more than 80% of the crops grown for humans to eat – that’s around 400 different types of plants, including fruits, vegetables and nuts. However, our wild bee population still faces many threats from intensive farming, habitat loss and climate change.

On 17 May, Friends of the Earth launched their fifth annual Great British Bee Count. They’re encouraging the public to identify and record all of the different species of bee they spot until 30 June – of which approximately 270 have been recorded in Great Britain. To help with telling the different bees apart, Friends of the Earth have published a handy identification guide, which can be found here.

Nature: Exploring my forte

My writing career began at one of the most famous wildlife and nature titles in the world… National Geographic Kids. Now, among other pages, I’m the sole writer of the Animals and the Environment page for The Week Junior and have never been happier to provide content on such a wonderful topic that is so close to my heart.

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Every week, I research and pitch stories suitable for the Animals and the Environment section of the magazine, but since we are limited to the number of stories we can feature, many amazing tales go untold. So each week, I’m planning on sharing my favourite wildlife story to spread awareness and, overall, joy when it comes to the wonderful world of nature.

A whole new world: going freelance

I’m so excited to be back to blogging! Since becoming a full-time writer, my blog has sadly fell by the way side as I completely and wholeheartedly immersed and dedicated myself to perfecting my style of writing.

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 22.19.06For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to take on freelance projects. I believe freelancing will help me develop and broaden my knowledge and experience even further, and now just feels like the right time to branch out and begin my new chapter.

Without sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet, I have a really exciting future ahead of me. I recently got engaged to someone who’s job entails a lot of travelling so I know that freelance writing would be the perfect fit. What with wedding planning in full swing and the prospect of taking on new challenges and projects, I’ve never felt happier.

Writing for a weekly current affairs magazine has shown me that I am capable of writing about any topic in any length, whether it be full page features or news stories told in just 45 words.

On the topic of freelance projects… yesterday I received an email confirming that I had been accepted as a Standard level writer on Copify! I had submitted my CV and a sample of work over the weekend, and was surprised to have been confirmed so quickly (the website said it could take up to seven days). So I’m looking forward to getting started and being able to sink my teeth into some copywriting projects.

I’ll of course be keeping my page updated with all the exciting ventures I begin and I look forward to seeing where this takes me.

Until next time…

A night with Bianca Del Rio

Last Friday, my cousin and I headed to London’s Troxy theatre near Limehouse for RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio’s latest show, Not Today Satan.

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Five rows from the stage

Filled with excitement, we arrived at the venue, of which the queue snaked around the building. We knew we had tickets for Row Y, but naively we didn’t realise it was the very last row at the very back. Being a mere 5 foot 2 and a lifelong glasses wearer, this proved to be a slight problem. The staff at the Box Office however, were so wonderful and were able to offer us tickets closer to the stage…. five rows from the front!!!

Now, I knew Bianca was going to be funny but in no way, shape or form was I prepared for the high volume of laughs that she was able to bring out of the audience. Although I was a little apprehensive, I was delighted to find that she was just as funny as when we saw her on Drag Race. In my opinion, she took the evening to the next level when she would come out with on the spot comments, which were reactions to the audience. By the end of the show, my face was aching and I had a stitch in my side.

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Bianca turnt us red, too!

What I love about Bianca, is that she is not afraid to go there. No race, gender or human on this planet is safe from her Rolodex of Hate. For the almost two hours she was on stage, she made you believe everything was great with the world. Although briefly mentioned, you didn’t dwell on Trump, there were no thoughts on the shit show called Brexit. It literally was just a barrel of laughs. I can’t wait to see her perform again!

If you didn’t get a chance to see Bianca on tour, do not fear… it’s coming to DVD soon. The performance I attended was one of the shows being recorded, so who knows… I may even be in it! Be sure to keep an eye on her website for more details. With all the crap going on in the world at the moment, watching Not Today Satan is something you won’t regret.

 

My first lesbian wedding, sunshine and old English gentlemen

Thankfully this week wasn’t as eventful as the previous, even if the city’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, did declare a public health emergency following the toxic air that descended upon London.

