RNA Cherry Valentine wants to help administer Covida vaccine (Photo: /Getty)
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK finally returns to our screens this week with a second season, bringing a huge amount of charisma, originality, cheekiness and talent to the country at a time when we need it most.
Filming of the show did not go smoothly, and the coronavirus pandemic put production on hold from March to November.
At the time, drag queens failed to showcase their talents on stage in front of an audience of adoring fans, missing out on one of the most important elements of their profession for months.
For certified psychiatric nurse Cherry Valentine of Darlington, the break gave her a chance to resume the care she needed: I can’t stay at home, I have to do something, she told Metro.co.uk.
Earlier this month, following the announcement of the cast of the second season of Drag Race UK, the 26-year-old tweeted that she had received several messages from people telling her she should be ashamed of being a drag artist and not working as a nurse during the Covid 19 outbreak.
While Cherry stressed in a follow-up tweet that she would never apologize for pursuing her dream, she added that she still works as a nurse, but doesn’t feel the need to show it 24/7.
Cherry believes in mental health and pulls together (Image: Cherry Valentine).
I eventually went back [to nursing] and worked in neurology for a few months. It was high-intensity adult neurology, so it [treated] patients with brain injury and trauma, Cherry recalls.
I also worked a lot with Covid because I worked for a healthcare organization, so I went to emergency rooms and did home visits and things like that.
It was a weird crossover, because I’m obviously trained in mental health. During the pandemic, she focused a lot on physical health, so she took care of Covid, which was a bit of a shock. I did that until we got back to the set.
When Cherry received messages from people commenting on her life choices, she did not respond, preferring not to be confronted with negativity.
However, she decided to talk about DMs to show that there is more to it than what you can see in social media.
The cast of the second season of Drag Race UK (Photo: / World of Wonders / Ray Burmiston).
I’ve had a few DMs from people saying things like I can’t believe you’re hanging around, if you’re a nurse and people are dying, why don’t you do it? said Cherry.
Let others live their lives and don’t always assume what others are doing or what is worst for them. Be cool, because you don’t know everyone’s story.
Retirement wasn’t always Cherry’s plan, as she grew up with a strong affinity for the arts and began working professionally as a drag queen in 2019.
However, her parents’ desire to see her enter the medical profession and her interest in people led her to become a mental health nurse.
Cherry’s experience is that mental health and resilience go hand in hand.
Queens joins RuPaul in the Verk lounge (Credits: /World of Wonder/Guy Levy)
Knowing about mental health has helped me a lot in the clubs, she says.
If you’re in a drag club and people are drunk, they feel comfortable talking to drag queens. They will literally meet you for five minutes and tell you their entire life story.
It would confuse a lot of people, but I’m used to it.
Although the entertainment venues remain closed for the time being, Cherry has a particular ambition for the coming year: to help administer the coronavirus vaccine.
That’s one of the reasons I’m going back to nursing, because I signed up with the immunization service so I could deliver them a little faster, she says.
Read more: Training run RuPauls UK
I just hope… if you’re offered the vaccine, don’t take it unless you’re medically cleared. Because we have to return to some form of normality.
I don’t think things will ever go back to the way they were, but we can always have a little more freedom. The new standard.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK begins Thursday at 7pm on iPlayer (UK) and WOW Presents (elsewhere).
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