17th – time to plan:
On a Tuesday, the team would usually need to stay much later than 5:30pm to ensure that the magazine was completed in time for the Wednesday deadline. Now, we’re getting things complete so much quicker. This allowed me to spend time researching and planning ahead for future issues.

18th – sunshine:
I noticed when I got off the tube and begun walking towards the office that the sun was shining down on my face. This brought a feeling of calm and was a nice change from the cold, rainy weather we’ve had of late.

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19th – wedding invite:

Two of my good friends, Laura and Sarah, excitingly got engaged last October. Since they’ve got lots of friends, I wasn’t expecting to be asked to go but I was overjoyed when I received an invite! There’s nothing like planning for a wedding – even if it is six months away…

20th – working from home:
To promote our magazine, The Week Junior, we had a stand at Kidzania’s Careers Week event. Logistically it made no sense to go to the office for half an hour before leaving for my 11 o’clock start, so instead I worked from home for a couple of hours and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The sun was shining, I missed the morning rush and I was able to have marmite on my toast! The little things… plus I had an absolute blast at Kidzania. I hope to work there again sometime.

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Kidzania, Westfield

I was also greatful for old English gentlemen:
Usually on the tube, people push to get on, terrified that it’ll leave without them. On my way back to the office, after working a couple of hours at Kidzania, a gentleman who was probably in his 80’s insisted that I get on the tube first even though I had been behind him on the platform. It was so kind!

21st – a decent sleep:
I decided to head home the previous night to suprise my mum as my plans had changed last minute. It was pure heaven to not have noisy neighbours above me hollering throughout the night.

22nd – slipper socks:
In the Christmas sales I treated myself to an unbelievably cosy pair of slipper socks that have the fluffiest of linings. They were practically glued to my feet all weekend as I refused to take them off!

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Not my snap – Yui Mok/PA

23rd – layers:
The increased pollution and dense fog meant that the temperature was also affected, making the morning commute a very chilly one.

Museums, paramedics and a whole lot of Netflix

So writing little and often didn’t quite go to plan… especially when I was writing daily paragraphs on my phone! I think I’ll instead publish my small daily entries on a weekly basis as a sort of roundup to what I am grateful for.

10th – good feedback:
Last week, my responsibilities were increased at work. Both my manager and editor praised me on what I’d produced that day. It’s such a fantastic feeling to know that I’m doing a good job.

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A recently published comic showing how we, at The Week Junior, put the magazine together!

11th – NHS:
After becoming unwell the moment I got into work, the HR department (who were kindly looking after me) were forced to call the paramedics. They arrived within minutes and were wonderful. They took care of me, checking all my vitals and keeping me preoccupied to bring me around quicker. It was my first experience of receiving paramedic and ambulance staff care and they were absolutely wonderful. After the medics gave me the all clear, my company kindly paid for a cab home (which was very much appreciated).

12th – Netflix:
Following the previous day’s events, I decided to stay home to let my body fully recover. Whilst recovering in bed, I finished The Vampire Diaries, The OA, watched the Sense8 Christmas Special and watched more Scorpion and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. What would I have done without this top streaming service?!

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13th – caring colleagues:

When I returned to work after my dodgey spell, both my team and the HR members that looked after me all showed their true colours. They all expressed their concern and asked how I was feeling, which they didn’t have to but was really nice of them. When I began to flag in the afternoon, a colleague helped me finish off my page as I just couldn’t focus.

14th – a good nights sleep:
Since the mid-week drama, I hadn’t been able to relax enough to get a decent nights sleep. Although the flat upstairs seemed to be having a Bob Marley party, I was still able to get a decent nights sleep, which was heavenly.

15th – adventures:
Exploring London with two of my good friends, we went to the Natural History Museum… in my opinion the greatest museum in the UK. We saw the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards, which is always so inspiring.

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16th – fresh bedsheets:

To me, there’s nothing better than climbing into bed after putting fresh sheets on following a long day at work.

Until next time….